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Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051
Conducted by Otto Klemperer

O-2

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6; Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 [20:46, 11:38, 9:48, 15:53, 20:33, 17:02]

Otto Klemperer

Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra (pseudonym for a studio band Vox assembled)

BWV 1050: M. Roesgen-Champion (Harpischord); R. Cortet (Flute); H. Merckel (Violin)

Vox 7812

Jul 2-7, 1946

2-CD / TT: 109:04

Recorded at Apollo Studio, Paris, France.
1st recording of Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 by O. Klemperer.
Buy this album at:
2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

O-4

Beethoven: Fidelio; Bach: Brandenburg No. 5; Schubert: Symphony n. 8 ("Unfinished")
Otto Klemperer as a Bach-Wagner Conductor - Live in Budapest (1948-1950)

 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050 [20:04]

Otto Klemperer

Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra)

Annie Fischer (Piano); Tibor Ney (Violin); Janos Szebenyi (Flute)

Urania 246
Hungaroton LPX-12160

Jan 13, 1950

2-CD / TT: 134:13 / 138:58
CD / TT:

Recorded live at Hungarian Radio, Studio 6, Budapest, Hungary.
2nd recording of Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 BWV 1050 by O. Klemperer.
Buy this album at:
Urania CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Urania Music Download: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Hungaroton CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

O-9

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 []

Otto Klemperer

Philharmonia Orchestra

Hugh Bean (Violin); Gareth Morris (Flute); Arthur Ackroyd (Flute); Sidney Sutcliffe (Oboe); Peter Newbury (Oboe); Cecil James (Bassoon); Alan Civil (Horn); Andrew Woodburn (Horn); Adolf Scherbaum (Trumpet); George Malcolm (Harpsichord)

Angel
EMI Classics

Sep 30, 1960; Oct 1,3-9,11, 1960

3-LP / TT:
2-CD / TT:

Recorded in London, England.
3rd recording of Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 BWV 1050 by O. Klemperer.
2nd recording of rest Brandenburg Concertos by O. Klemperer.
Buy this album at:
EMI Toshiba 2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
EMI LP [1,2,6]: Amazon.com
Angel 3-LP: Amazon.com | Amazon.com

O-10

Legendary Conductors: Otto Klemperer / Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Legendary Performers, Vol. 4: Otto Klemperer

 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046 [23:51]

Otto Klemperer

Philadelphia Orchestra

-

As Disc 533
As Disc 2504

Feb 6, 1957

CD / TT: 73:31

Recorded live at Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
3rd recording of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 BWV 1046 by O. Klemperer.
Buy this album at:
AS Disc CD: | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

O-13

Otto Klemperer conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker: Live Broadcast Performances

 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046 [25:43]

Otto Klemperer

Wiener Philharmoniker

Walter Weller (Violin); Gunter Hogner (Horn); Franz Holetschek (Harpsichord); Wolfgang Jr. Tombock (Horn); Hans Hanak (Oboe); Karl Mayerhofer (Oboe); Ernst Pamperl (Bassoon); Ferdinand Raab (Oboe)

Testament SBT8-1365
Testament

May 19, 1968

8-CD / TT: 508:33
2-CD / TT:

Recorded live in Vienna, Austria.
4th recording of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 BWV 1046 by O. Klemperer.
Buy this album at:
8-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
2-CD: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

O-14

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1-6; Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4
Bach: Complete Orchestral Suites

 

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 []

Otto Klemperer

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Gareth Morris (Flute) [2]

EMI 1C 137-02 102/3
EMI CMS 7 64150 2
EMI Toshiba

Sep 17-19, 1969; Oct 6, 15-17, 1969

3-LP / TT:
3-CD / TT:
2-CD:

Recorded at Studio No. 1, Abbey Road, London, England.
The recording of the Brandenburg Concertos is the same as [O-7] above.
2nd recording of Orchestra Suite No. 1 BWV 1066 by O. Klemperer.
3rd recording of Orchestra Suite No. 2 BWV 1067 by O. Klemperer.
6th recording of Orchestra Suite No. 3 BWV 1068 by O. Klemperer.
3rd recording of Orchestra Suite No. 4 BWV 1069 by O. Klemperer.
Buy this album at:
EMI/HMV 3-CD: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
EMI Toshiba 2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

Klemperer's Brandenburgs, Paris 1946

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 28, 2003):
A few weeks ago Jim Morrison asked how I like the new Vox set 7812: Otto Klemperer conducting a "Pro Musica Orchestra" in Paris, 1946, in the six Brandenburg Concertos and "Eine kleine Nachtmusik."

I do. Most of the performances are pretty good, especially in #1, 2, 3, 6, and the Mozart. Klemperer and his band have an energetic flow, unproblematic interpretations, good attention to detail, and (as happens frequently with Klemperer) a sense that the musicians are really alert, not "going through the motions."

The production values of the CD set are notably sloppy: some very awkward side joins (of the 78 rpm originals), a few places of random panning from one channel to the other (where the recordings are, of course, mono), and below-average sound for 78 rpm transfers: it doesn't sound anything like a Ward Marston or Dutton Labs project here. And the booklet notes don't say anything useful. But hey, it's budget price for this two-CD set, and all the details are readily available in Peter Heyworth's biography of Klemperer, volume 2.

