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Sym 3/Leonore Ovts 1/2 (Mono)


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000063UNF
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #292,983 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 'Eroica': I: Allegro Con Brio
2. Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 'Eroica': II: Marcia Funebre (Adagio Assai)
3. Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 'Eroica': III: Scherzo (Allegro Vivace) & Trio
4. Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 'Eroica': IV: Finale (Allegro Molto/Poco Andante/Presto)
5. Overtures: 'Leonore' No.1, Op.138: 'Leonore' No.1, Op.138
6. Overtures: 'Leonore' No.2, Op.72: 'Leonore' No.2, Op.72

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
Don't let the fact that this is a vintage mono recording from the 1950's scare you away from hearing it, because it's one of the most intelligent, dramatically well-tempered, profound and engaging performances of any work you're ever likely going to hear, and, though it is in mono, has great sound to boot. Anyone who loves classical music should be able to hear that this is the product of a genius conductor, one of the greatest who ever lived. It is also obviously the product of a total vision -- that is, of a conductor who, from the opening staccato chords, is already cognizant of the final major triad of the finale, along with all the music in between; who already knows how he's going to traverse the musical landscape; who has an orchestra that's great enough to follow him every step of the way; and who, finally, isn't so jadedly familiar with the terrain that he's closed himself off to fresh discoveries. Please pardon the extended metaphor, but Klemperer's Eroica really is quite an amazing journey!
Simply put, this humble mono recording from a different era is worth a boatload of later-recorded Eroicas.
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By A Customer on April 18 2003
Format: Audio CD
This Eroica is a stunner. It hardly sounds like a mono recording, so good is the recording. It is a much better interpretation than the stereo which is slower. Here Klemperer is in his element. Tempi are well-judged and flows smoothly. You are magnetized from first to last and the performance never sags. Great recording indeed. This Eroica is on Grammophone's top 100 Classical List and I can say it deserves its reputation. The reviewer below must be extremely sensitive to sonics. I listen to a lot of both mono and stereo recordings because a lot of the mono are classics (unfortunately). I can say that this mono sound is the best mono you can possibly get. In fact, if you are listening on speakers (NOT WALKMAN HEADPHONES), you probably can't tell that it's mono - just a hint. If you listen on headphones it's more obvious but the mono is still far better than normal mono.
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Format: Audio CD
This mono performance, recorded in 1955, is not the same one which was released in the Klemperer legacy series (that was a stereo performance, recorded in 1959), but it is far better as an interpretation. The first movement is magnificent and it sounds as though it was recorded in a complete take. The funeral march is a little too fast, and the principal oboe does not sound sad at all, but apart from that I am sure everything is as Beethoven would have wanted it. This is a very well known recording and it deserves special attention. It is a pity that Klemperer slowed down by the time the stereo performance was made, for he ruins the first movement, and therefore the whole symphony, by his plodding tempo. Yet amazingly the stereo recording gets all the acclaim. Avoid it and buy this mono performance.
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By Kakistocracy on Oct. 6 2002
Format: Audio CD
When I purchased this disc of Klemperer's 1955 mono performance of Symphony No. 3, I also possessed the EMI "Klemperer legacy" 1998 re-release of the 1959 stereo recording.
To me, this earlier recording is disappointing. The sound is boxy and claustrophobic--quite unlike the "legacy" remastering, which is much more forward and dynamic, revealing many hitherto obscured instrumental details. While the tempi and flow of the earlier performance make it more cohesive, much of the granitic power often cited as the hallmark of Klemperer's Beethoven is sacrificed. If you can still obtain the "legacy" release, you might want to pass on this one or consider obtaining both performances.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
One of the truly great Eroicas Oct. 9 2002
By Robert Higgs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This mono performance, recorded in 1955, is not the same one which was released in the Klemperer legacy series (that was a stereo performance, recorded in 1959), but it is far better as an interpretation. The first movement is magnificent and it sounds as though it was recorded in a complete take. The funeral march is a little too fast, and the principal oboe does not sound sad at all, but apart from that I am sure everything is as Beethoven would have wanted it. This is a very well known recording and it deserves special attention. It is a pity that Klemperer slowed down by the time the stereo performance was made, for he ruins the first movement, and therefore the whole symphony, by his plodding tempo. Yet amazingly the stereo recording gets all the acclaim. Avoid it and buy this mono performance.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Stunner April 18 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This Eroica is a stunner. It hardly sounds like a mono recording, so good is the recording. It is a much better interpretation than the stereo which is slower. Here Klemperer is in his element. Tempi are well-judged and flows smoothly. You are magnetized from first to last and the performance never sags. Great recording indeed. This Eroica is on Grammophone's top 100 Classical List and I can say it deserves its reputation. The reviewer below must be extremely sensitive to sonics. I listen to a lot of both mono and stereo recordings because a lot of the mono are classics (unfortunately). I can say that this mono sound is the best mono you can possibly get. In fact, if you are listening on speakers (NOT WALKMAN HEADPHONES), you probably can't tell that it's mono - just a hint. If you listen on headphones it's more obvious but the mono is still far better than normal mono.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Recording of the Century? Hardly. Klemperer's better one? Not even Nov. 20 2010
By Discophage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
So, apparently, there is this brewing controversy about which is the better recording of the Eroica by Klemperer, between this mono recording of 1955 and his better known stereo remake from 1959 (Symphony 3 or The Klemperer Legacy: Beethoven Symphony No.3 ("Eroica"); Grosse Fuge). Let me enter the fray, then; my title states clearly whose side I am championing.

