Haydn celebrated in a very grand manner
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In its haphazard neglect of classical music CDs -- no reviews, no program details -- Amazon hasn't listed what's inside the bargain three-pack of Otto Klemperer's Haydn, so here you are:
Symphony No.88 in G 'Letter V'. Symphony No.90 in C. Symphony No.92 in G 'Oxford'. Symphony No.95 in C minor. Symphony No.100 in G 'Military'. Symphony No.101 in D 'Clock'. Symphony No.102 in B flat. Symphony No.104 in D 'London'
I have only a download version so cannot relate the dates of these eight recordings, but the sound varies from wiry mono (Sym. 92 only) to wide-screen vintage stereo (Sym. 104), with most of the symphonies being done in soft-grained, mellifluous modern stereo (meaning mid-to-late Sixties). Anyway, there are no problems with the sonics, and one marvels, as always, at Klemperer's perfect balance of winds and strings, and since he favors woodwind detail, Haydn's delightful writing for those instruments stands out.
As to style, each work receives the same old-fashined aapproach -- a full Beethoven orchestra, heavy landings at the beginning of the bar in the minuets, a very broad Largo introducing the first movements, and grandly paced slow movements. Within that framework, these are magnificent performances, the best being the noble "London" No. 104, which can stand up to the best of Furtwangler and Bruno Walter, my other favorites in the old-fashioned style. It may be that some readings are slightly perkier than others (#88, #102), but you will know from the first ten minutes if you are sympathetic to a performance style that's light years away from period performance.
I hope there's room in this world for a great conductor to send us messages from a time capsule. Rest assured that the Philharmonia plays with impeccable verve and brio, even at these slower tempos. In all, this is one of EMI's most gratifying triplets, since many of these recordings have been out of print for quite a while."
Klemperer's superb Haydn recordings
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 08/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These Haydn symphony recordings, with outstanding performances under Otto Klemperer's baton, have been seen as immortal classics ever since their first release on LPs. The various CD editions of them have been out of print for quite a while. So, thank you EMI for bringing them back to the catalogue!
Let me just first correct and expand the information provided by the other reviewer here, before I'll say something about the performances.
As you can see from the samples above, the correct listing should also include also symphony no. 98 in B flat. Together with the recording of no. 101 in D, "The Clock", these two symphonies were recorded with "Klemp" and the old Philharmonia in 1960, and with the legendary Walter Legge as the producer. The other symphonies were recorded with the later Philharmonia - the New Philharmonia - and with other producers instead (Andry and Grubb). Recording dates span from 1964 to 1971.
The other thing to correct is the strange claim that no. 92 in G, "Oxford", is recorded in mono. I can't hear that on the CD edition. It sounds like perfect vintage stereo to me, like the rest of recordings collected in this edition. The performance of no. 92 was recorded in 1971, and it thus the latest recording in this collection.
Now, what about the performances? As already indicated, they are simply excellent. Unlike later and dry authenticist recordings, these creamy and delicately balanced performances sparkle and glow. It's pure musical pleasure throughout.
Even if I don't want to be without such outstanding performances as Furtwängler's no. 88 (Schubert: Symphony No. 9; Haydn: Symphony No. 88 / Furtwängler), Scherchen's no. 100 (the exceptional stereo version, Great Conductors of the 20th Century: Hermann Scherchen), and Dorati's complete set (now at a bargain price!!!, Complete Symphonies (Box)), I take Klemp's recordings to be the desert island Haydn. (But I would smuggle the Scherchen box as well: Hermann Scherchen: 1950's Haydn Symphonies Recordings).
In my view, then, these are essential Haydn recordings. The price is a steal. The only shortcoming is the booklet text, which provides nothing about the performers apart from listed recording information. That notwithstanding, highest possible recommendation."