The gem here is Klemperer's conducting of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, a transcription for string orchestra adapted from the string quartet Op. 130. The composer's conception is so gigantic, so full of struggle and complexity, that it can barely be contained inside the bounds of four instruments. A setting for a larger-voiced, more replete ensemble made sense to the Romantic sensibility; therefore, we ahve a number of recordings from Bernstein, Furtwangler (there's even a video)et al. Klemperer's is among the most cogent and varied. He doesn't simply plunge in to create a granitic monument -- almost the opposite. His reading adds gentleness and nuance to contrast with power. I found it a great performance that clarified a very knotty work.
The rest of the music, all for strings, is more problematic. The Adagio and Fugue is simply massive, so anachronistic that it leaves Mozart far behind. There are lighter moments in eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the Serenate Notturna, but neither could be called light-handed. The Handel Concerto Grosso that ends the program is broad and courtly; again, very far from the composer's world but very nice on its own terms. But in the end, the great performance on this CD, which is in excellent sound, by the way, is the Beethoven.