Klemperer's Mozart recordings have been available almost without a break since their original LP releases. It's not hard to see why, since he conducted Mozart with authority, never lapsing into either heavy-handed Romanticism or its opposite, treating the music like a fragile piece of porcelain. Klemperer's sturdy rhythms make even some of his slow dance-based movements seem faster than they actually are. Period performance buffs will still feel this big-band Mozart is too heavy but the more open-minded will appreciate the way Klemperer brings the winds forward to create appropriate balances with the strings.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Otto Klemperer s death, EMI Classics pays tribute to the incomparable conductor with the release of an extensive edition of 11 luxurious yet affordably-priced boxsets. The second edition of three is available this January. The great symphonies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are considered to be the last nine together with Nos. 25 and 29. Klemperer s first recordings of these were Nos. 29 and 41 in 1954 followed by Nos. 25, 36, 38, 40 and 41 two years later together with the Seranata Notturna, Eine kleine Nachtmusik and the Adagio & Fugue. He revisited Nos. 29, 38, 39, 40 and 41and Eine kleine Nachtmusik in the 1960 s as well as completing all the other recordings in this 8-CD collection entitled Klemperer Edition: Mozart.
Otto Klemperer was very much a man of the theatre. “Here, opera and drama were truly united,” he said of his time at Berlin’s Kroll Theatre, a progressive and influential force in the heady years of the Weimar Republic. He was also a man with a sharp sense of humour: this performance of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream both glows with enchantment and sparkles with wit.
This extraordinary set of live Klemperer performances should be in the collection of everyone who cares about Klemperer and his marvelous style of music making. Massive and often slow but always vital and alive, they will not appeal to everyone.
"…This is what might be called big band Mozart, with none of the modern early music refinements coming into play as in the cycles of Pinnock or Hogwood. This is Mozart on modern instruments in a large-sized orchestra – not just 40 musicians like some so-called “authentic” recordings. On the other hand, Klemperer has a different approach to this music that he obviously adored and was fully familiar with. While cycles by Mackerras, Bohm, Karajan, Bruno Walter and others may compete in some ways, Klemperer’s efforts stand up amazingly well now that one can hear details in the recordings which were never exposed before except in the mastering studio." ~audiophile-audition
Otto Klemperer was born on 14th May 1885 in Breslau, Silesia (now Wroclaw, Poland) and died on 6th July 1973 in Zurich and hence next year we mark 40 years since his passing. Although disfigured by a stroke suffered whilst a brain tumour was being removed he became a world-renowned conductor whose recordings became and remain touchstones for the EMI catalogue.