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Beethoven - The Orchestral Recordings / Otto Klemperer


Release Date: 11/06/2012 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 404275  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Aase Nordmo-LövbergWaldemar KmenttHans HotterChrista Ludwig,   ... 
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraPhilharmonia ChorusNew Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Mixed 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Don’t panic: the concertos will be coming in another box dedicated to the form. This 10-cd set contains all of Klemperer’s EMI Beethoven symphony and overture recordings. That means you get three versions of No. 7, and two of Nos. 3 and 5, as well as multiple versions of many of the overtures (two, count ‘em, two Consecrations of the House). It’s a collector’s dream. You’ll have a blast going back through these mostly great performances, especially in light of today’s period-influenced paradigm for both early and modern instruments. In such a context, Klemperer will only sound either hopelessly lead-footed, or even more impressive and distinctive than ever. I frankly opt for the latter view.

There are moments here, tempo
Read more aside, that truly do make these performances special, and precious. Most notable, perhaps, was Klemperer’s emphasis on clarity of texture, woodwinds in particular. Listen to the clip below from the development section of the first movement of the Fifth Symphony. There’s nothing quite like it, certainly not from the period instrument crew, because in order to bring out all those inner voices you need a real conductor on the podium, someone with a vivid conception of the piece willing to impose his view on the players. And that was Klemperer.

Certainly as he got older, he had a tendency to slow down, and for this reason his mid 50s mono recordings have always been valued by collectors. Yet the differences aren’t as huge as might be remembered. I offer clips of all three recordings of the Seventh’s first movement for comparison. The 1955 recording is unquestionably the swiftest, but the timings in 1960 and 1968 for the first movement are actually identical (the Allegretto in ’68 is notably slower). What happened, I think, as Klemperer got older was that he allowed the rhythm to get heavier, and he lost some of his ability to keep the music moving through quieter passages, letting the tension sag. You can listen and judge for yourself.

In any case, these performances are too well known to require much additional comment. Klemperer’s Eroica is one of the truly great ones, are his Fifth, Pastoral, and Ninth, this latter with an Adagio of unusually swift pacing for its day. The overtures are just fabulous, almost to a man (or in the case of the Leonores, to a woman). EMI will be issuing all of Klemperer’s recordings in boxes through 2013. I would grab them while you can. I know, we always say that, and then it all gets reissued even cheaper a few years later, but these boxes really do look as though EMI was determined to do the job right, and it’s always good to have an excuse to listen to these epic interpretations once again.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
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 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1959 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Length: 53 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1960 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 39 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Length: 41 Minutes 27 Secs. 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1963 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Aase Nordmo-Lövberg (Soprano), Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor), Hans Hotter (Bass),
Christa Ludwig (Alto)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1969 
12.
Egmont, Op. 84 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Leonore Overture no 1 in C major, Op. 138 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1963 
Length: 9 Minutes 49 Secs. 
14.
Leonore Overture no 2 in C major, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1963 
Length: 13 Minutes 55 Secs. 
15.
Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 38 Secs. 
16.
King Stephan, Op. 117: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Die Weihe des Hauses, Op. 124 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 47 Secs. 
18.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1960 
Length: 38 Minutes 38 Secs. 
20.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 35 Minutes 2 Secs. 
21.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 49 Minutes 28 Secs. 
22.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 42 Minutes 41 Secs. 
23.
Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1963 
Length: 14 Minutes 0 Secs. 
24.
Leonore Overture no 2 in C major, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Length: 13 Minutes 55 Secs. 
25.
Leonore Overture no 1 in C major, Op. 138 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Length: 8 Minutes 30 Secs. 
26.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Overture in E major by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Length: 6 Minutes 0 Secs. 
27.
Die Weihe des Hauses, Op. 124 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1955/1959 
Length: 12 Minutes 15 Secs. 
28.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1969 
29.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: no 18, Finale by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1969 
30.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: no 11, Adagio by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1969 

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