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Audio CD, Import, 29 April 2014
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 14.61 x 12.9 x 0.99 cm; 94.12 Grams
- Manufacturer : ICA
- Original Release Date : 2014
- Label : ICA
- ASIN : B00IO56UKM
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Otto Klemperer (18851973) was one ofthe most celebrated German conductor sof the 20th century, along with such eminent names as Bruno Walter, Erich Kleiber and Wilhelm Furtwängler. After leaving Germany in 1933 for the USA, he returned to Europe in 1946 and became music director of the Budapest Opera (194754). But it was not until he came to Cologne in 1954 that Klemperer started his ascendency to the pinnacle of his career which concluded with his great years as music director of thePhilharmonia Orchestra together with a large and distinguished discography. These WDR broadcasts have never been issued before. Klemperers debut with the KRSO took place on 8 February 1954 with Mozarts Symphony No. 29,a favourite of the conductor. Eigel Kruttge, a Cologne Radio producer who had been Klemperers assistant at the Cologne Opera in the 1920s, famously wrote in his diary on hearing Klemperers initial rehearsal From the first bars, the lions claws an apt description for this tall and imposing conductor. Following the success of Klemperers first concert, he was invited back in the same month to conduct Beethovens Symphony No. 1. On hearing the performance, Kruttge wrote Everything absolutely right in his diary. The broadcast of the Bach Suite No. 3, another favourite work of the conductor, followed in October 1955, almost a year after he recorded Bachs four Orchestral Suites with the Philharmonia. WDRs broadcasts of all these concerts are of very high technical quality.
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A broadcast of the mono Philharmonia recording may have been my introduction to the piece. It's still in the catalogue.
The Cologne Radio audience was far luckier. The sonorities are certainly there, and the context helps too - these are works in which repetition is the key to structure, and after the Bach (presented by a full symphony orchestra, but one in which the problem of balancing weight and detail has been solved - if not - pace Ralph Moore - completely by the odd player on the night) you are already fully aware that Klemperer plays all the notes, observes repeat instructions conscientiously, but, even in Bach, phrases and balances so that the repeats themselves become developments using the same notes to ends determined by the fact you have already heard them once. The A major symphony grows and flourishes in a completely organic way, in a world which, for the fifties, suggests almost the pace and mastery of Klemperer's slightly younger contemporary Jean Renoir in "La Regle du Jeu", especially in the quasi-operatic finale. This does NOT happen in the EMI recording studio. The repeats in the Beethoven First Symphony are even more fascinating, and in the second movement the repeat of the exposition is so absorbing it almost overshadows the development itself, which suddenly gathers pace in an unaltered tempo and seems - as it should - to be much shorter. Klemperer's tempi at this stage of his career were clearly governed by his ear for balance and care for details of phrasing (perhaps the Brahms symphony recordings are the most successful of his studio recordings because they too operate in that spirit). The Beethovenian image here is sustained among other things by a series of unexpected events in the balancing of the harmony as well, so that in the finale tempo is the least important factor. This must be one of the few discs in which Klemperer's mastery can be clearly glimpsed throughout, not least because after hearing it you are not thinking about anything but the music - and music itself.