Klaus Tennstedt 1926-1998
Last night BBC Radio 3 broadcast its penultimate Prom to nearly complete the reconstituted 2020 season. It was a terrific account of Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony – Klaus Tennstedt conducting (31 August 1991), the full-strength London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra in exalted form joined by Brighton Festival Chorus and stellar vocal soloists led-off by John Tomlinson. Tennstedt’s reading was expansive, thrilling (superb hard-hitting timpani-playing), poetic and – in the Finale, dramatically introduced – swaggering.
Beforehand, we were transported to Proms 1968 for a Schubert 5 with Barbirolli & the Hallé – suggesting that R3 could indeed have gone further back in Proms history than its much-trumpeted four decades: okay, this Schubert is ‘rescued’ on a BBC Legends CD. Tantalisingly we were told that the rest of the concert included music by Bax and Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony. Maybe another time for the whole thing – and even earlier decades?