Author Topic: Klemperer M4  (Read 519 times)

Offline Thomas

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Klemperer M4
« on: June 02, 2018, 04:25:29 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm sure you've discussed this before, but since I'm new here I thought I'd start a new topic.. I recently bought Warner's set of Klemperer's complete Mahler recordings. I was familiar with all of them, except number 4. I think Klemperer's Mahler was variable (9 and Das Lied are great, 7 is a train wreck..), but it turns out his M4 is really great. Mrs. Legge is a liability in the finale, but I especially like the slow tempo in the first movement and the relatively quick tempo in the adagio. Anyway, I'd love to hear some opinions on Klemperer's M4.

Offline waderice

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2018, 05:13:25 AM »
I tend to agree with most of what you say, though I think M7 is not quite a "train wreck".  Yes, the tempi are agonizingly slow, but the only benefit of that is at a slower tempo, the faster value notes of some of the inner orchestral detail is heard, which at faster tempi in other recordings, isn't as readily heard or taken in.

And yes, Schwarzkopf as the soprano soloist in the finale of M4 "isn't right".  She's basically in the same camp as Lisa Della Casa in Reiner's M4.  Both singers are Strauss singers, which isn't right for Mahler.  The four best soprano soloists I've heard in M4 finale are Judith Blegen in Szell's Cleveland, Desi Halban in Walter's NYPO, Reri Grist in Bernstein's Sony NYPO, and Kathleen Battle in Maazel's VPO.  This music requires a very light voice, which all four women fulfill wonderfully.

Wade
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 04:31:41 AM by waderice »

Offline Thomas

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2018, 05:53:01 AM »
Perhaps 'train wreck' is a bit of a hyperbole.. I actually like a slow M7 (Maazel with both the Vienna phil. and the Philharmonia, even Sinopoli with the same orchestra), but there's slow and there's Klemperer-slow ;)
Anyway, nice to hear that you share my admiration for Klemperer's M4.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2018, 07:26:54 PM »
Thomas, I'm more in your camp. I know what Wade is saying is true, but I just CAN'T listen to the Klemp' M7. I've tried and tried. I almost can't be in the same room with it.

I haven't listened to Klemp's M4 in a very long time, so I can't comment at this time. I was never crazy about it, partly because of Schwarzkopf (as you mentioned). The Mahler 2 is excellent, especially the Bavarian Radio S.O. one with Janet Baker. His "DLvdE" is among the best ever recorded. It's a pity that Klemp' didn't like M6, because I think he could have done it really well in his earlier, faster years.

Offline Thomas

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 12:14:10 AM »
Oh yes, a M6 from a younger Klemperer would have been something else!

By the way, I also like Klemperer's DLvdE, mostly for the soloists, but I never quite understood its iconic status. I infinitely prefer Haitink's Concertgebouw recording with Baker and King (but that's just a matter of taste, and a different topic altogether..)

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 12:29:12 PM »
I like them both - AND many others.   :)

Offline AZContrabassoon

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 05:16:37 PM »
The 7th isn't a total wreck: the three inner movements are handled quite well, tempos just fine, orchestral playing excellent. The first movement is quite slow, and it really shows in the coda. The finale - there's the disaster. From the opening timpani fanfare you know this is just not going to be fun. But it is Klemperer. In his younger days he may have been a dynamo, but his EMI work - the Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler - is just too much for me. While he was recording those, the much younger Karajan was laying down spectacularly exciting Brahms and Beethoven much more to my liking. Sad, though, that HvK didn't take up Mahler earlier. At least we got superb 6 and 9.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2018, 10:56:37 AM »
The four best soprano soloists I've heard in M4 finale are Judith Blegen in Szell's Cleveland, Desi Halban in Walter's NYPO, Reri Grist in Bernstein's Sony NYPO, and Kathleen Battle in Maazel's VPO.  This music requires a very light voice, which all four women fulfill wonderfully.

I would like to add Helen Donath on Inbal's 1985 Frankfurt recording, who often seems to be overlooked. On listening to the different versions a few years ago, she came out top for me – I think she has just the right kind of child-like innocence and genuinely sounds like she's enjoying herself (and heaven’s pleasures) :)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 02:14:23 PM by Matthew »

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2018, 10:45:04 PM »
That whole Inbal cycle was/is really good. The 4th was truly one its highlights.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 08:29:11 AM »
That whole Inbal cycle was/is really good. The 4th was truly one its highlights.

Agreed :) I enjoyed the Denon ads for Inbal's cycle on the back cover of Gramophone during the late 80s, when I was getting into Mahler -- it was a bumper time for new symphony cycles...

(I wanted to paste an image -- is there an easy way to upload images/photos?)

Offline AZContrabassoon

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2018, 06:50:15 PM »
Plus, at the time the Inbal cycle was absolutely state-of-the-art recording. Denon made some terrific recordings, at least sonically. The Mahler cycle was hyped that way. Now, it still sounds fine, but as recording technology improved, there are some better sounding sets. For this year's Mahler Festival I have already selected to go back to Inbal, Kubelik, and Bertini.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Klemperer M4
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2018, 05:00:31 AM »
Finally worked out how to post this image...