The recording of Beethoven's Fourth presented here was recorded live on 3 May 1982. Carlo Kleiber wrote about the recording: “For me, okaying a recording is normally a horror. But the Bavarian State Orchestra's playing made the approval of this live recording my very own pleasure. We neither could nor wanted to use any cosmetics or make even the most minute corrections in this aural 'snapshot' of a performance. For any petty critics we have an alibi: A benefit publication for the Prinzregententheater and a live performance. But for those who have an ear for vitality there are things here that no orchestra can play for you as eagerly and pertly or as inspired and delightfully as this orchestra on that day. Many thanks!” Reviewing the concert, Joachim Kaiser remarked in the Suddeutsche Zeitung: The broad outline, the festive tone, the unerring tempo were always present as should be the case in symphonics, and at the same time, there was the indulgence in individual aspects, in blossomy particulars … An unforgettable Fourth”.
Carlos Kleiber has conducted Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony only once in his career, performing it with the Bavarian State Orchestra on 7 November 1983, as recorded here – yet another memorable evening for those lucky enough to attend. Following the final chords, the audience continued to sit there as though under a spell. Only when Carlos Kleiber brought the orchestra to their feet a few moments later did jubilant applause break loose. Kleiber has taken Beethoven at his word: unlike many famous conductors he sticks to the metronome markings in the full score. Without going against the grain of the music, the then 53-years-old conductor’s interpretation seemed modern and even a completely new sound experience (with the historically informed performance movement not yet at its zenith in the early 1980s). Karl-Robert Danler wrote in the tz Munchen (daily Munich newspaper): “Questions of style and interpretation no longer seem relevant, for each phrase, each change of tempo reveals a naturalness sprung from a natural, innate understanding, so that one has the impression that the composer cannot possibly have intended things differently.” It was almost lost to posterity. The master tape of the concert had deteriorated after two decades in storage. The adequate restoration seemed a virtual impossibility, even with the most modern technology. Fortunately, there was in addition to this damaged master tape an audio cassette that had been in use for years in the car’s tape player of Kleiber’s daughter. With a good deal of patience and musical sensitivity, it has been re-mastered. The resulting document is intended to provide an accurate and authentic reflection of the special musical atmosphere of this concert.
The 7th Symphony by the same composer, again with the Orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera under Carlos Kleiber, also belongs in the annals – it was described by Hans Gohl in the Munchner Merkur as “An evening of the greatest musical fulfilment”. Kleiber conducted the very same work at his last concert – with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – on 26 February 1999 in Cagliari. Just a few weeks beforehand, Christine Lemke had written in the Suddeutsche Zeitung as follows about the Allegretto of the 7th Symphony in a guest performance under Kleiber: “Why should one go to a concert ever again, why repeat that commonplace ritual for that poor, old love when one has experienced something so uniquely vital, so hungry for life and at the same time so full of its joys?”
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 4 - B-Dur, Op. 60
1. Adagio - Allegro vivace
3. Menuetto. Allegro vivace
4. Allegro ma non troppo
Symphony No. 6, F-Dur, Op. 68 "Pastorale"
1. Allegro ma non troppo
2. Andante molto mosso
Symphony No. 7, A-Dur, Op. 92
1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
4. Allegro con brio