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Mortimer H. Frank
Fanfare, May 2012

This release is the third live account to come my way of this Beethoven symphony led by Otto Klemperer…it proves far more stylish than the conductor’s stereophonic studio version from 1959. It might be argued that this symphony is a major achievement in musical satire, the composer pointedly, yet humorously and affectionately, mocking the late 18th-century traditions that he inherited. From the upside-down first-movement recapitulation…to the off-the-beat timpani in the third movement and a finale whose coda is as long as its exposition, development, and recapitulation combined, this symphony displays Beethoven’s wit at its sophisticated best. I mention these traits because this Cologne performance offers Klemperer at his best in responding to these features that lend the work its special distinction. Particularly impressive are the two inner movements, both unfolding with greater animation and wit than in the conductor’s bland, plodding trek through them in his studio effort. In short, for anyone interested in Klemperer, this live performance is essential listening…eminently listenable and are often valuable for offering fare rarely programmed or recorded. Most importantly, as an example of what Klemperer could achieve with the Symphony No. 8, this release, with its fine mono sound, certainly enriches his profile, even more strikingly… © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare





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