Sunday, September 1, 2013
It's Krips Week!
This week we will be exploring some of the early stereo releases of the Austrian conductor, Josef Krips (1902-1974). Born in Vienna, Krips studied at Vienna University and the Vienna Academy of Music. He began as a violinist but transitioned to conducting in his early 20s when he directed orchestras in Dortmund (1924-25) and Karlsruhe (1926-33). In 1933, he took over as chief conductor of the Vienna State Opera and was appointed a professor at the Vienna Academy of Music. When Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, Krips, who was a practicing Catholic but whose father was Jewish, lost his post and was not allowed to work as a musician. He was forced to move to Yugoslavia where he worked for the remainder of the war in a factory. When the war was over, Krips returned to Austria, where was asked by the occupying Russians to re-establish the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. His career was reborn. From 1950 to 1954, Krips held the position as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. On disc, Krips is probably best known for his recordings on the London/Decca label during the 1950s (his Decca stereo recording of Don Giovanni in 1955 is legendary), but he also produced a complete set of Beethoven symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra for the Everest label (Decca had already Solti, Ansermet, and Schmidt-Isserstedt to record sets on its label), a set of the late Mozart symphonies with the Concertgebouw for Philips, and a number of concerto recordings with the Symphony of the Air and pianist Artur Rubinstein for RCA Victor. We're very happy to be able to review a few of these excellent recordings in their original vinyl format.