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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 Original recording remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, September 17, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

BRAND NEW, FACTORY SEALED. SHIPS FAST. THERE IS A TINY CUT ON THE SPINE OF THE CASE, OTHERWISE THIS IS FLAWLESS.
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Otto Klemperer
  • Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (September 17, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00006I0CY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,335 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Brad Richman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
First let me start by saying Otto Klemperer is one of my favorite conductors, and his recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra have always stood out in a crowd. After having purchased Otto Klemperer's EMI Beethoven Symphony Cycle first as individual discs in the Klemperer Legacy series, and then as the currently available Box Set (in order to get his Piano Concerto Cycle with Daniel Barenboim), I was a bit annoyed at having to pick up this disc just to get his mono recording of the 5th Symphony from 1955. You see, the recording of the 7th Symphony on this disc is the great performance from 1955, which they discovered stereo reels for a few years back, but it has already been featured in the earlier Klemperer Legacy reissues and the current Box Set of the Symphony Cycle. (A CD of the performances of these same 5th and 7th Symphonies both in their mono incarnations was available in the early 90s, but that was before my classical collecting days.) Klemperer did record notoriously slow versions of the 7th in 1960 and 1968, but EMI chose not to reissue one of those unreleased performances here, most likely because they'd get sued for false advertising for calling it a "Great Recording of the Century." So if you are looking for a great coupling of the Beethoven's 5th and 7th, you may have come to the right place, though remember the 5th is in mono. If you're like me and can't get enough Klemperer, and were hoping this was a disc of rare treasure troves from the EMI vaults, you'll only get half of what you came for.
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Format: Audio CD
I have Klemperer's Complete Beethoven Symphony boxed set on LP (all in stereo) and was pleased to learn that the performances on this disc are different than those in my LP boxed set. The 5th is in mono and the 7th is early stereo, both from 1955. The LP boxed set features recordings from late 1950s to 1960 and was one of the first complete Beethoven Symphonies stereo boxed sets.

I was pleasantly surprised at the great for mono sound of the 5th. It is about 4 minutes shorter in duration than the 1960 stereo recording in my boxed set. The 7th in stereo sounds just peachy. Some have commented that the 7th is too slow by today's standards. I would class it as moderate, in between slow and fast. It is roughly 3 minutes faster than the 1960 recording in my LP boxed set. As with his 9th, it is not a sprint, but neither does it feel like it drags. The performance is not over the top. It is instead measured and majestic. Anyway, you can find any number of currently available speed racer Beethoven symphony performances. This 7th is a nice change of pace.

I enjoyed both of these performances. With the Fifth, it made wish all the 50s mono sounded at least that good. With the Seventh, it made me wish all the 50s mono had been recorded in stereo.

Beethoven's 5th symphony, 4th movement is one of my all time favorites along with Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony, 4th movement. This rendition by Klemperer will rock your house!!! This movement is an "I dare you to even try to top this!!" candidate if there ever was one. If you are ever feeling the blues, by all means que this music up. WOW!! Even though in mono, the sound seems to get better and by the 4th movement sounds very good. For Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony, 4th movement, Karajan's mid 70s Berlin Phil recording cannot be beat and is available as an inexpensive 2 fer CD package along with symphonies 4 and 6. I cannot think of any two better bookends for beating the blues musically than these two movements.
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Format: Audio CD
I love Klemperer's professionalism. Like Solti, he is good and wins on points even when he does not gel with the composer. He does that because of his discipline and magesterial approach. I would be the last to say Klemp does not gel with Beethoven; however, others beat him on pop. His performance of the 5th is too routine to suit me. Not when Beethoven's music unwind is in itself more emotional than the performance. How can one conduct Beethoven without emotion? This performance cannot compete with such hallmark performances as Giulini's with the LAPO and Solti's with the CSO. K's reminds me of Szell's less-than-best performance of the 5th with Cleveland. What a pathetic performance for a great conductor. Thankfully, K's is better than Szell's. In fact, it is good, but it aint great. By itself it should not be in the "great performances" category. That's tough for me to say when I greatly admire Klemperer for so many other performances.

The Seventh is a lot better. At medium tempos, it is almost as good as Bernstein's NYPO (and his last 7th with the Boston Symphony) or Giulini's 7th with the CSO. It is good, but it ain't that good, and certainly does not compete for excitement with Kleiber's or Karajan's up tempo performances. But it is good, and it certainly deserves respect. It is a cool performance of a hot symphony, but it is good, and I give it a lot of begrudged respect. Disciplined. Even lyrical. Even powerful. But not exciting. Not deserving of the "Great Recording" level.

If you love this guy, get it. Otherwise, there are a lot of other performances you may want to try. There are many good ones out there. This is a good one.
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