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Lately, revising some conductors that were going to feature in my Beethoven Challenge, I came across some symphonies conducted by Otto Klemperer, famous for the "architecture" of his cycle. I have read that it has been out-of-fashion, but I enjoyed some movements of the Eroica. Also, Mozart 29, Schubert 9 and Haydn 88 had some play to my own good impression.

I should be patient. From these Klemperer recordings I already own a "Recordings of the Century" CD of the Missa Solemnis and the Mahler box.

I had positive impressions too from streaming his Bach (Matthäus Passion and the Brandenburg concertos) and Brahms' Requiem a long time ago. I like some of his Bruckner recordings (4,6,8). When I did the first Mozart symphonies challenge, he had better recordings for me than Karajan EMI or Böhm, but stayed far from Gardiner Philips. I'm not very fond of the Höllander, the Zauberflöte and the Wagner/Strauss box.

What are your favourite recordings of his EMI catalogue? I'm not counting live recordings like some Mahler symphonies or Beethoven 9, in Testament, etc.

Do you have any words about the recording style in the early 60s with Columbia? For example, I really like the last stereo recordings that Karajan made with the Philharmonia before departing for Berlin forever...
 

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In addition to the full, stereo Beethoven symphony cycle, there is also a mono (*) 3rd, 5th & 7th which were done some years before the full cycle and which are not as slow as the stereo recordings and, IMO, are much better.

* While they were all originally released in mono only, there is a stereo master of the 7th which was used for the CD releases.
 

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Klemperer is a favorite with me. I love them all.
Except the "Linz" which is too fast.
Love his Haydn.
 

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My favourite Klemperer/EMI recordings are:

Beethoven: Fidelio & Misss Solemnis
Brahms: Symphonies & German Requiem
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (with Wunderlich & Ludwig) - unsurpassed

I also like his Beethoven symphonies and Mozart/Magic Flute (the lack of dialogue doesn't worry me). The box set 'Romantic Symphonies & Overtures' has some surprises - Berlioz, Franck and Tchaikovsky, the Schumann is a bit mixed.
 

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To me the only people who find Klemperer's recordings out of fashion are those with tin ears, are not musicians themselves and/or have no idea what interpretation means in music.

Not everything Klemperer did was absolute gold, but the majority of his catalogue is fantastic and above all he stressed clarity in his recordings. Some people say that "Period Performances" allow you to hear the more clarity to which I call bull. A great conductor like Klemperer allows you to hear every detail from Strings to Woodwinds. You can hear every line because Klemperer actually knew how to balance an orchestra. I hear far more detail than I have ever heard in any period performance. He also sat the orchestra different than most everyone else which actually made him have to work harder to keep everything in order. He was a first class musician and a good composer which is sadly overlooked. But enough of my rant...

As far as favorite recordings:

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, St. Matthew Passion
Beethoven: Fidelio, Symphonies, Overtures, Missa Solemnis
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Brahms: Alto Rhapsody, Overtures, Symphonies, Requiem, Variations, Violin Concerto (w/David Oistrakh)
Bruckner: Symphonies 4, 6 & 7
Dvorak: Symphony 9
Franck: Symphony In D Minor
Handel: Messiah
Haydn: Symphonies
Hindemith: Nobilissima Visione Suite
Klemperer: Merry Waltz, String Quartet 7, Symphony 2
Liszt: Piano Concerto (w/Annie Fischer)
Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde, Lieder, Symphonies 2 & 9
Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphonies 3 & 4
Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte, Die Zauberflote, Don Giovanni, Horn Concertos, Le Nozze Di Figaro, Serenades, Symphonies, Piano Concerto 25
Schubert: Symphonies 5, 8, 9
Schumann: Symphonies, Piano Concerto (w/Annie Fischer)
Strauss (R): Tone Poems
Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite, Symphony In 3 Movements
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4-6
Wagner: Orchestral Highlights, Wesendonck Lieder, Der Fliegende Hollander
Weber: Overtures
Weill: Kleine Dreigroschenmusik

Most everything. His Bruckner 5 & 8 were ok but don't rate as my favorites, his Beethoven Piano Concertos & Choral Fantasy with Barenboim are also not among my personal favorites. His Beethoven Violin Concerto with Menuhin is good, but just doesn't rank among my favorites. Most everything else those is top notch.
 

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To me the only people who find Klemperer's recordings out of fashion are those with tin ears, are not musicians themselves and/or have no idea what interpretation means in music.
What an effective way to eliminate debate. Perhaps you should just call anyone who disagrees with you "deplorable".

I happen to love Klemperer, but for a lot of music - particularly Baroque music - he IS out of fashion. That doesn't mean that one can't like it and enjoy it, but let's face it - no one is going to perform Messiah or the St. Matthew that way in 2018.
 

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What an effective way to eliminate debate. Perhaps you should just call anyone who disagrees with you "deplorable".
Glad to know I'm a "deplorable" because you don't feel I should have an opinion different than yours.

No one is going to perform Messiah or the St. Matthew that way in 2018.
How queer, I just saw Messah performed with Full Orchestral & Choral Forces with Slow, Moderate tempos a few months ago. Maybe it just went out with 2017 and myself and thousands of others haven't gotten the memo yet...
 

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The Passion of St. Matthew is my favourite. I quite like the Das Lied von der Erde in the stereo version too, and the Zauberflöte.

There is an interesting Beethoven 4th Concerto with Novaes as well; they seem to have done that work twice, the two recordings being different from each other. The one with an unusually fast 2nd movement is worth hearing, exemplifying how he generally had a much livelier musical style say before 1960 or so. It wasn´t EMI though, I think. Another example is the Decca Mahler 2nd.
Unfortunately those early recordings often have poor sound and not very well-integrated orchestral playing.

