Columbia SAX 2408/9
Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Pressing: ER1 (2nd)
Date first published:
Price Range: $28-362, mean $182 on popsike
Comments: When you think about Bach, Otto Klemperer is generally not the first name that comes to mind. Nevertheless, do not let that bias deter you from considering this 2 LP set. If you're expecting these Brandenburgs to sound the way the Klemperer does Beethoven or Brahms, you're mistaken. These are not heavy-handed performances. They are also not the quickest, but what really is remarkable about these them is their clarity. I don't just mean clarity of sound, which is quite good on the LPs, but more so clarity of texture. Each melodic line, each countermelody, can be heard clearly in these concertos, and I think that that is the trademark that Klemperer left on these recordings. He admittedly takes his time with each concerto, but somehow, unless you've been listening to strictly modern HIP recordings and are used to brisk tempos, you don't seem to notice that much. You just enjoy the music.
Unfortunately, these SAX LPs don't run cheaply. I had to dish out some cash for these second pressings, though they were and still are in near mint condition. Those on a budget, though, will be pleased to know that these have all been remastered on digital and can be purchased in a EMI (now Warner) boxed set from last year with other works by Handel, Haydn, and Gluck.