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Sym 3/Leonore Ovts 1/2 (Mono)

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000063UNF
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #354,438 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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

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Top 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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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: HASH(0xa5619a08) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa55e9468) out of 5 stars 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.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa55e94bc) out of 5 stars 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
HASH(0xa55e9690) out of 5 stars 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.
HASH(0xa55e9cb4) out of 5 stars KLEMPERER'S POWERFUL EROICA, TIMELESS March 5 2014
By NUC MED TECH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
03-05-2014 This is THE Eroica of Otto Klemperer, the recording made in October and December of 1955 with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, this recording has been called monumental, epic, stupendous, and every other superlative in the book pretaining to size, length and/or effect. For me, it is simply a very good, tradtitional reading of the greatest Symphony of Beethoven. It is a better work than either the 5th, 7th or 9th symphonies, for that matter, because it clearly outlined and defined for all time, the very essence of a Symphony. This reading lasts for about 49 and a half minutes and the CD includes a pair of overtures from Fidelio, the Leonore #1 and #2. Klemperer's first movement is a flowing melodic tour de force of powerful and bold melodies cleanly stated and keenly developed by the composer. The pacing is smooth and actually rather soothing as this sweet music, despite it's vaulted reputation, is really lovely material, full of sunshine and hope. Beethoven, let us remember, was a real, flesh and blood man, with a passionate heart that was capable of loving a woman like any of us men could. We tend to place our heros too high and forget their true mortality, thinking them too lofty to be bothered by such petty thoughts such as human affection. Klemperer's funeral march is as eloquent as any I have ever heard and it's tempo is slow and dignified, as Beethoven wanted, and somewhere the recording in my living room this chilly March evening.
At the 6:57 point in the Funeral march, the alternate theme pierces the mood with a gentle searing effect, straining the emotions but not obstucting the steady, tribute laden mood of this grand movement. In his holding steady at this new though, Klemperer maintains the ceremonial grandeur of the funereal "Everyman," now the focus of the composer's rejection of his original disillusionment, Napolean. So much has been made of the Bonaparte story, and that's ok, but this is the great Symphony it is not due to that fact, but because of what it is, as a concept and a structure. Just try and imagine, sitting in that hall at the April 7, 1805 premiere and hearing those mammoth ideas for the first time, coming from nowhere, with the innocent 2nd Symphony as a precursor, giving not a hint of what was to follow.
Klemperewr's funeral march is the center of this performance, and although Szell creates more excitement with added propulsion, and Wand more sweep, this one has a private and deeply personal tone to it, and I prefer it above most others. I cannot stress enough the gorgeous phrasing and wonderful rich, smooth tempo of Klemperer in this reading, as it is literally lulling me to sleep, it is THAT soothing. Something we wouldn't think an Eroica recording capable of, but with this great Maestro, it is a reality. At this time, I am convinced that this 1955 EMI is worth whatever the price and, even if you already have several Eroicas" on your shelves, this one is a must to add.
The 3rd movement Scherzo is another grand conception of the master, perhaps the 2nd finest dance-movement in his entire catalog, behind the magnificent Huntley-Brinkley scherzo from the Symphony #9. Again, the tempo is broad and stately, something Klemperer was noted for, and it simply feels right. No need to make huge contrasting moves by the conductor, as Klemperer's geneus stems from the fact that he views this Symphony as a whole statement, of four slightly contrasting parts, but still as a unified whole. THAT is the key, and That is why this interpretation, despite it's age, and somewhat compromised sonics stands up for me and other listeners as a great reading. While there isn't necessarily ONE way to do this work, there are, nonetheless a few ways not to do it. It is NOT a work to be chopped up into individual pieces, but as an entire long essay. The theme, of the tribute to the memory of a great man, MUST be central to any reading to be taken serious, and this Klemperer is, if anything, exactly that. A GREAT total expression and played by the steady Philharmonia like their lives depended on it. I have several Eroicas, and here is a listing: Karajan's is dramatic and tense, Solti is brawny and muscular, Giulini's tender, eloquent and unbearably touching, Cluytnes tatsteful and masterfully appointed, Wand's is rugged and adventurous and Reiner's precise , rhythmic and finely crafted with Szell a classical approach of splendid control. I am still looking for more, as the truly GREAT Symphonies can be a source of almost endless collecting and variations. But, there is only ONE Klemperer, and even if you don't think this 3rd THE definitive recording of all-time, it surely must rank in your top-five or even top-three listing. It sits at or near my top level, and I am quite satisfied with that fact. I NEVER tire of hearing it----Oh, those lucky people of the 1960's that got to hear the great Otto Klemperer live, before his death in 1968. Happily, through the miracle of technology, as I have said so often, we have a permanent record of these great moments frozen for all-time. Simply a divine reading and as high a recommendation as I have ever given any work on these pages.
The two Leonaore Overtures that fill out this EMI disk, are the first from1807 and the 2nd , dating from 1805. Unfortunately EMI dropped the ball here by not including the 3rd Lenore with the other 2, so that we could hear, end-to-end the progression of thought that went into their creation and how they improved and changed. It would of only added a bit more time, but for some reason, they didn't do it. Too bad. Still, a grand CD and an informative and concise booklet, as usual. I invite you to buy this excellent recording and sit down on a relaxed afternoon or morning and really listen to it, VERY closely and with the concept of it's marvelous completeness at the front of your priorities. Then, you will understand this great masterpiece for what it is. God bless ytou all, in this holy Lenten season and happy listening all the year round. Best wishes, Tony.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa55e9c60) out of 5 stars 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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