Personally I´m less keen on most of his EMI orchestral recordings. I kept the Bruckner 4+6, the Beethoven concerti with Barenboim, Ein Deutsches Requiem, and a few more of those too, though - in order to have some samples.
 

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You are entitled to your opinion. What you're not entitled to do is assume that anyone who disagrees with you is an inferior listener with tin ears and no knowledge of music.
Even if I did say it with the intent that you have incorrectly attributed to it, it would still be "just an opinion" and thus you again are still saying I am not entitled to have an opinion.

If I were to say "anyone who listens to Cage's 4'33 is a moron" or "anyone from the south talks funny", it's still an opinion. So what, why do you care? If I believe I am the reincarnation of some great prophet, so what? I don't attack someone for posting something I disagree with, but thank you for proving again that I'm not entitled to an opinion as long as it's something you disagree or are uncomfortable with.
 

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Even if I did say it with the intent that you have incorrectly attributed to it,
I think that your original comment was pretty clear:

"To me the only people who find Klemperer's recordings out of fashion are those with tin ears, are not musicians themselves and/or have no idea what interpretation means in music."

it would still be "just an opinion" and thus you again are still saying I am not entitled to have an opinion.
You're entitled to an opinion about Klemperer. You're not entitled to an opinion about me, or the reasons for my opinions.

You pretty clearly don't "get it", so I'm done here.
 

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You're entitled to an opinion about Klemperer. You're not entitled to an opinion about me, or the reasons for my opinions.

You pretty clearly don't "get it", so I'm done here.
I don't have any opinion on you, but you obviously have one about me so it is clearly you who doesn't "get it".
Thanks for stopping by :tiphat:

Now back to Klemperer discussion and your favorite EMI recordings...
 

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What are your favourite recordings of his EMI catalogue? I'm not counting live recordings like some Mahler symphonies or Beethoven 9, in Testament, etc.
While Klemperer is always interesting, I think that he's at his best in Brahms (the symphonies, the German Requiem, and especially the violin concerto with Oistrakh. I like his Beethoven and Haydn, too. As for Mozart, it's odd - I like him in symphonic music, but not so much in the operas. His Zauberflote and Da Ponte operas are very, very serious, and I can appreciate that when I'm in the right mood, but I usually prefer a little more light and shade. Zauberflote also suffers from a cast that looks good on paper, but doesn't really deliver the goods (Lucia Popp aside).
 

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I'm not a huge Klemperer fan, tho his Brahms German Requiem is very good. He generally gets a good sound from the orchestra, lots of wind/brass sonority, and the Philharmonia Orch plays very well for him....too often, tho, it is just too slow and ponderous....esp evident in requisite fast tempos, like Beethoven scherzos. There is a minimum speed for these pieces, any slower and they just don't work. The scherzo "giacoso" quality requires staccato, separate notes to maintain character. At too slow a tempo, there is simply too much time, space between notes. If one lengthens the notes to fill the space, the essential quality is lost.
I have to wonder if OK's slow tempi, in his later recordings, might be directly attributable to the various physical afflictions he suffered?? Perhaps he simply couldn't move any faster??
 

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I'm not a huge Klemperer fan, tho his Brahms German Requiem is very good. He generally gets a good sound from the orchestra, lots of wind/brass sonority, and the Philharmonia Orch plays very well for him....too often, tho, it is just too slow and ponderous....esp evident in requisite fast tempos, like Beethoven scherzos. There is a minimum speed for these pieces, any slower and they just don't work. The scherzo "giacoso" quality requires staccato, separate notes to maintain character. At too slow a tempo, there is simply too much time, space between notes. If one lengthens the notes to fill the space, the essential quality is lost.
I have to wonder if OK's slow tempi, in his later recordings, might be directly attributable to the various physical afflictions he suffered?? Perhaps he simply couldn't move any faster??
You only have to go back to his 1955 Beethoven symphonies to see that the 1960 cycle represented a marked slow down from what he had done. I think that his physical issues and age had a lot to do with it.

Note to self: I should try listening to some of the 1930s Los Angeles Philharmonic and very early 1950's Concertgebow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
You only have to go back to his 1955 Beethoven symphonies to see that the 1960 cycle represented a marked slow down from what he had done. I think that his physical issues and age had a lot to do with it.
His eternal Mahler 7 is my favourite (1h40m) together with Abbado CSO (1CD)!

I generally have a good opinion about Walter Legge's Philharmonia Orchestra. Since it was created until Klemperer's decease, they "enjoyed" the batons of Herbert von Karajan and ocasionally Wilhelm Furtwängler. Did Klemperer "reap the harvest" and implemented their experience into the stereo recording era?

Not everything Klemperer did was absolute gold, but the majority of his catalogue is fantastic and above all he stressed clarity in his recordings. [...] He also sat the orchestra different than most everyone else which actually made him have to work harder to keep everything in order. He was a first class musician and a good composer which is sadly overlooked.
I kind of want to know more about this. In the "great conductors of the past" documentary, he was portrayed as a man of character sometimes more enraged than Fritz Reiner.

And look what I found in my past challenges!



Mozart
Die Zauberflöte, KV620
Gottlob Frick, Nicolai Gedda, Walter Berry, Lucia Popp, Gundula Janowitz, Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Franz Crass
Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus
Otto Klemperer
Warner Classics (1964/2000 Remastered Edition)


I want to blame my tireness for my reaction to Klemperer's Zauberflöte. Although the digital transfer has kept the volume nicely, the instrumentation and the balance of the Philharmonia Chorus with the male singers felt boring. Time was passing and nothing catched my attention. It's sad. Lucia Popp as Queen of the Night played the best role and sung a near-perfect "Der Hölle Rache". I bet that in the future I'll like Klemperer's recording, but now it stands together with Böhm.
 
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