January 10, 2010


(Otto Klemperer - 1935 - when giants roamed the podium. And yes, he was 6 foot 5")

Otto Klemperer went through a period of virtual obscurity in his lifetime from the War years until the early 1950s when his fortunes changed and concert halls overflowed. In the early years of electrical recording (1926-1935) he did many milestone sessions for Deutsche Grammophon (Polydor outside Germany), but with the advent of Hitlers Germany, he was forced to leave (as so many did) and seek asylum in a number of countries. His recordings were banned and the masters destroyed. He settled for a time in Los Angeles, becoming Music Director of the L.A. Philharmonic in the late 1930s and was briefly considered taking over Toscanini's post at The New York Philharmonic, but was passed over in favor of Bruno Walter.

But it's the 1920s recordings we're looking at today, most notably one of the many he did of the music of Richard Wagner. This recording of the Siegfried Idyll was done in 1927, at the height of Klemperers pre-war popularity. It features the Berlin State Opera, an orchestra he was closely associated with for a number of years.


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