#4 is not so good. The first movement has a very badly mismatched pair of sides that sound as if they were done on different days, with different acoustic space and wildly different tempos. And the violin soloist struggles through this difficult piece.

#5 is (for me) pretty much ruined by the harpsichord: one of those awful-sounding early 20th century beasts with weak tone, partially compensated by heavy 16+8+8+4 registration, and a "sewing-machine" player. Lively fingers, good energy, but an interpretation that doesn't breathe. The last movement is effective, though: Klemperer has the players preserve a difference between triplets and the dotted figure, without making a big deal of it (the way Casals made it lurch), and the result is a performance that crackles with energy.

#3 has a few extra beats at a side join, where the transfer producer should have tightened it up. The performance goes well, and Klemperer goes right into the end of the finale with no rallentando at all (same as he would do later in his EMI/Angel remake)...it's forthright, and I like it.

#2 has a soprano saxophone playing the trumpet part, like the way the more famous (and hectic) Casals/Prades recording from 1950 does. I think it works well here, nicely balanced.

So, there are some problems. But it's good to have this set at all, after reading about it for many years but never finding a copy anywhere, LP or otherwise.

Recommended. Now, if EMI or Testament would give us another chance to buy Klemperer's remake on CD.... (I've only ever seen it on CD once, c1989, and I missed it; all I have is the set of LPs.)

Pete Blue wrote (February 28, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] I never heard Klemperer's B'burgs, but this thread has whetted my appetite therefor.

I saw Klemperer conduct, just once, at the Hollywood Bowl, and I can vouch for Brad's observation of "a sense that the musicians are really alert, not 'gothrough the motions.'" The orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic of that era (pre-Mehta/Previn/Giulini), was the biggest bunch of schlubs you ever saw, but Klemperer, whether intentionally like Furtwangler or unintentionally due to his debilitated physical condition, had an indistinct baton stroke and they followed him with hairtrigger attentiveness (it was the Beethoven Ninth).

Klemperer projected a prodigious inner strength despite his obvious decrepitude. He conducted sitting down, but even his going to and from the podium was as riveting as a rubbernecker on the freeway. Some dude.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 28, 2003):
[To Pete Blue] Indeed he was some dude, and his biography reads like a script of an Oliver Stone film or something. What a wild man, manic-depressive and everything. Hitting on every female human in sight. Pulling a realistic-looking water pistol on people who ticked him off. Insisting on accompanying people on piano using his left hand alone, after his right side couldn't do much. Nearly torching himself while smoking in bed. Getting annoyed with the way Elisabeth Schwarzkopf schmoozed the audience, and intentionally launching the next movement over the top of her applause, at a tempo there's no way she could keep up with, just to yank her chain. What a dude.

 

Klemperer's Brandenburgs, London 1960

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 8, 2003):
After I reviewed Klemperer's 1946 set of Brandenburgs here a few weeks ago, I decided to get to know his stereo remake better. I've had it here on LPs for many years but never listened to it very often.

So I made a cassette dub of it (6+1; 3+4+2; 5 on a separate tape). That is, all the concertos but #5 fill out a 90-minute cassette very nicely. We've been running it on infinite loop during the daytime and evenings, many of the past days: nice music for our baby to get to know, and our childcare person likes it too when she's here. It's much better than the built-in electronic garbage that comes with baby paraphernalia nowadays...every device with batteries in it has a computer chip in it to play inane tunes in horrible arrangements...what flunky who never took freshman Counterpoint courses wrote that crap, with such awful voice-leading and clueless harmonies? Aaaaaaaahhhhh-ick! (And nobody's too young to become a Klemperer fan and a Bach fan, right? Babies should listen to GOOD music!) Anyway....

Klemperer's performances here stand up well to such repetition all day. The performances are considerably less demonstrative than in the 1946 set, and some of the most forthright that I know. The music goes along seemingly under its own power: unhurried, buoyant, and with very clear contrapuntal texture (both in performance and recording). Klemperer doesn't make any effects, but lets Bach make them. It never really whips the blood up to a froth, but neither is it boring. It goes along easily in a way that grows on me. It sounds relaxed and clean, not overly cautious, not always exactly together, but so clear and so REAL.

Critics haven't liked this, though. Peter Heyworth (in his Klemperer bio, volume 2) reports: "A programme on 4 December [1960] consisting of the six Brandenburg Concertos drew especially heavy fire. The Times (5 December) described Klemperer's readings as 'a curious mixture of modern loyalty to history and traditional suet pudding'. On the one hand, he had used an appropriately small band and one player per part in Nos. 3 and 6. As against that, he had preferred flutes to recorders in Nos. 2 and 4, and the harpsichord continuo had been so over-amplified that it had sounded as though played on the treble register of a modern grand piano. The only trills permitted were those written out by Bach himself. There were massive rallentandi. 'Much of the music', concluded The Times, 'sounded humdrum, or uncharacteristic of Bach's thought as our age conceives it.' Attempts by the harpsichord player, George Malcolm, to decorate the continuo part met with Klemperer's fierce disapproval."

