Friday, July 26, 2019

Otto Klemperer and Beethoven's Ninth

The other day, I wrote about losing Howard's cousin -- the one, the only,the great Ron Moss. I went searching into the archives to see what I had written about him. One of the posts I found was called "A Present from Ron Moss," and talked about the time Moss had shoved a gift between the slats of the fence surrounding Howard's garage.

That present, eventually located in a clump of weeds, wound up being Beethoven's Ninth -- a box set of a performance conducted by Otto Klemperer, pictured above, and featuring mezzo soprano Christa Ludwig and the wonderful bass baritone Hans Hotter.

I was thinking, I have to find out where that box set is at, as we say here in Buffalo. Because it is great.

Ron Moss had taste!

Gramophone Magazine, in Britain, proclaimed it .... drum roll please ... the best performance of Beethoven's Ninth EVER! Read for yourself.

Gramophone talks about how the universal nature of Beethoven's Ninth emerges in the power that Klemperer, a German Jew, brings to it. Actually by the time he made that recording Klemperer was Roman Catholic. But still ...

Imagine that!!

Moss ...

... knew his Beethoven!

I have an affection for Otto Klemperer because of Leonard Pennario. Pennario was only 14 when he gave the first of what would become countless performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. And Otto Klemperer was the conductor. Klemperer liked him and was good to him and took him to heart. He knew great gifts when he saw them.

I love how Otto Klemperer was the father of Werner Klemperer who played Colonel Klink on "Hogan's Heroes." I did not watch that show much but the kids I babysat for did.

I also love the story Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau tells in his memoirs about Otto Klemperer. It is a long story but the simplified version is, Klemperer winds up imagining a conversation between himself and God. He has God asking, "Tell me, Doktor Klemperer ...."

I loved that!

I loved the idea of God addressing Klemperer with his formal titles!

You know that would be the case.

Anyway, Beethoven's Ninth and Otto Klemperer ... I must locate Moss' gift.

I must listen to it!

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