Sunday, March 2, 2014

EMI ASD 343: Another Kletzki Treasure

Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien, Andante Cantabile
Glinka: Jota Aragonesa
Rimsky-Korsakov: "Tsar Sultan" Suite

Paul Kletzki, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra

Pressing:  ED1 (white/gold)

Condition: NM


YAX 227-3
YAX 228-4

Date first published: 1959

Performance: 10/10

Sound: 9/10

Price range: $25-326, mean $134 on popsike

Comments:  This is another rare and outstanding release from one of the "4 K's" of EMI, blessed with the combination of a delightful program and glowing tube sound.  Listening to this album this morning for the first time in months -- and the first time on my current audio setup -- I was impressed by a number of different facets.  To begin with, surface noise was quite minimal, allowing subtleties of the music to really surface.  Secondly, the musical program varies greatly in terms of dynamic contrast, and the recording very nicely captures everything from the softest passages of the Andante Cantabile to the more energetic orchestral tuttis of the Capriccio Italien and Tsar Sultan Suite without any hint of distortion.  Overall, there is a warm and pleasing tube sound to the recording that adds a certain sonic magic.  As I have found on many of these early, valve EMI recordings, bass extension is quite decent.  This is not one that pops up frequently on Ebay, but if you can land a copy and are willing to dish out some dough, you won't be disappointed.  Most of the album was reissued on CD with EMI's Artist Profile series back in the 1990s, and this can be found used for relatively cheap.  It would be really nice to see Warner (which took over EMI last year) release all of Paul Kletzki's EMI recordings in a comprehensive Icons boxed set.



  1. The Tsar Sultan is on Concert Classic SXLP30076 along with other Rimsky-Korsakov works from a later album (I believe AQL has reviewed.) Jota Aragonesa is on Classics for Pleasure CFP 40242. It and Peirino Gamba's Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol fill out a fine side 2. Compared to side 2, the sonics of side 1 of the CFP are not nearly as good for George Weldon's Tchaikovsky (including Capriccio Italien.) Kletzki's Capriccio Italien is with his rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scherazade on CFP 40341.

    1. To be clear the Jota on CFP 40242 above is excellent sounding. I'd like to have CFP 40341 to pick up another piece from the album. I just saw the original go for $475 on ebay with 18 bids. This is a really expensive ASD and this review won't help! I really liked the sound of the Jota on the CFP. I've yet to hear sound from a gold and cream original pressing that is awesome. They can be very nice, but lack a bit of bass drive compared to the amazing later pressings. The CFP will win on sound floor also. These pieces of music might do really well on the gold and cream since the small weaknesses may not hinder this music. It might be the record to have given that the semi and postage stamp never came out. The later pressings will be better in many areas and our well worth acquiring at budget prices. With AQL's nod prices may climb to 4 digits before we know it.

    2. Funny searching the internet and you come back to your own post. I scored REGAL SREG 2066 Schubert Unfinished, Kletzki, RPO a month ago. Side 2 of this Regal has the two Tchaikovsky pieces from the LP under review.

  2. This is another one I have and is easily my favourite early ASD recording. HMV got most things right with the recording and the Philharmonia were obviously in fine fettle.