Day 47: Symphony No. 7 in E Major (Klemperer)

This morning, I am listening to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major (WAB 107), interpreted by German-born conductor and composer Otto Klemperer (1885-1973).

Prior to this Bruckner project, I had never heard of Otto Klemperer – although I had heard of his son, actor Werner Klemperer, most famous for his portrayal of Col. Klink, Kommandant of Stalag 13 in the 1960s TV series Hogan’s Heroes.

The first time I heard Otto Klemperer was on Day 23, Symphony No. 4.

Then again on Day 31, Symphony No. 5.

Then again on Day 39, Symphony No. 6.

On at least the first two of those days, I posted background information on Klemperer and his orchestra. I shan’t do that again today. If you want to know more about the famed German Maestro, let your mouse do the clicking over to one or both of those days.

Here are the objective aspects of today’s recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major (WAB 107), composed 1881-1883
Otto Klemperer conducts
Klemperer used the “1885 version, ed. Nowak,” according to the liner notes
Philharmonia Orchestra plays
The symphony clocks in at 65:11
This was recorded in London, England, on November 1-5, 1960
Klemperer was 75 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 59 when he finished composing it
This recording was released on the Warner Classics label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four movements. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 7 in E Major), from this particular conductor (Klemperer) and this particular orchestra (Philharmonia Orchestra) is as follows:

I. Allegro moderato………………………………………………………………………………..19:55
II. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam…………………………………………..21:51
III. Scherzo. Sehr schnell………………………………………………………………………..09:42
IV. Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell……………………………………………………13:42

Total Time: 65:11

Okay. Now, here are the subjective aspects of today’s recording:

My Rating:
Recording quality: 5
Overall musicianship: 5
CD liner notes: 2 (typically thin Warner Classics fare – very short essays about Klemper and Bruckner)
How does this make me feel: 5

If you read the background information I previously posted about Klemperer (or if you take a look at the year he was born above), you know that he was alive when Bruckner was alive. I find that fascinating, for some reason. For awhile, Klemperer breathed the same air Bruckner did.

As I found the previous Klemperer recordings, this performance is also a joy for my ears to behold.

The recording does not sound 57 years old. It sounds rich, vibrant, clear, and – for want of a better word – new. I don’t know how Warner Classics did it. Or if it already sounded this good when they acquired it (from EMI?). Whatever the reason, this is an exceptional recording.

As for this recording, every moment has something of value for me, from the first movement onward.

Even the Adagio was sublime.

And the Scherzo? Marvelous. One of my favorites from Bruckner, especially in the hands of Otto Klemperer.

“Huzzah!”

Otto is still batting 1.000.

Highly recommended.

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