Today in Music History
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November 3
Can You Guess? Lotte Klemperer's brother, Werner, was also quite famous.  Can You Guess what Werner's claim to fame was?  (And what musical instrument was assiciated with him)
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1726 - Premiere of
J. S. Bach's Sacred Cantata No. 49 Ich gehe und suche mit Verlangen. (samples here) Part of Bach's third annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig, 1725-27.

1888 - Premiere of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade(Great violin part)

1941 - The Jerry Gray arrangement of String of Pearls was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

1954 - Adam Ant, (Stuart Goddard), punk rocker, was born.

1958 - Premiere of Per Norgaard's Constellations for 12 solo strings.

1960 - Unsinkable Molly Brown opened in New York City.  First of 532 performances.

1983 - Latin teen sensations Menudo were signed by RCA. The 5 young boys had to sign a contract agreeing to leave the group when they reached 16. Ricky Martin was once a member

1993 - Leon Theremin, electronic musical instrument inventor, died.

Did You Guess?
Werner Klemperer was the actor who played Colonel Klink on the television show Hogan's Heroes.  He had the good taste to play the
November 3, 1949, conductor Otto Klemperer made his debut with the BBC Symphony.

Otto Klemperer was a widely regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century.
He is remembered for his recordings and performances of Germanic music, of which he generally gave austere, majestic performances.

Klemperer was born in Breslau in 1885. He studied music in Frankfurt and  in Berlin under Hans Pfitzner. In 1905 he met Mahler while conducting the off-stage brass at a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection).  They became
Lotte Klemperer
1924-2003
VIOLIN
friends, and Klemperer became conductor at the German Opera in Prague in 1907, on Mahler's recomendation. In 1910, Klemperer assisted Mahler in the premiere of his Symphony No. 8 (Symphony of a Thousand).  He later became chief conductor at the opera in Cologne.  He conducted the Kroll Opera in Berlin 1927-1931, and enhanced his reputation as a champion of new music, playing several new works there including Janacek's opera, From the House of the Dead,  Schoenberg's Erwartung and Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex.

In 1933, with the Nazi Party in power, Klemperer, who was a Jew, left Germany, moved to the United States and became conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. There he began to concentrate on the standard works of the Germanic repertoire that would later bring him great acclaim, particularly the works of Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler.   He conducted until 1971, when he retired. He died in Zürich in 1973.

"That's fine," you say, "but what does this have to do with Lotte Klemperer?"

At the time of Lotte’s birth, Klemperer was chief conductor in Cologne.  Her mother, Johanna, née Geissler, wound down a career as an operatic soprano to look after her children.   Lotte and her elder brother Werner were shielded from their father’s celebrity and from outside politics.   What Lotte could not be shielded from were the arguments between her parents, often provoked by her father’s manic-depressive mood-swings due to bipolar disorder.  In 1939 Klemperer had surgery to remove a brain tumor, and one result of the surgery was that the bipolar disorder seemed to become more prominent.

One episode in 1941, when her father’s behaviour made  national headlines, thrust Lotte into the public eye as her mother’s interpreter for a throng journalists, and her life's pattern was set.

Otto Klemperer’s illness and his erratic conduct hurt his career. Work came his way irregularly. Lotte moved to New York, but was used by both her parents.  Otto, wanted to obtain engagements there and relied on Lotte her to make arrangements for him, complained things weren't suitable. Johanna’s letters to Lotte described marital difficulties, but said of Otto,  “You will come to love him and will be proud and happy to have this man as a father”.

For the rest of Otto's life, Lotte acted almost as a buffer between him and the outside world.  She acted as secretary, negotiator and administrator, She constantly denied herself, but insisted it was no sacrifice.  She said she loved working with her father, and would have found any other job much more boring. In her almost life-long devotion to her father, both when he was alive and since his death 30 years ago, she was completely concerned with the preservation and protection of the truth about him. In her he had a very remarkable guardian of his spirit. 

The conductor and musicologist Antony Beaumont put it more strongly: “My personal conviction is that the miracle of Otto Klemperer’s late flowering as an international conductor was largely her achievement.”

Lotte Klemperer, daughter of Otto and Johanna, sister of Werner, died in Zurich July 1, 2003.  Not only did she ensure that Otto was allowed to make his mark on the world, she made sure that his mark, and that of her mother (she wrote a book about Johanna's career as well) were properly understood and protected.  We Lotte her a great thank you.


This article borrows heavily from the obituary of Lotte Klemperer written by Martin Anderson.  Read the full obituary here.  It's lovely.
Werner, Johanna, Otto & Lotte Klemperer
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