Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Klemperer conducts Mahler in memory of Robert Kennedy 1968


I was up in Summer college in the far North West of Ireland learning gaelic and falling madly in love with every girl I saw.

On June the 5th, Robert Kennedy was assasinated. The picture always scares me. He's younger than I am, and he has a look on his face of I'm going to be OK, right?

At the Wiener Festwoche, shortly afterwards, Otto Klemperer was scheduled to conduct Mahler's ninth. He prefaced the performance with Mozart's masonic funeral music, and dedicated the concert the the memory of Kennedy.

The recording sounds like a good quality tape, and was posted in a now-defunct Spanish Mahler forum which I used to read to keep up my Spanish. And for the Mahler, of course. It's at 192 kbs, mp3, which was state of the art in those days.

Download from Rapidshare


  1. To think that it was 42 years ago today. A sense of hope died that year in this country that I do not think has returned. Certainly not with Obama's careful, indeed timid, disappointing accommodationism..

    Thank you for the post. Klemperer has for long been one of my musical heroes. His Mahler is often peerless, and his Mozart is compellingly good.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. File No. 4 (Second Movement of Mahler 9) appears to be corrupt. I could not unzip it after two attempts at download. If you could re-upload, it would be very much appreciated.

    All the other files appear to be OK.

  4. PROBLEM FIXED! I had been trying to unZip the files using the supplied ZIP decompression utility that came with Windows XP. After the third attempt at downloading, I tried using other decompression utilities to access File No. 4 of this zipped download. WinRAR worked, and I'm glad because I have wanted to listen to this particular performance for a long time.

    Now I'm listening to this performance of Mahler 9, which was not regarded highly by the Viennese critics at the time. According to Klemperer's biographer Peter Heyworth, some blamed the unfamiliarity of the Vienna Philharmonic for poor ensemble in places, while others have blamed anti-Semitism within the orchestra for a lack of dedication. Now I can judge for myself the quality of the performance, if not the motivations of those who played it.

    It will make a fascinating comparison with Klemperer's studio recording for EMI, and with his 1970 live concert performance in Israel, leading the Jerusalem Radio (Kol Israel) orchestra, augmented by members of an Israeli youth orchestra.

  5. I am neither as familiar as I would wish to Mahler nor to Klemperer, whom I hear for the first time in that work. So thank you very much for the opportunity. I was quite impatient to approach this document nevertheless and took advantage of a noisy neighboring party louder than everything to play without refrain movements 1 3 and 4 in the middle of the night.
    It is true even for me that the orchestra does not always play very well but I was sensitive to Klemperer's way of tackling the Rondo Burlesque. I cannot encapture that easily in words -something which suggests me a violent struggle with death. The last movement never sounded so moving than there - I felt it was also Mahler's An die Freunde, from a sincere and devoted one.
    Again thank you for the sharing.

  6. Lawrence - patience with Obama. Remember he has a narrow majority in a country that has spent the last decade passionately espousing militarism, indiscriminate corporate greed and social elitism. I have every hope that the tide is at least turning.

    GP49 - I cannot understand how anyone can use the Windows decompression utility (I am not a Windows user but it strikes me as utterly ham fisted). Glad you persevered!

    Dodorock - you are right. It's not pretty, and certainly 'uneasy listening' for the middle of the night! Hope your neighbours liked it as much as you did...