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Notes and Editorial Reviews
"...[A] great conductor in the full ripeness of his powers... Klemperer's sombre, portentous opening leads down into a dark experience, the idee fixe introducing a movement of grimness and incipient despair. His rubato is deliberate, charged with a menacing quality... Klemperer is at his greatest in the 'Scene aux champs', where he enters a brooding landscape... [W]ell worth hearing, or perhaps rehearing, since [it] will long have found a place in many collectors' affections... Klemperer produces a period piece, Wagner's once popular arrangement of Gluck's Iphigenie en Aulide Overture, which is really for enjoyment only as a Wagnerian curiosity nowadays. He is very much on home ground, of course, with the Leonore No. 1 Overture." -- John
Warrack, Gramophone [8/1992] Read less
Works on This Recording
Iphigénie en Aulide: Overture by Christoph W. Gluck
Written: 1772-1774; Vienna, Austria
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 by Hector Berlioz
Written: 1830; France
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Very Good, but hoping for more. May 28, 2012
By Ivan G. (East Elhurst, NY) See All My Reviews
"I bought this CD primarily to hear Klemperer's account of the Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique. I already own several classic recordings of this work, notably Colin Davis, Beecham, Gardiner, and Bernstein
among others, so I was hoping that Klemp matched up to these. The answer is not really. As others have stated, he is best in the Scene aux Champs, where the langourous, brooding melancholy of this move-
ment fits his style perfectly. The waltz is also well done, but I
think Klemperer could have worked the end of this movemnt into a
deliroius frenzy, Alas, he does not and keeps things ever so strict
in rhythm and mood. The other movements suffer from the same metro-
nomic rigidity and too slow tempi. The first movement could have been
given so much more impetus and rhythmic variety which is sorely lack-
ing; ditto the last movement which suffers a similar fate. The March
to the Scaffold is interminable - when the climax comes I am relieved
rather than emotionnally connected.
The remanider of the disc fares much better; indeed. the Wagner arr-
angement of Gluck's Iphigenie in Aulis overture is a curiosity to be
sure, but is played to the hilt by Klemp and his band.
Even more revelatory is the Beethoven Leonore No. 1, which is given a
truly vivid, spectacular reading which does not let up for second.
This is far superior reading to the one from several years later which
is included in the EMI boxed set with the symphonies and piano con-
certos. That version of the overture is everything which the one
under review is not - a heavy-handed turgid mess.
So, in general this CD will please Klemperer fans, but be warned that
the Berlioz may be too languid and Un-Romantic for many listeners'
tastes. As usual, the Philharmonia Orchestra plays splendidly throughout. Still, Caveat emptor."