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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Beethoven - Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia ‎– Symphony No. 7 In A / Symphony No. 8 In F

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For the last few installments of our #Beethoven2020 series, we considered Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s symphonies no. 4, 5 and 6. Today, we return to the orchestral versions of these symphonies, with Otto Klemperer’s renditions of the symphonies number 7 and 8.

According to the Penguin Guide, Klemperer recorded his first cycle of Beethoven symphonies for EMI with the Philharmonia orchestra from 1954 onwards, in mono. He made another series from 1961, recording in stereo. About a decade later, under the moniker of the “New Philharmonia” he had another crack at the symphonies. Because the mono recordings were remastered in Stereo and reissued in the 1980’s, based on the available recording dates, these would have been originally issued in Mono, but could have been recorded in Stereo or remastered.

Since Klemperer recorded these works, there have been several (shall we say) “as close to original” editions of the scores to Beethoven symphonies - Urtext editions by Jonathan Del Mar (published by Barenreiter) and Clive Brown (published by Breitkopf and Hartel). Klemperer’s vision is best expressed by that of his contemporaries (going as far back as Mahler, Mengelberg and Weingartner) who went for a “big orchestral sound”, which may not fare well with the more historically informed view of the more recent editions.


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770- 1827)
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, op. 92
(Recorded, 5.X, 19.XI & 3.XII.1960)

Symphony No. 8 in F Major, op. 93
(Recorded, 529 & 30.X.1957)

Philharmonia Orchestra
Otto Klemperer, conducting
Angel Records ‎– AE 34427

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