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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Klemperer

Release Date: 08/25/2009 
Label:  Medici Masters   Catalog #: 15-2   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Josef GreindlSieglinde WagnerAnnelies KupperRudolf Schock
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio ChorusCologne Radio ChorusCologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis Otto Klemperer, cond; Anneliese Kupper (sop); Sieglinde Wagner (alt); Rudolf Schock (ten); Josef Greindl (bs); Cologne RSO & Ch MEDICI ARTS 15, mono (75:27) Broadcast: Cologne 6/6/1955

If Otto Klemperer’s 1966 EMI studio account of the Beethoven’s Missa solemnis were the only one we had of him directing this work, it would still stamp him as one of the great interpreters of this towering score. Read more But two years ago, Testament released a live 1963 performance, reviewed in 31:3, where I noted that there were few minor changes of tempo in that live account, which, owing to its inferior mono sound, could not compete with the later stereo version. This live 1955 account is different, slightly faster in varying degrees in each of the work’s five sections; it offers a tauter, at times more intense performance than is found in either of the two later ones. If the soloists are not quite the match for those in the subsequent versions, they are more than adequate here, and within the limitations of mono technology, the sound is well focused—wide in dynamic range and frequency response. In short, this release is a confirmation of what other recordings from the pre-stereo era have suggested: a Klemperer who was more aggressively intense than the one of succeeding years, when, to my mind, he became musically confined to broadened tempos, at least in part, by a palsy-ridden body. For anyone interested in either the conductor or the Missa solemnis , this is a performance that should be heard.

FANFARE: Mortimer H. Frank
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Works on This Recording

Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Josef Greindl (Bass), Sieglinde Wagner (Alto), Annelies Kupper (Soprano),
Rudolf Schock (Tenor)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Chorus,  Cologne Radio Chorus,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 

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