Otto Klemperer, conductor
Pressing: ER2, ER2
Price range: $29-578 on popsike
Comments: I tend to describe Otto Klemperer's Beethoven symphony recordings as ... monumental. That is both in the sense that 1) they were and still are considered to be landmark recordings, 2) there can be characterized by a certain fortitude. Tempos can at times be a bit slower than I'd like, especially when compared to modern interpretations by the likes of Barenboim, Vanska, Mackerras, and Chailly, but that aside, Klemperer always had something to say in his Beethoven. I sometimes think that Klemperer, with his own life troubles, must've empathized with Beethoven, and perhaps it is that connection that is brought out in his Beethoven recordings. This recording of the Beethoven 9th came on two separate LPs, with essentially one movement to a side. In the fourth movement, we are joined by the Philharmonia Chorus and Aase Nordmo Lovberg (soprano), Christa Ludwig (mezzo-soprano), Waldemar Kmentt (tenor), and Hans Hotter (baritone). Recording quality is pretty good, though my system was not able to clearly resolve the loud choral passages. I wonder if things would be even better on a first pressing, but those are quite expensive (the second labels are cheaper but expect to spend at least $100 for the pair). EMI has reissued Klemperer's Beethoven cycle several times over the years, and to mark this year's Klemperer anniversary, they re-released his Beethoven symphonies and overtures in a nice boxed set which can be purchased for $30-40. That may be a suitable alternative -- and one which I opted for -- to trying to pick up all of his Beethoven symphonies on LP. Expect to pay at least $50 for a decent copy of a first pressing of each album. Second pressings can be had for less.