Otto Klemperer: Volume 2, 1933-1973: His Life and Times (Otto Klemperer, His Life and Times)

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9780521244886: Otto Klemperer: Volume 2, 1933-1973: His Life and Times (Otto Klemperer, His Life and Times)
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Otto Klemperer was one of the great conductors of the century. This second volume of Peter Heyworth's celebrated biography follows the conductor's fortunes from his time as an émigré in the United States to his final years as conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. His time in America was frustrating and unhappy. He became chief conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but failed to secure important engagements on the East Coast. Bedevilled by manic depression, his euphoric moods led to wild escapades, on one occasion finding him in police cells. Returning to Europe in 1946, he found work at the Budapest State Opera until Stalin's grip forced him away. In the fifties he found work where he could, suffering illness, accidents and depression. Finally, he was given a contract with EMI and his concerts and recordings with the Philharmonia brought, at last, the worldwide recognition that had so long eluded him. The two volumes are also available as a set.

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Review:

In this, the second and final volume of his landmark biography of conductor Otto Klemperer, author Peter Heyworth takes his subject from his exile from Germany in 1933 to his death at the age of 88 in 1973. The book covers Klemperer's difficult years in America and his return to Europe, his problems with Roman Catholicism and his return to Judaism, his encounter with Stalinism, his struggles with manic depression, and his efforts to be recognized as a composer ("Do you like my compositions, Mr. Barenboim?" he asked the then-rising young pianist; "No, Dr. Klemperer," was the reply); all is handled forthrightly and with a high level of scholarship. Heyworth died just before completing the book, which was seamlessly finished by his friend and colleague John Lucas. This is an invaluable portrait of an important musical figure, and the complete discography in the back will be particularly useful to anyone seeking to understand Klemperer and his contributions.

Book Description:

This second volume of Peter Heyworth's celebrated biography follows the conductor's fortunes from his frustrating and unhappy time as an émigré in the United States to his final years with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. Bedevilled by manic depression, his euphoric moods led to wild escapades, but finally, after many unstable years taking various engagements around the world, a recording contract with EMI and appointment to the Philharmonia brought the worldwide recognition that had so long eluded him.

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