Beethoven: Symphony No. 5; Wiener Philharmoniker; Carlos Kleiber; DG 180g Vinyl Reissue

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This is the big daddy. The Citizen Kane of classical recordings. The greatest classical recording ever made! 

Silly, yes, considering the pantheon of superlative classical recordings, but there is some truth to the imprimatur. 

The magician of conductors, Carlos Kleiber became legendary at an early age for his ability to take the great classics, all with very famous interpretations attached to them, and make them singular, fresh, brilliant, invigorating.  

Deutsche Grammophon selected four of Kleiber’s gems, remastered them and released them on 180 gram vinyl. All have now been reviewed in these pages. 

From the prophetic rhythm of the most famous four bars in music, Kleiber sets out his stall. I’ve never heard the notes so beautifully balanced with so much propulsion. This high octane energy is maintained throughout the opening movement, interrupted magically by the quietest transition chords. Mesmerizing stuff. The Wiener Philharmoniker is peerless here. Personally, I’ve never heard it played better. 

The glorious cello section shines in the cantabile slow movement while the basses thunder like Thor in the magnificent Scherzo. And the horns. All two of them! What a joyful noise.  

The unique transition to the Finale is beautifully judged. It creeps up on you with the most majestic surprise at the end of the string noodling. A C Major Allegro never had it so good. 

The recording? We’ve discussed at length the vagaries of the DG house sound of the 70s and 80s — compressed, behind-a-wall listening. That said, the remastering has helped with instrumental timbre and offers a little of the beautiful soundstage the Vienna's stunning Musikverein. 

You’ll forgive any weaknesses in the recording to have this immaculate, flawless performance on totally silent virgin vinyl.  Very worthy of your vinyl dollars.

Tracklist

Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67

Allegro Con Brio

Andante Con Moto

Allegro

Allegro