Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) CD 1
Symphony No. 29 in A, K. 201* (1774) [25:16]
Symphony No. 38 in D, K. 504# (Prague) (1786) [25:53]
Symphony No. 39 in E-flat, K. 543+ (1788) [27:36]
CD 2

Symphony No. 35 in D, K. 385 (Haffner) (1782) [18:17]
Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550+ (1788) [26:56]
Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551# (Jupiter) (1788) [30:01]
Philharmonia Orchestra, *New Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer
rec. Kingsway Hall, +July 1956, #March 1962; Abbey Road Studios, October 1960, *September 1965
EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3458102
[79:00 + 75:29]
 
Experience Classicsonline

 

Look carefully - these aren't quite the last six symphonies. The lyrical A major symphony replaces the Linz, and that's no cause for complaint: it's a fine piece of musical craftsmanship, and a nice change of pace. That symphony's first movement also offers a good indication of whether these performances will be for you. The tempo is distinctly measured - though there's ample forward motion - and the orchestral sound is big-boned. In the development, one becomes unusually aware of bass lines when they're carrying the movement's principal motifs. They're properly felt as full-fledged counterpoint, rather than playing a merely supportive role. The other three movements adhere to more conventional conceptions. The finale, while hardly rushed, is as rollicking as anyone else's. 

That basically sums up the set. Listeners accustomed to hearing the winds at parity with the strings, in the manner of the early-music fraternity - or, for that matter, Szell (Sony) - may find the orchestral sound heavy and string-dominated. But Klemperer takes care that important material in the winds emerges clearly - probably via simple dynamic adjustments rather than old-fashioned doublings. His practice of subordinating sustained wind harmonies to the strings' busy work seems logical and correct in any case. Actually, the textures sound richer and more active than in some "historical" accounts. The aforementioned weighty, strongly directional bass lines contribute to that impression; so do the second violins, registering prominently from their position at the conductor's right, as Klemperer preferred. 

It's worth noting that, notwithstanding the prevailing breadth - and the conductor's reputation! - the tempi as such aren't particularly slow. Krips (Philips), for example, is certainly no faster in the opening movements of the Prague and the Haffner. Klemperer's slow movements sing, for all their rigor - his minuets are spacious and sure-footed. Throughout the set, one encounters piano passages that conjure a delicate, magical hush. And, at his best, the conductor offers distinctive insights. The G minor's opening movement, sometimes played for a slick turbulence, here emerges in rueful, elegiac tones; a hint of monumentality only enhances the grandeur of the Jupiter. 

There are a few moments of creaky control, the sort of thing that sometimes crept into Klemperer performances. Here and there, momentum flags for no obvious reason - not so surprising in the comparatively propulsive outer movements, but it also occurs at the repeated bassoon notes at 7:58 in the E-flat symphony's Andante con moto, though it didn't happen the previous time around nor, for that matter, in the immediately preceding phrase! And, in the first movement of the Haffner, the nervous woodwind scale at 1:38 doesn't quite dovetail with the next downbeat, though analogous passages later on are fine. Small, passing flaws, perhaps, but digital mastering magnifies their presence somewhat, and they'll bother some people. 

I suspect that the mixing board has contributed some instrumental spotlighting: even within a forward sonic frame, some of the woodwind soli seem inordinately front-and-center. Otherwise, everything sounds good enough, though a touch of graininess betrays the recordings' age. 

This collection is a worthwhile, even necessary counterweight to the lighter, chamber-scaled performances more recently in favor. To return to the A major - among my favorite Mozart, in case you'd not guessed - if you supplement Klemperer's recording with Britten's (in a "Double Decca" bargain set) or Kertész's (also Decca, possibly in digital limbo), you'll be pretty much set.

Stephen Francis Vasta






 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.