Yep, that's a pretty accurate assessment of the recording, too. It's from October 1960. Klemperer often (and here) used his recording sessions as a rehearsal for concerts. [I'm not saying that just because of the dates; Heyworth makes a point of it elsewhere in the book that this was one of Klemperer's frequent practices, the way he made recordings.] Fortunately for those of us too young to have heard him, he did make those recordings. I wish there would be more of those live concert performances of his available...I've heard at least a dozen (not Bach) and they're usually more exciting than the studio recordings of the same pieces are. The studio recordings are satisfying, yes, and I'm a die-hard Klemperer fan all around, but the extra excitement of a real occasion is sometimes missing....

As I noted in my review of the 1946 set, Klemperer does not use a rallentando at the end of #3, but just goes into the end in tempo, and then stops. It gives a good impression of an easygoing dance.

As I mentioned before, I'll buy these on CD when and if they ever show up again. They seem to have been available only very briefly c1989 in that EMI Klemperer Edition. Ditto for his stereo remake of the four orchestral suites, if those ever show up again. They're not as good as his 1954 set (now on Testament), but my LPs are wearing out.

=====

To fill up the second tape I made it into a George Malcolm theme: he is the harpsichord soloist in Brandenburg 5, and I had another record of him playing the hpsi concertos 1&2 with Munchinger, and a solo record of the D major toccata and Italian Concerto. (That latter LP has been one of my favorites for a long time: it also includes the Chromatic F&F and the French Suite 5; and the CD issue has some other bonbons as well. Malcolm's playing is way out of fashion now, but boy is it exciting...the way he uses those swell shutters and quick registration changes with the pedals on his harpsichord...and his sometimes extremely precipitous tempos...golly!)

Pete Blue wrote:
<< I never heard Klemperer's B'burgs, but this thread has whetted my appetite therefor.
I saw Klemperer conduct, just once, at the Hollywood Bowl, and I can vouch for Brad's observation of "a sense that the musicians are really alert, not 'going through the motions.'" The orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic of that era (pre-Mehta/Previn/Giulini), was the biggest bunch of schlubs you ever saw, but Klemperer, whether intentionally like Furtwangler or unintentionally due to his debilitated physical condition, had an indistinct baton stroke and they followed him with hairtrigger attentiveness (it was the Beethoven Ninth).
Klemperer projected a prodigious inner strength despite his obvious decrepitude. He conducted sitting down, but even his going to and from the podium was as riveting as a rubbernecker on the freeway. Some dude. >>
I wrote:
< Indeed he was some dude, and his biography reads like a script of an Oliver Stone film or something. What a wild man, manic-depressive and everything. Hitting on every female human in sight. Pulling a realistic-looking water pistol on people who ticked him off. Insisting on accompanying people on piano using his left hand alone, after his right side couldn't do much. Nearly torching himself while smoking in bed. Getting annoyed with the way Elisabeth Schwarzkopf schmoozed the audience, and intentionally launching the next movement over the top of her applause, at a tempo there's no way she could keep up with, just to yank her chain. What a dude. >

Pete Blue wrote (March 8, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< To fill up the second tape I made it into a George Malcolm theme: he is the harpsichord soloist in Brandenburg 5, and I had another record of him playing the hpsi concertos 1&2 with Munchinger, and a solo record of the D major toccata and Italian Concerto. (That latter LP has been one of my favorites for a long time: it also includes the Chromatic F&F and the French Suite 5; and the CD issue has soother bonbons as well. Malcolm's playing is way out of fashion now, but boy is it exciting...the way he uses those swell shutters and quick registration changes with the pedals on his harpsichord...and his sometimes extremely precipitous
tempos...golly!) >
Brad's description of George Malcolm's playing is accurate. Several decades ago George Malcolm recorded the Goldberg Variations on a 2-LP set on L'Oiseau-Lyre which was my favorite for many years. I believe it was the first recording with the repeats observed. I don't have the album notes handy so I can't recall the instrument, but I always liked the dramatic ways he alternated between the highly contrasted manuals. This recording was never transferred to CDs, to my knowledge. I wish it would be, because I should like Goldberg addicts to hear it if not admire it.

 

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051: Details
Recordings:
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Güttlers Brandenburgs | Review: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 5 - conducted by Karl Richter | Review of Brandenburg Concertos by Tafelmusik
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
Brandenburg Concertos - R. Alessandrini | Brandenburg Concertos - R. Egarr | Brandenburg Concertos - N. Harnoncourt | Brandenburg Concertos - O. Klemperer

Otto Klemperer: Short Biography | Philharmonia Orchestra | Recordings of Vocal Works
Individual Recordings of Vocal Works:
BWV 232 - O. Klemperer | BWV 244 - O. Klemperer
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Brandenburg Concertos - O. Klemperer

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Last update: June 16, 2009 11:30:06