This is a very long waited DVD by all those who knew the Laser Disc with this same performances filmed live in the Dutch Concertgebouw in the `80s.
First of all we have to mention the very close relation that exist between Carlos Kleiber and Beethoven's world, specially with the Seventh Symphony he have conducted lot of times. We knew his audio recording with the Wiener Philharmoniker for Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most interesting I know, but not really so good like this, much more fresh and well done. Of course, the Wiener is an orchestra I like a little more than the Concertgebouworkest, but the Dutch one is good enough to play a fantastic concert like this, in which is easy to see everything was deeply rehearsed and prepared before going to the stage. Sometimes Kleiber even is `dancing' with the orchestra and enjoining the results of all the previous work. The tempi are fresh and light, pure Kleiber style and the sound is, like everybody use to describe, `electrifying', very passionate. Wagner said this Beethoven's Seventh is the `apotheosis of the dance' and we can say Kleiber really does it, dancing even himself with his body and swinging his baton. Probably my favourite Seventh together with very good one of Szell & Cleveland (Sony).
Sound is quite good, not excellent but good enough to be an `80s recording by Philips. You will need to rise the volume quite high but the clearness, balance and definition is good. The image is very good to, joining shots of Kleiber, the orchestra and the Concertgebouw hall, a really fantastic place in which public, enthusiastic, embrace the orchestra.
The orchestra is the smooth and very technical Concertgebouworkest, not always very fine in Beethoven (perfect in Mahler and other repertoires, even form the XXth Century Music), but with a great day here, what a woodwinds!
The Fourth is quite good too, but not so great like the Seventh. In this Fourth Symphony I really prefer Bernstein's performance with the Wiener Philharmoniker (DG).
If I'm realistic, the media of the performances would be 4 and some decimals, but as we are watching a wonderful piece of history and listening a wonderful player, it will be five.