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Strona Główna Muzyka Klasyczna Mozart W.A. Mozart - Symphonies Nos. 40 & 41 (Klemperer) [2012]

Mozart - Symphonies Nos. 40 & 41 (Klemperer) [2012]

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Mozart - Symphonies Nos. 40 & 41 (Klemperer) [2012]

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Symphony No. 40 In G Minor, K.550
1.	 I. Molto allegro (8:41)
2.	 II. Andante (8:58)
3.	 III. Menuetto & Trio (4:15)
4.	 IV. Allegro assai (5:09)

Symphony No. 41 In C Major, K.551 “Jupiter”
5.	 I. Allegro vivace (9:18)
6.	 II. Andante cantabile (9:07)
7.	 III. Menuetto (Allegretto) & Trio (4:46)
8.	 IV. Molto allegro (6:46)

Philharmonia Orchestra
Otto Klemperer – conductor

Recorded: March 1962 at Kingsway Hall, London
Originally released 1963


The name of Klemperer remains linked to that of Beethoven. The image persists of a style too heavy and massive to be ideal in Mozart. Yet, as Richard Osborne’s informative notes to this set point out, Mozart punctuated Klemperer’s career from almost the beginning to the very end. Klemperer had first conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1951. On the programme was a performance of Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony that, as Richard Osborne tells us, “largely dispelled” Walter Legge’s residual doubts over the wisdom of backing Klemperer as a major EMI artist for the coming years. Negotiations were concluded in 1952 and October-November 1954 saw the first Klemperer/Philharmonia/Legge collaboration - the “Jupiter” and Mozart’s 29th Symphony. Klemperer had mightily impressed Legge with a performance of this latter in Milan earlier the same year. The “Jupiter” is a pretty forceful affair. The first movement is proudly, even brusquely pulsating, the second is definitely in 3 not 6. In other hands it might have seemed too fast, but Klemperer’s beautifully shaped phrasing lends it a grave serenity. The Minuet is strong and vital, the Finale so fast as to risk sounding uncomfortable, especially since Klemperer pushes on inexorably. I must say I’d have preferred a little more breathing space. Interestingly Klemperer, having omitted the first movement repeat, gives the first repeat in the Finale. Presumably the aim is to make it the longest movement of the four.

Klemperer’s 40th was always more controversial. It came out on LP coupled with the earlier G minor, no. 25; Klemperer clearly wished the two works to appear complementary. This they certainly do. If 25 was all fire and drama, the submissive poignancy with which the first movement of no. 40 steals in relates the work to the Requiem. None of the drive and drama of Toscanini or Furtwängler here. On the other hand, the sinking tonality at the beginning of the development has rarely been so moving. The Andante is spacious but the actual sound is lean, the climaxes uncompromisingly spare. The Minuet has a sort of gruff grace while the Finale begins so slowly one almost gasps. With brilliant string articulation, though, this tempo soon begins to sound the fastest one possible. The second subject fits this tempo beautifully. One is left reflecting that conductors who take a faster tempo either put on the brakes here or barge through unfeelingly. On its own terms this is a remarkable performance, one with a power to leave you wondering if its own terms might be Mozart’s as well.

In 1962 Klemperer returned to Mozart in a big way, replacing earlier mono or rudimentary stereo recordings of the “Prague” and the last three symphonies.

So is most of no.40. Oddly enough the second movement has an identical timing, yet it sounds slower and heavier nonetheless. Readers who have noticed that the overall times of these two symphonies are actually shorter than before should be told that first movement repeats, present in the earlier recordings, are here dropped.

When I saw that the first movement of the “Jupiter” had increased from 8.01 to 9.17 I supposed it had gained its repeat - missing before. But no, it’s just an almighty lot slower. Frankly, it plods nor do the orchestra seem convinced, with several spurts into what must have seemed to them a more natural tempo, clawed back by the wet blanket on the rostrum. The rest is better and the finale rather grand, but none of it’s really as fine as before. --- Christopher Howell, musicweb-international.com

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