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Otto Klemperer EMI Catalogue

11687 Views 80 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Malx

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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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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In his earlier days, OK was known as quite a "talker", constantly going on at rehearsals, a characteristic that tends to drive orchestra musicians nuts....hence the famous Labate/Klemperer/NYPO incident....
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Alright, who's the one in the middle between Toscanini and Klemperer? The rest I recognized instantly but I'm drawing a blank on him.
This is a quite well known picture...Eric Kleiber between AT and Klemp.
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