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Klemperer Conducts Beethoven CD

Price: £9.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£9.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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1. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125, 'Choral' - Various Performers

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A "live" Klemperer gem 17 Aug. 2009
By L. Johan - Published on
We are not short of Beethoven no. 9 recordings under Otto Klemperer's baton. In all, there are at least eight Klemperer performances of the ninth on official CDs or on bootleg. One in studio - from his legendary cycle for EMI (Beethoven: The Complete Symphonies and Piano Concertos). Several other from concert performances, e.g., the Testament edition of the concert preceeding the studio recording, with identical soloists (Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 "Choral"). Both of these are first-rate interpretations; indeed, I would say that they must be seen as the first choices for this symphony, closely followed by those great ninths that we have from Ferenc Fricsay (Beethoven: Symphonie No. 9; Overture "Egmont"), Wilhelm Furtwängler (Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (Hybrid SACD)), and Peter Maag (Beethoven: Symphony No. 9).

The present recording incarnates a concert performance in Cologne 1958 - the year after he recorded his classic recording for EMI, with Philharmonia (1957). (As far as I known, this is the first official edition of the Cologne reading. The label - Medici Masters - is from the the same company that publish BBC Legends.) Now we have German forces: Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (Köln RSO). Soloists are similar as in the EMI recording: Stader, Hoffman, Kmentt and Hotter - in my view a better team than in the EMI recording.

In terms of performance, the orchestra plays very well and the soloists are simply superb. The interpretation is not identical to the EMI/Testament-Philharmonia editions: Klemperer's tempi are more flexible here; evidently he's more relaxed or inspired by the moment. The typical feature in Klemperer's interpretations is evident: clear contributions from every department are important for him - forte means always forte and nothing else (the obvious contrast is the well-mixed smoothies we have from von Karajan).

Even if I cherish Klemperer's 1957 studio ninth and its live counterpart with Philharmonia, this is perhaps a greater interpretation and performance: the soloists are slightly better, and Klemperer's interpretation has more drive in Cologne. Great intensity and superb structural clarity.

Sound is mono, but it's good as such. A fine edition, with an informative booklet note. A short rehearsal of the performance is given as a fill-up, with the choir and a singing Klemperer at the piano. The applause is edited out, the audience is well-behaving.

In sum: essential. Warmly recommended!
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