Monday, August 12, 2013

Columbia SAX 2318 Klemperer's Beethoven Revisited

SAX 2318

The Beethoven Symphonies Numbers 1 & 8

Otto Klemperer, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra

Pressing: ER2

Condition: EX

YAX 247-9
YAX 248-16

Performance: 8/10

Sound: 7/10

Price range: $24-192, mean $73 on popsike

Comments:  Beethoven's first and eighth make for an interesting pairing on records, and after a cursory search on Google, I was only able to find two other examples of this pairing.  One was with Josef Krips and the LSO, recorded for Everest Records, and the other was with Herbert von karajan and the BPO, recorded for film in the 1980s.  I think that the pairing works well and is a nice juxtaposition of Beethoven's first and next to last foray into this composition form.

As I may have mentioned previously, Klemperer's Beethoven cycle is and will probably always be considered to be a reference recording of these works.  Tempos, not surprisingly, are a little slower than one might be used to, but I didn't find this to be a problem and could still thoroughly enjoy the performances.  One thing that becomes apparent is Klemperer's signature clarity of textures, especially with the woodwinds.  In spite of my copy being a second pressing, the sound is very nice.  Again, this recording is in early stereo with a slightly narrower sound stage but warm, realistic tube sound, good dynamic range with clarity throughout.     


  1. Pretty sure I have STS London stereo treasury with this pairing which was originally a shaded dog (Karajan). Not enamored of either.

    I think this can be had for $60 NM lately and that is the only pressing I see unless you get the previously mentioned Klemperer box. If you are rating this a 4 for performance, perhaps I should pass on this one.

  2. Did Karajan record this for RCA? I have Karajan's Vienna Philharmonic Festival Soria boxed set which has Beethoven's 7th but not the 1st and 8th. I believe the Soria series were US issues of his Decca recordings with the VPO. I've not seen Karajan recordings of 1 and 8 from this era except for his mono cycle with the Philharmonia on EMI and then his BPO cycle for DG in the early 1960s.

  3. I lied. It was Monteux VPO, LSC 2491 and STS 15238. Found both of them in my sell pile.