Notes and Editorial Reviews
Klemperer’s Eroica has something for everyone. If
you prefer the
commercial mono of 1955 you
will enjoy a quite brisk take on the funeral march, whereas if you go for the
1961 stereo you’ll get the expansive version. In this archive restoration
from Stockholm in April 1958, which happily bisects his EMI recordings almost
exactly, we get the slow version, and this performance cleaves very much to the
familiar stereo reading in outline and pacing.
That this is so in no way devalues the release of this deeply expressive and
hugely communicative performance. Klemperer was in good spirits during his
sojourn and the notes report him looking ten years younger, laughing and joking,
and engaging in uncurdled wit and mockery. I dare say that one need not care
overmuch about his psychological state to enjoy the performance on its own terms
- and further that this changed mood could hardly be inferred from the performance.
Still, as with Furtwängler, it seems to me that Klemperer was at his greatest
in the Eroica. This latest example of his way with it demonstrates yet
again the quality of orchestral balancing of which he was so eloquent a master,
the architectural buttressing, the control of tempi and tempo relationships.
We also recognise the familiar way he brings the winds forwardly into the soundscape
- kudos here to the flute and clarinet principals.
My own preference is for the more swiftly-paced Klemperer, in which the sense
of cumulative power remains tantamount but this realisation makes powerful claims
on the collector not least for evidence of a transitional period between the
two tempo realisations. Above all, though, it is splendidly interpreted and performed.
The coupling is Mozart’s K201 Symphony. He recorded this with the New Philharmonia
in 1965, another very familiar recording. This Medici incarnation is with the
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, made in 1958. It’s very slightly tighter
than the later commercial stereo LP, though differences in orientation are really
minimal. Tempi are generally relaxed though there’s a tensile spine running
throughout that saves the opening Allegro moderato from stodginess. String
textures are broadly clear, though hardly translucent. He takes an affectionate
but not indulgent tempo for the slow movement and phrases with warmth. The finale
is certainly con spirito with plenty of lower string dynamism.
I tend to refer to these broadcast retrievals, since they complement an existing
commercial discography, as ancillary - which in a sense they are. This one is
too, but it broadens Klemperer’s orchestra base on disc, and reinforces
the changeable quality of his interpretations forcibly and movingly.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria
Length: 53 Minutes 16 Secs.
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