I can only imagine the expressions of disbelief that will cross the features of younger listeners familiar with sleek chamber orchestra versions as they hear these monumental performances of Bach's Third Suite, Mozart's youthful 29th Symphony and Beethoven's First Symphony.

They are filtered through the compelling and massively authoritative mind and hands of Otto Klemperer, one of the great giants in conducting history. Wonderfully enshrined on disc in this superb CD from International Classical Artists, these performances, from 1954 and 1955, open a window on to another age, one in which this writer, who learned all his Beethoven symphonies from Klemperer's great recordings, was reared. The Bach is slow and absolutely immense, on full symphony orchestra, of course; the Mozart is smooth, svelte and refined; the Beethoven, hugely weighty, is Klemperer incarnate. I do hope some younger listeners take on the challenge of confronting another era.

Michael Tumelty

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