WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Symphony No 35 in D "Haffner", K385. 18.16
Symphony No 36 in C "Linz", K425. 26.58
Symphony No 38 in D "Prague", K504. 25.52
Overture: Die Zauberflöte, K620.
*Recorded: 3/64 (Magic Flute);
7/56 (Linz); 3/62 (Prague) Kingsway Hall, London. 10/60 (Haffner); Abbey
Road Studios.EMI. The Klemperer Legacy CDM 5 67333 2 9 [78.56]
EMI have released a further all Mozart disc in its "The Klemperer Legacy"
series which like the others in the collection have been remastered under
the 'art' system. (This is 24 bit processing and stands for Abbey Road
Technology). This latest disc has three "named" symphonies and an overture.
In my comments on the previously covered disc with earlier symphonies, as
a reviewer I found a real risk of repetition with my listening notes being
full of the same phrases on many occasions. For instance - clarity of inner
parts, excellent overall balance, good weight to the strings, magical woodwind
playing, precision on entries, seamless, cohesive and so on. All praise you
notice. So what does a poor unfortunate chap do next when he's presented
with a further batch of Klemperer and the Philharmonia playing Mozart? He
tries even harder to say something different (or perhaps hopes you haven't
read the earlier piece).
The disc has the three symphonies in chronological order, We must remember
that by 1962 when the last of these recordings was made, Otto Klemperer was
nearing eighty years of age and very frail. It's almost a minor miracle that
the recordings were made at all, not that the results were as they were.
In his Haffner Symphony (No 35), Mozart deleted two movements of a
previously written piece, made further minor emendations and produced this
little masterpiece. The opening Allegro points the way to Klemperer's
approach to each of the three later works here which is as one would expect
- serious, weighty and pointing towards Beethoven. The real skill comes from
being weighty without being ponderous or losing the lightness inherent in
Mozart. The delightful Andante - yet again one blesses the value of
splitting the violins - the Minuet and Trio (wonderful balance), and
a marvellously shaded Finale complete the opening symphony.
The Linz Symphony (No 36) was one of Mozart's "written against the
clock" pieces -there were so many in his short life - but the listener would
never know. A slow introduction prefaces a steadily paced opening
Allegro. The gently rocking Adagio that follows shows the quality
of the original recording with its clarity in the inner parts. The Minuet
and Trio point to rustic revelries rather than an elegant drawing room
(lovely playing from the wind section) and in the Finale - played
with tremendous dash - the trumpet parts add interesting variety. The exquisitely
shaded contrasts between sections yet again show what a superb orchestra
the Philharmonia was in its prime.
Unusually, there are three movements only (missing is a Minuet) in
No 38 - The Prague. There is a dramatic slow introduction leading
to the opening Allegro, a beautifully shaped reading in which the
near-perfect balance shows off the strong contrapuntal element. The middle
movement Andante is a deeply expressive, quiet interlude - Mozart
at his most elegant and graceful - leading to a perfectly paced Finale
full of lovely touches - like the interplay between the bassoon, flute
and oboe - and the 'rightness' of the whole.
The overture from The Magic Flute completes the disc. A filler in
timing terms, perhaps, but given a robust performance from full orchestra
its beauties are clear.
A thoroughly enjoyable disc, then, and one for repeated listening. Lovers
of Mozart and admirers of the Otto Klemperer's dedicated approach to music
from a lifetime's study should not miss this one.
Finally, again one must pay tribute to the EMI production and studio teams
of the time. What they put on to disc are treasures and current remastering
techniques show how much we owe to their approach of good balance and avoidance
of 'highlighting' in recordings.
*Regarding the recording dates. The dates printed with the disc are incorrect.
Following investigation the corrected dates in this review have been supplied