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Klemperer Legacy - Beethoven: Symphonies No 1 & 6

Release Date: 09/10/2002 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 66792   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a tremendous performance, measured, controlled and completely confident ; and in the result wonderfully convincing. It is at least as convincing as Toscanini's though utterly different. Toscanini pushes the music serenely on. He is very close to Beethoven's metronome marks, but, except in the first movement, a little quicker. Klemperer at first sounds almost plodding by comparison. Except in the finale (where he is "dead-on ") he is much slower than the metronome marks, a purist might say too slow. Yet it works. He has all the time in the world as he unfolds this pleasantly long-winded music, and moulds it into transcendental shape. The orchestra clearly sense his high purpose and they have responded with playing that must Read more surely have gratified him.

I found it fascinating to compare this performance, presumably made in 1957, with Klemperer's previous recording for Vox, made about 1952. Both playing and recording are much better; perhaps of more interest, the interpretation has changed. Rhythms are more rock-like. With more years, he takes more time. The first and last movements, and also the "Storm", are all much slower. He no longer has any desire to push the players along, and he now eschews such tricks as going a shade faster at bar 53 of the scherzo. He varies his tempi astonishingly little and yet nothing could be less boring. He has acquired a few new tricks : in the development of the first movement each chain of four tied minims starts by dropping to pianissimo and then grows to a climax ; in bars 479-487 he treats all the forte marks as comparatively mild accents (which I now see is what Beethoven meant; otherwise why put so many?), dropping the tone immediately after each so that for once the clarinet can be heard; in bars 133-9 of the finale he emphasises the horn phrases (which I never remember noticing before they are inaudible on most records) to match up with the violin figures a few bars earlier, and he plays the first subject of this movement much quieter and much slower with mesmeric effect. The whole performance is a bit mesmeric; it persuades you for the moment that this is as good a symphony as Beethoven ever wrote. Which it isn't, not that it matters.

-- Gramophone [6/1958, reviewing the original LP release of Symphony no 6]
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1957 
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Written: 1808 
Date of Recording: 10/1957 

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