Remember the Klemperer Legacy series long time ago? The attractions of that series were mainly the appealing repertoire and price, including releases of Klemperer’s own compositions, as well as cheaper reissues of recordings (such as Mahler’s 9th symphony) previously issued in the form of Great Recordings of the Century sets that were never cheaper than $200 (regardless of what Presto Classical claims the selling price to be). During recent years, however, the Klemperer Legacy has become dormant, and discs of the series rarer than ever. Indeed, we at Top Ear have only seen one Legacy disc for real.
Now though, the series is back. Klemperer fans rejoice: EMI will be releasing 3 brand new Klemperer Legacy box sets late in October.
Klemperer was famous for his Bruckner, and his recordings of the 4th and 6th symphonies have long been regarded as classics. His unsentimental, terse, cut-to-the-chase approach to Bruckner (and indeed other composers) have resulted in surprisingly swift tempi, but never at the expensive of excitement and grandeur. This new box set of his Bruckner 4th to 9th–the first time these recordings have been compiled together–will definitely appeal to those interested in his way with the composer’s works.
The Beethoven box contains more than his oft-reissued Beethoven symphony cycle: it has 2 versions of the 3rd and 5th symphonies, and an amazing 3 versions of the 7th symphony. It also contains a selection of overtures, and a few tracks of the Creatures of Prometheus Overture. While the multiple versions may seem unnecessary for most, his Beethoven is almost a mandatory acquisition of anyone who cares about the composer, and this new release should satisfy those who haven’t acquired his set previously.
Lastly we come to the box of Romantic Symphonies and Overtures, and immediately we were dismayed to find NONE of his legendary Brahms included. Not even a shred. As if for compensation, the box includes, amongst other things, Schumann’s complete symphonies, Tchaikovsky’s 4th to 6th symphonies, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, 8 and 9. Some recordings featured here have been long out of print, and those long waiting for a lease in new life of, say, his Tchaikovsky 4th needn’t hesitate now.
So, three brand new Klemperer Legacy sets, and all three of which we at Top Ear don’t very much care for. However, we find the active status of this new series encouraging, and hope that the series will soon issue his Brahms, Mahler, and Wagner.