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Otto Klemperer
Carl Maria WEBER (1786-1826)

Euryanthe Overture
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Symphony No. 8 in F major Op. 93
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major BWV 1050
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Serenade No. 13 in G major K525 Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Academic Festival Overture
Roesgen-Champion (harpsichord), R Cortet (flute) and Henri Merckel (violin) in the Bach
Orchestra of the Staatsoper, Berlin (Weber, Beethoven and Brahms) recorded 1927-31
Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, Paris (Bach and Mozart) recorded 1946
Otto Klemperer
SYMPOSIUM 1241 [75.00]


Symposium has been charting Klempererís early recording career Ė see Nos 1042 and 1204 in their edition. It certainly was an erratic and odd series of discs for Polydor, Parlophone-Odeon and Electrola, recorded between 1924 (late acoustics) and 1931. Klemperer didnít record again until 1946 when he made a set of the Brandenburg Concertos in Paris with the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra of which we are here given No. 5. There are no acoustics in this release.

Looking through John Huntís Klemperer discography makes interesting reading. This early recording of the Euryanthe Overture from 1927 was the only Weber he was to record until 1960 when he recorded three overtures for Columbia (now on an EMI CD); Euryanthe, Oberon and Die Freischütz. Some of the string tone tends to thinness but itís a buoyant reading, as is Beethovenís F major Symphony. Though the winds can be rather nasal Klemperer is especially fine in the Minuet and allows a goodly amount of portamento in the Rondo finale; there is however considerable imprecision elsewhere.

The Brandenburg D major Concerto features a trio of fine French soloists, harpsichordist Roesgen-Champion, flautist Cortet and violinist Merckel, one of the most characterful of that contemporary crop of French fiddlers. We know Klempererís Brandenburgs best by the October 1960 Philharmonia cycle but he recorded this earlier 1946 set, made in Paris with the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra. Roesgen-Champion shows it was not just Landowska who demonstrated Bachian harpsichord credentials in Paris at around this time (though Landowska of course had left Paris by now). She is fluent and her cadenza is powerful, Cortet is marvellously agile and Merckel is elegant Ė the tempo in the first movement can drag a little but the soloists aerate it. The shaping of the slow movement is lyrical yet alive whilst the Allegro finale can be a little stolid (especially in the bass line) but Roesgen-Champion shines once more.

The Mozart is relatively attractive; a little fierce in places perhaps in the Romanza and impatient in the Minuet but the 1931 Brahms Academic Festival Overture is fine and spacious Ė he returned to it with the Philharmonia thirty years later.

The transfers are generally fine; some blasting Ė which could have been minimised - and wear on a few of the sides but Symposium has retained the full range of frequencies. This is another in the growing line of early Klemperers and a boon to collectors.

Jonathan Woolf



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