The pro-1955 have given here the reasons of their preference, I'll develop the reasons to prefer the 1959 remake. Sorry for the seemingly dry stats, they are just to give an objective basis to subjective impressions.

First, at least in the first and third movements, the basic conception of both versions is remarkably the same. It is almost to the second in the scherzo; the first movement in 1955 is overall swifter by some 45 seconds, but still, the opening pulse is almost the same: in 1959 Klemperer crosses the repeat bar at 3:34, against 3:28 in 1955 - not a dramatic difference, then.

What both versions have in that first movement is a very characteristic sway, a gently rocking beat that is established by the deliberate pace and remains under the music's explosions. But that Klemperer in 1955, while establishing the same basic pulse, should finish ahead of Klemperer in 1959, points to the fact that there is indeed an added bite and urgency in 1955, perceptible from the begining but even more pronounced as the movement unfolds; Klemperer in 1959 remains remarkably stable and deliberate in his beat. Klemperer's accents in 1955 are also slightly more biting and explosive; they are heavier in 1959, but also sometimes more powerful. Still, these differences aren't enough to make up for the deficiencies of the 1955 sonics: the mono recording is distant and unidimensional, robbing the music of much of its power and impact. The kind of massive and powerful approach that Klemperer sets forth needs the spacious and vivid stereo sound that he gets in 1959 to convey its full impact; in 1955 it is more a case of having to imagine that impact, rather than actually feeling and experiencing it. The 1959 stereo also lets you fully enjoy the antiphonal placement and dialogues of first and second violins. In the scherzo (which, I find, at its easy-going trot, lacks in both cases the kind of bubbling energy conveyed by the brisker approach of Toscanini and the likes, although, heard "on its own" rather than comparatively, it makes its effect), thanks again in part to the vivid sonics, there is much more instrumental character, in particular with the horns in the central trio: 1955 is like a black and white photocopy.

The interpretive differences are more pronounced in the two other movements. The finale is slighly but perceptibly more urgent in 1955 (in 1959 Klemperer's stateliness here oversteps the limit that turns it into plodding). All things are relative, of course: the urgency of the 1955 finale still doesn't make it a very urgent finale. But it is really in the Marcia Funèbre that the two versions stand out markedly. In 1959 Klemperer is slow, funeral indeed, more a lament on the plights of mankind than a true march, or if a march one with a huge cross on the shoulders: 16:47 of trudging to the Golgotha. This is the kind of approach already illustrated by Furwängler (17:16 in 1952 with the Vienna Philharmonic, Symphonies 1 & 3), and later (in 1963) by Karajan (17:02, Symphonies 1 & 3). In 1955 Klemperer is considerably swifter: 14:36; Klemperer fans may be surprised to know that this is faster than Toscanini (who, contrary to his reputation, is far from fast in the Funeral march; I have his 1949 recording, Symphony 1 & 3). In fact, and by way of paradox for the "slow" Klemperer, this swiftness places him into the opposite extreme: Toscanini, Munch, Walter, Bernstein, Szell are all between 15 and 15:30 and lump into a "mainstream". At 13:18 Scherchen is the speedy rabbit (and the closest to Beethoven's jaw-dropping metronome mark, Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6) but, among the versions from the 1950s and 1960s, I've heard only Leibowitz who takes it, like Klemperer, under 15 (Symphonies No. 1 & 3).

