One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Symphony No. 4 in E minor Op. 98 (1884) [39:32]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphony in B minor, D.759 Unfinished (1822) [23:09]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a (1805) [13:53]
Swiss Festival Orchestra/Paul Kletzki
rec. 7 September 1946, Kunsthaus, Lucerne
AUDITE 95.642 [76:39]

After the end of the Second World War, at a time when EMI’s Walter Legge was re-establishing continental European contacts, Paul Kletzki became a valued addition to the roster of the company’s artists. He directed a performance of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony with the Swiss Festival Orchestra – it’s better known today as the Lucerne Festival Orchestra – that was released on 78s and was something of a calling card for both orchestra, with which Legge was delighted, and, of course, conductor. The last day of that recording session, 7 September 1946, saw an additional event, namely an evening’s charity concert during when Kletzki and the orchestra reprised the Brahms they had just recorded and added two other pieces to form the release now issued by Audite.

His later Czech Philharmonic LP may be more familiar than the 78 but few Kletzki admirers would want to be without the ancillary pleasures of this live performance, notwithstanding its very close approximation to the 78 set. It’s a performance of architectural surety and expressive balance. Kletzki was not one for quirks or peculiarities and he invariably saw straight to the heart of things. Thus this reading is flexible but never rhythmically flabby, and whilst the string choirs don’t sing out, this may be as much to do with the rather constricted sound as anything else. The horns certainly sound on fine form – albeit there is a touch of distortion, especially noticeable in the second movement - and though the Lucerne winds can be a touch pinched tonally they are well balanced and generally personable-sounding. The Andante is nobly conceived, its narrative finely detailed, the scherzo propulsive. With a powerfully but musically convincing finale all that this really needs is slightly better engineering and a more open top, the better to capture the hall ambience. Otherwise, it reveals Kletzki, yet again, as a musician lacking grandiose pretentions but possessing the firmest architectural strengths.

Much the same goes for Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony which, whilst Kletzki jettisons the first movement repeat, is notably well-phrased and conceived in dramatic terms. There’s swish audible throughout but principally during the second movement where it becomes quite intrusive. I suspect that attempts to limit this have also taken some of the higher frequencies with it which accounts for the somewhat cramped sound. Nevertheless, the performance itself is deeply impressive, as is the intensity that Kletzki locates in the Leonore Overture No.3. There’s some chuffing here, too, and overload hints in forte outbursts.

These relatively minor distractions apart, Audite has done well to restore this concert. Documentation is first class.

Jonathan Woolf
 


 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger