Because Mahler was himself a great conductor and headed the Vienna Phil., an orchestra without parallel in his day, I have always assumed that he meant for his music to be played by virtuosos. Differing from the reviewers above, I don't favor versions of the Mahler Seventh by Horenstein, Abravanel, and Scherchen because the ensembles are rough and ragged, and the quality of musicianship nowhere near the top. In the case of Kubelik, his Bavarian Radio Sym. Orch. is capable of executing the score, but not always comfortably. The virtues of this performance must come elsewhere.
As they certainly do -- here is a lively concert reading with edge and spontaneity. The Scherzo dances infectiously, and the two Nachtmusiks emerge as fresh and cheerful, something you never hear (did Mahler intend for the night to be so brightly lit?) Kubelik's way with Mahler is at an opposite extreme from the ponderous, calculated "importance" we get from Barenboim. As in his studio Mahler cycle on DG, he favors quick tempi, and once he gets the line moving, he pays less than perfect attention to Mahler's many expressive details -- momentum counts more than scrupulous fidelity. Which is fine with me. I miss the extraordinary combinaiton of accuracy and passion one gets from Bernstein, Abbado, and Levine in their Sevenths, but Kubelik doesn't fail to keep me on the edge of my seat.
In a nutshell, this is a quicksilver interpretation full of spontaneous excitement. Kubelik doesn't give us profound Mahler, but he doesn't intend to.