Friday, 2 November 2012

Otto Klemperer

For a total outlay of £2.27 per CD, I obtained a thunderous duo package of 20 CDs of Otto Klemperer conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in the 1950s and 1960s. The ten Beethoven CDs give me shelf-space as I remove the old, bulky CDs; the package that contains all the symphonies, often in several versions, also contains Klemperer's performance with the strings of the orchestra of the Große Fuga, a performance I have loved for decades – I bought the LP when it first came out in 1957.

The other 10 CDs see Klemperer in Romantic repertoire – three Schubert symphonies, all the Schumann symphonies, lots of Mendelssohn, the last three Tchaikovsky symphonies, the symphonies by Berlioz and César Franck. A good box to dip into from time to time. Yesterday I listened to Klemperer and the Philharmonia in 1966 with César Franck's Symphony in D minor. I enjoyed it immensely. The sound was good. The playing of the Philharmonia was still good. Klemperer's skills in architecture, balance and maintenance of pulse were well to the fore. This evening I may well dip into Klemperer and the band in 1963 in Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. For music lovers, there never were such times.

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