Otto Klemperer's Beethoven is one of the towering achievements in the history of recordings. By today's standards, these performances are hopelessly old-fashioned: dark, heavy, and frequently very slow. But they are also the grandest, most unsentimental, most purposeful versions in the catalog.
Major documents from Rudolf Kempe's later years at the head of the Munich Philharmonic. Beethoven's Fifth, that masterpiece of emotional tension, and his Sixth, all vivid depiction of nature, are both readings of maturity and perfection.
This extraordinary set of live Klemperer performances should be in the collection of everyone who cares about Klemperer and his marvelous style of music making. Massive and often slow but always vital and alive, they will not appeal to everyone.
"…This is what might be called big band Mozart, with none of the modern early music refinements coming into play as in the cycles of Pinnock or Hogwood. This is Mozart on modern instruments in a large-sized orchestra – not just 40 musicians like some so-called “authentic” recordings. On the other hand, Klemperer has a different approach to this music that he obviously adored and was fully familiar with. While cycles by Mackerras, Bohm, Karajan, Bruno Walter and others may compete in some ways, Klemperer’s efforts stand up amazingly well now that one can hear details in the recordings which were never exposed before except in the mastering studio." ~audiophile-audition
The soloists step into the light again for this fifth release in the Simax-series with the complete orchestral music of Beethoven. After the wonderful reception of piano concertos 1 and 2 (PSC 1181) its now time for concerto no.3, with Berezovsky on exceptional form. Plus a stunning rendering of the Triple concerto. Dausgaard leads with a sensitive ear to the poetry and somewhat melancoly expression found in both these concertos, engaging the orchestra in "chamber musical" ensemble with the soloists. But there are massive outbursts as well, in sparkling performance!
Otto Klemperer was born on 14th May 1885 in Breslau, Silesia (now Wroclaw, Poland) and died on 6th July 1973 in Zurich and hence next year we mark 40 years since his passing. Although disfigured by a stroke suffered whilst a brain tumour was being removed he became a world-renowned conductor whose recordings became and remain touchstones for the EMI catalogue.
From the Notes: This great affection, and respect, for the Viennese players would last all his life. 'I think', he once wrote with characteristic honesty to the orchestra itself, 'that the Vienna Philharmonic is better than any American orchestra. I prefer them to the Berlin Philharmonic. It is true that some members of the orchestra can be unpleasant. They are not easy to deal with. But it's wonderful how they play, especially the strings' (quoted in Klang und Komponist, 150 Years of the Vienna Philharmonic, Tutzing 1992).
At the end of the final rehearsal for the 1968 series of concerts, the Schubert/Strauss/Wagner programme, Klemperer (noted bassist and music historian Alfred Planyavsky in his diary) said: 'Gentlemen, before I leave Vienna, I would like to thank you for your understanding and collaboration. Making music with you was one of the finest experiences I have had.'written by Mike Ashman 2004
Hardly anybody will dispute that Otto Klemperer (1885-1973) was one of the most remarkable conductors of the last century. During his Budapest guest performances between the two World Wars he had already been given an enthusiastic reception by the audience and the musical profession alike. Not only his interpretation of the Viennese classical and romantic repertoire met with recognition but that of modern Hungarian music as well. For example, when conducting the premiere of Bartok’s Second Piano Concerto at the head of the Budapest Concert Orchestra Bartok, who was usually grudging of praise, declared that he could not imagine a more consummate performance of the orchestral part. Klemperer lived and worked in Hungary between 1947 and 1950 without a break, conducting the orchestra of the Opera in the first place and appearing on stage in concerts with symphonic orchestras. His interpretations of Bach’s and Wagner’s works on the present CD date from this period.
It was as a supreme interpreter of the German Classical masterpieces, from Haydn to Richard Strauss, that concert audiences chiefly admired Otto Klemperer in the years between about 1951 and his retirement in 1972, the period to which most of his records belong. In Beethoven, particularly, he offered a granite-like orchestral sonority, and an objectivity in his balance of form and content, that contrasted refreshingly with the styles of such idolized conductors as Furtwangler, Bruno Walter, and even Toscanini. Under Klemperer the greatest Beethoven sounded more truthful and honest, and even more grand and inspiring.
"…This set deserves the most enthusiastic recommendation which words can muster. It has few rivals even in the top price range. (…) Zinman is Beethoven: I can pay him no greater compliment." ~musicweb-international