REVIEW POTPOURRI – Conductor: Paul Kletzki; Musical: Wonderful Town; Violin Concerto: Walton

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Paul Kletzki conducting the Czech Philharmonic; Quintessence PMC-7216; stereo LP, 1983 reissue of 1967 Supraphon original LP.

Paul Kletzki

Paul Kletzki, who died in 1973, was one of six truly great conductors – the others being Jascha Horenstein, Karel Ancerl, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Otto Klemperer and Istvan Kertesz. From what I have gleaned through listening to the recordings on my shelves, Kletzki had a knack for the rhythmic spirit in a work and sustaining this rhythm throughout a performance with slowish tempos that almost drag. His conducting of the 7th is both powerful and beautifully played as a result – in the wonderful climax of the first movement, he suddenly slows down the leisurely tempo to a crawl but the sustaining rhythms seethe with life. The record also contains a gripping performance of the exciting Leonore Overture #3.

Kletzki was studying in Berlin from the ‘20s to 1933 but wisely left due to his Jewish ancestry. He resided in Italy for a spell, then exited for the 1930s Soviet Union due to Mussolini’s growing closeness to Hitler. From the Soviet Union, he migrated to Switzerland where he lived out most of his life!

Meanwhile the Nazis murdered several members of Kletzki’s parents and a sister.

Wonderful Town

A musical by Leonard Bernstein, starring Rosalind Russell, etc.; Sony Broadway SK 48021, 1991 cd reissue from original Columbia Masterworks stereo lp recorded November 16, 1958.

Rosalind Russell

This is a recording of the 1958 TV production for CBS, not the 1953 original Broadway production, and is loaded with wonderful songs and performances, none of which became a hit, unlike the later 1957 West Side Story. The story centers around two sisters from Columbus, Ohio, who move to New York City to pursue their dreams- one a writer, the other an actress !


Violin Concerto played by Dong-Suk Kang; and Cello Concerto, played by Tim Hugh; Paul Daniel conducting both works with the English Northern Philharmonia; Naxos 8.554325, CD, recorded 1997.

Dong-Suk Kang

These two expessively tart, spunky works of Sir William Walton (1902-1983) are given exciting performances by the talent featured here. Walton achieved success before World War II with such musical creations as the blisteringly exciting 1931 Bel shazzar’s Feast, the most colorful choral romp ever composed, and the graceful 1939 Violin Concerto commissioned by Jascha Heifetz; after the war, his music didn’t generate much excitement because of changing times. But his 1956 Cello Concerto, commissioned by cellist Grigor Piatigorsky, is also eloquent and beautifully performed.


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