Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra|
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7
Listen to Samples
Not Quite Worth It For The 5th Alone
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 05/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First let me start by saying Otto Klemperer is one of my favorite conductors, and his recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra have always stood out in a crowd. After having purchased Otto Klemperer's EMI Beethoven Symphony Cycle first as individual discs in the Klemperer Legacy series, and then as the currently available Box Set (in order to get his Piano Concerto Cycle with Daniel Barenboim), I was a bit annoyed at having to pick up this disc just to get his mono recording of the 5th Symphony from 1955. You see, the recording of the 7th Symphony on this disc is the great performance from 1955, which they discovered stereo reels for a few years back, but it has already been featured in the earlier Klemperer Legacy reissues and the current Box Set of the Symphony Cycle. (A CD of the performances of these same 5th and 7th Symphonies both in their mono incarnations was available in the early 90s, but that was before my classical collecting days.) Klemperer did record notoriously slow versions of the 7th in 1960 and 1968, but EMI chose not to reissue one of those unreleased performances here, most likely because they'd get sued for false advertising for calling it a "Great Recording of the Century." So if you are looking for a great coupling of the Beethoven's 5th and 7th, you may have come to the right place, though remember the 5th is in mono. If you're like me and can't get enough Klemperer, and were hoping this was a disc of rare treasure troves from the EMI vaults, you'll only get half of what you came for."
A perfect, active symphony --- clear background instruments
bob | Australia | 09/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Klemperer is probably one of the best - if not the best conductor ever.
This CD is both active, clear and the instruments, notes can be heard perfectly. The tempo is just right. One of the best performances of Symphony no. 5 and 7 I've heard -- this CD needs to be more rated for both the historical content and sound and more importantly the quality."
Quite good;Klemperer is weighty,serious and masterly as alwa
Kromme | 11/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Otto Klemperer was one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century.I remember reading a statement which said Klemperer towered over (in a reference to his tall body) Austro-German repertoire after the death of Wilhelm Furtwangler.I am the last person to disagree with this statement as i admire his music making in general and his Beethoven conducting in particular but these recordings are not the best cases to show his greatness.
First of all i must say,rarely Klemperer's tempos drag (he is quite fast in the slow movement).He takes the first movement of the fifth in 8:05 which is moderate to slow but nowhere near disturbingly slow.The performance is powerful and it is much more intense than the fast and "energetic" versions recorded in recent times by Vanska or Haitink.Klemperer's phrasing is genuine.He knows exactly what he is doing throughout.What impresses me most is that with this slow tempo he manages to preserve power,energy and delight until the very end of the finale although he takes the repeat.So this is a very good performance that is conducted masterly but it is not truly great.Fifth is a symphony that rarely sounds boring under a good conductor but great performances of it is equally rare.I believe the former is the case for the fineness of this performance.Mono sound is absolutely fine and clear but it is obvious that Philharmonia Orchestra that is consisted of very fine individuals and developed into a world-class orchestra under Herbert von Karajan is yet to develop a mutual understanding and a bond with their by-then new music director Otto Klemperer.For a truly memorable and great Klemperer 5th however,one should turn to his later stereo recording that is available in the box set of Beethoven symphonies conducted by him.As we all know Klemperer got slower and slower as he got older and that 5th takes the first movement in 9 minutes but his conducting -and phrasing in particular-will take your breath away.
In my opinion 7th is the hardest Beethoven symphony to conduct convincingly.A conductor must have drive and urgency (that is why Kapellmeisters like Sawallisch and Masur failed) but conductors who try to conduct it based only on drive also fails (Szell,Toscanini,Karajan).It requires a personal touch and great care for nuance.As an objective master Klemperer is not expected to put a personal,subjective touch on this work.He does what his usual way with Beethoven requires him to do and with his robust rhythms,he manages to be energetic despite his slow tempos.His eye is not on nuance but on the overall conception and unfortunately the inspired Allegretto,is lacking in emotional intensity.So he is skillful at what he is doing but i am not sure that this should be the way with this symphony.
A reservation;EMI makes the buyer think that both of these performances are different than the performances that are presented in Klemperer's box set which is wrong.The seventh is the same performance.
In all,this is the weakest CD of Klemperer conducting Beethoven because he made a better 5th later and he never conducted the seventh as well as other symphonies but still if my local orchestra would give a performance like these presented in this CD,i would go nuts after the concert."