Preference for either of Klemperer's Marcia Funebre is a matter of taste, of course. But far all the vehemence that the greater urgency allows for, my point here is: what is the point of a "swift" Klemperer? For "swift" we have Scherchen and Leibowitz and Toscanini, that was their trademark (to say nothing of the Historically-informed performers of today). What makes Klemperer, and Klemperer's Beethoven, so unique among a zillion others, is that he is slow, deliberate, massive and ponderous. Indeed, his 1959 Marcia has a unique eloquence. Add to that that, again, the great 1959 sonics lend it an instrumental character that the 1955 version can't even start to emulate. Just try at 9:11, when the horn erupts: it is grandiose. 1955 by comparison is anonymous here.

There are many excellent to outstanding versions of the Eroica, and, from Furtwängler to Scherchen, many and widely differentiated options to choose from. What makes Klemperer unique is that very deliberation and massiveness that some amateurs seem to take exception with. For all its additional bite and urgency, and partly because of its indifferent sonics, I find the 1955 version ultimately rather anonymous. The unique character, the "authentic" Klemperer is in 1959.

But, to cap it all, let me put everybody in agreement, the advocates of 1955 and the champions of 1959: in our enchanted kingdom of music, the best of both worlds exists. It is called "Barbirolli". Barbirolli recorded the Eroica in 1967 for HMV and it's been reissued by Dutton (Symphony 3 / Elizabethean Suite). Now THAT is truly one of the great recordings of the past century. It has the deliberation and massiveness of both Klemperers. It has fine stereo sonics, maybe not as outstanding as Klemp' 59, but that's something you will hear only on close comparison. It has none of the stodginess of Klemp' 59 and all the bite and muscle of Klemp' 55. It has the brisk and ebullient scherzo of Toscanini. Last but not least, it has the slowest Marcia Funebre I've ever encountered - 18:10 - and the effect is extraordinary: Atlas bearing the burdens of mankind on his shoulders. This is the version of "the Eroica by Klemperer" that the amateurs of Klemperer need to have in their collection.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Magisterial Klemperer Jan. 26 2009
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I disagree profoundly with those who call this performance turgid or plodding; there is a momentum and grandeur in Klemperer's interpretation which carries the listener on an inexorable wave of sound. Direct comparison between Klemperer and, say, Harnoncourt, reveal, for all the latter's lightness of touch, that it is not so much a question of tempi which separates them as that of phrasing and emphases. (However, I must here observe that as Harnoncourt gets through the first movement with the repeat in the same time it takes Klemperer to do so without, either Harnoncourt is insanely fast or Klemperer really is taking his time - but, for me, both performances work supremely well and simply point to the latitude a great conductor has in interpreting Beethoven - especially given the unreliability of the composer's metronome markings.) Klemperer certainly avoids the worst excesses of his later mannerisms by keeping everything moving despite the solidity of the punched-out accents. Both the outer movements build to electrifying climaxes.

I consider this to be great recording in that it succeeds triumphantly in convincing us that this is one very convincing way of performing the "Eroica" - but obviously not the only way. It is, if you like, an essential supplement (if that's not an oxymoron) to a fleeter, sharper, more "classical" approach such as Harnoncourt's - and in certain moods, I feel it's my preferred way.

I am not so thrilled by the two "Leonora" overtures; they are enjoyable, if less finely detailed accounts - but you buy this disc primarily for the inimitable Third. My four stars are a recognition of the fact that the sound is clean, slightly boxy mono, with a little distortion at the loudest points.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Playing With Little "Pop!" June 20 2009
By Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
My favorite performances of Beethoven's third are Szell's well-known Cleveland cut and Rudolf Kempe's sterling Testament (live 1974 with the Royal Philharmonic -- get it if you have never heard it. You are in for a very great hour!) recording. The second movements from these two are cut in stone with some of the damndest playing and direction I have ever heard. They are so teriffic in the second movement, I have difficulty describing the precision, definition, and passion with which they play. And are they ever great on the rest of it. I do not have room here to praise them enough. (How I regret losing Rudolf Kempe in his 60's! What a loss! What a very great conductor he was!) They have excellent overall schemes, great direction, and stupendous orchestral playing. I can't count how many times I have listened to the third, and there are not a lot of winners on great performances. However, there are a lot of very good performances. Now to Klemperer.

K's 3rd is very good, but it does not have a lot of pop. Not a lot of plain ole "ummph!" Not like Szell's or Kempe's. (And I remember an old Solti VPO LP performance I liked many years ago, but do not know if it is in existence today.) But K's scheme is very good, the playing is great, and Klemp --like Solti on many performances -- often wins on points because of his discipline and magisterial approach. He has a convinced orchestra and probably liked this performance himself. The sound is good enough to not be a minus factor.

This one is good enough to be in your library if not first on your picks. It is very good. How high it ranks will be your choice, but believe me, it does rank. It is very good.

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