Weitblick SSS0056-2, 66:22 (Distrib. Albany) ****:
More vintage “live” readings of Beethoven by the late Klaus Tennstedt (1926-1998), this time with an ensemble from the East German sector as well as the Kiel Philharmonic from West Germany. The Beethoven C Major Symphony emerges as a pre-Romantic exercise in vivid tone colors as well as classical procedures, with more than a hint of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony in the opening movement. Some quality flute and oboe work throughout. Restrained nobility and grandeur prove rubrics for this attentive realization, in which the Andante cantabile con moto seems to extend the Mozart divertimento tradition for outdoor, breezy instrumental singing. After a lithe, buoyant Menuetto, the last movement resounds with a hearty girth and elastic ardor that shake a fist at convention, strings and tympani in full flight.
From the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth, we are in the throes of a headlong rush to a preconceived end. Tennstedt emphasizes short, tip-of-the-bow accents from his strings, a clipped sound that soon expands in agogic and syncopated variations. The tympani part is a no-kidding-around component of this driven account, quite explosive. The Andante con moto combines elegance and dramatic lyricism, very much in the middle European tradition already carved out by the likes of the Kleibers, Fricsay, and Jochum. Elegant string and tympani pedal points and woodwind rockets make this an exquisite moment for Tennstedt acolytes. A sense of cosmic mystery suffuses the Allegro (scherzo), already does it anticipate its modulation to an heroic C Major. Great work in the basses, especially their fierce fugato, along with the already heralded tympani. The Kiel Philharmonic horns suddenly prove a musical force, along with whirling strings and controlled vertigo. How ingenuous the oboe seems after the first Dionysiac rush. When Tennstedt picks up the momentum again, he doth bestride the heavens like a colossus. Wild piccolo in a manic coda–blistering. The F Minor Egmont Overture plays like an imperious afterthought to the Fifth, concentrated form of the same fervent message of emancipated energies. Huge surges of sound alternate with whiplash instrumental solo entries. Mighty!
— Gary Lemco