Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Classics: Listening back to Otto Klemperer's "Così fan tutte" recording


Klemperer with his Così score at the time of the recording

by Ken

As I indicated in Friday night's preview, today we're going to listen again to a little of the recording that Otto Klemperer made of Mozart's Così fan tutte," in celebration of sorts of this lovely recording's overdue reissue by EMI.

We actually did a more comprehensive listen-through to chunks of this recording in the March 2011 post "Remembering Margaret Price, Part 3 -- as Mozart's Fiordiligi," and I've begun replacing the original audio clips for that post, made from my German-pressed LPs, with clips from the (pretty good) new CD issue. As I've said, it's not among my very favorite recordings of the opera, but as I indicated in writing about it for The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera, in this case most of Klemperer's special insights have been intuited by other conductors on records -- among whom my clear favorite remains Eugen Jochum in his near-miraculous 1962 DG recording.

We're just going to hit some high points today, with a couple of other performances tacked on, and I thought we'd kick off with a perennial favorite excerpt of mine, the Act I farewell trio, as the ladies think their fiancés are going off to war, in a scheme engineered by their cynical old friend Don Alfonso.

Act I, Trio, Fiordiligi-Dorabella-Don Alfonso,
"Soave sia il vento"

Gentle be the breeze,
Calm be the waves,
And every element
Smile in favour
On their wish.

Margaret Price (s), Fiordiligi; Yvonne Minton (ms), Dorabella; Hans Sotin (bs), Don Alfonso; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

Irmgard Seefried (s), Fiordiligi; Nan Merriman (ms), Dorabella; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b), Don Alfonso; Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

[in English] Elizabeth Harwood (s), Fiordiligi; Janet Baker (ms), Dorabella; John Shirley-Quirk (bs-b), Don Alfonso; Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969



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