Barenboim's Beethoven's 5 Piano Concertos with Klemperer

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Lance
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Barenboim's Beethoven's 5 Piano Concertos with Klemperer

Post by Lance » Tue May 08, 2018 4:33 pm

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Warner Classics 60760, 3 CDs

Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1 thru 5
Beethoven Choral Fantasia
New Philharmonic Orchestra
Otto Klemperer, conductor
(Stereo recordings 1967-1968)

Well, I've known about these recordings for years, since they were first introduced. And I finally decided to get the set [very reasonably priced] to add to the many complete and individual recordings of these concertos that I have. Why? I was interested to hear Barenboim's own cadenza in the First Piano Concerto. While I certainly admire Barenboim as both a conductor and pianist, he was never at the very top of the list with regard to his work with the piano. While I have some 135 titles (well over 175 actual CDS) with him as either a pianist or conductor on all the labels with whom he has recorded. I never acquired his complete Beethoven piano sonatas or these Klemperer-conducted concertos. I did get his EMI's of Mozart's piano sonatas and the solo piano concertos.

So, at the time these concertos were recorded Barenboim was 25/26 years of age. Today, he is nearing 76, so we are looking at a half century ago. I wonder, today, how he feels about his earliest recordings of this vintage. I haven't had an opportunity to hear this set as yet, but wondering how it compares to recordings CMGers have, or even have this one. Love to hear your comments.
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david johnson
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Re: Barenboim's Beethoven's 5 Piano Concertos with Klemperer

Post by david johnson » Wed May 09, 2018 3:50 am

I have his set and the one by Backhaus/Schmidt-Isserstedt. I got the Barenboim because they came with the Klemperer/Beethoven symphony box. I enjoy it, but I do not listen to it often.

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Re: Barenboim's Beethoven's 5 Piano Concertos with Klemperer

Post by RebLem » Wed May 09, 2018 9:12 am

I have never been a big fan of Barenboim as a pianist or conductor. But I have become a little more interested in him in recent years due to his human rights activism. I have had the Bareboim Klemperer set of the concerti & the choral fantasy for quite a few years. I have always felt a tension between the two, who seemed to me to have fundamentally different views about how these works should go. Klemperer, as was often his wont, was in favor of slow, methodical and granitically unified performances concerned first and foremost with the structure of the works; Barenboim more interested in flexibility of expression and letting nothing stand in the way of felicitous phrasing and finding beauty in detail rather than overall design.
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Re: Barenboim's Beethoven's 5 Piano Concertos with Klemperer

Post by maestrob » Wed May 09, 2018 10:43 am

The youthful Barenboim was quite a prodigy, IMHO, and his early recordings for EMI can be quite good, especially his Mozart. The Beethoven Trios he recorded are outstanding, yet his Beethoven Sonatas, while listenable, lack the depth of a mature artist, which is probably why he recorded them again for DGG. At any rate, when he moved to Chicago, I lost interest, mainly because of his erratic Bruckner, where something always seemed to go wrong. I admire his human rights activity, in spite of complaints from the Carnegie Hall staff that I knew that he was overbearing and fussy in rehearsal about stage arrangements, overstaying his rehearsal time, etc. My ears perked up again, however, when he began recording with his Staadtskapelle Berlin, an excellent orchestra: Barenboim drilled them within an inch of their lives and issued an extraordinary DVD set of Bruckner's "Mature Symphonies" and both of Elgar's on CD: imagine teaching a German orchestra to play Elgar so successfully! Barenboim, I think, is now in his prime and even a skilled opera conductor, as his DVD of Massenet's Manon with Netrebko (where he had to step in at short notice) testifies.

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Re: Barenboim's Beethoven's 5 Piano Concertos with Klemperer

Post by barney » Wed May 09, 2018 8:42 pm

RebLem wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 9:12 am
I have never been a big fan of Barenboim as a pianist or conductor. But I have become a little more interested in him in recent years due to his human rights activism. I have had the Bareboim Klemperer set of the concerti & the choral fantasy for quite a few years. I have always felt a tension between the two, who seemed to me to have fundamentally different views about how these works should go. Klemperer, as was often his wont, was in favor of slow, methodical and granitically unified performances concerned first and foremost with the structure of the works; Barenboim more interested in flexibility of expression and letting nothing stand in the way of felicitous phrasing and finding beauty in detail rather than overall design.
I think this puts it very well. That set was one the first I got of the Beethoven concerti, but I can't remember the last time I revisited it. My loss, of course, but there are so many excellent versions.

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