Because he was Jewish he left Nazi Germany in 1933 and moved to Italy, however due to the anti-semitism of the Italian Fascist regime he moved to the Soviet Union in 1936 but had to flee during Stalin's Great Terror and went to live in Switzerland. Kletzki's most notable work is his Third Symphony, completed in October 1939, with the subtitle 'In memoriam'. It is an elegiac work interpreted as a moving monument to the victims of Nazism. Other works include two string quartets, a Sinfonietta for strings, a Fantasy for piano, and a sonata for violin and piano. From 1942 onwards Kletzki wrote no more compositions; he argued that Nazism had destroyed his spirit and his will to compose.
During the Holocaust a number of Kletzki's family were murdered by the Nazis including his parents and his sister. In the post-war years Kletzki was a renowned conductor, especially of Mahler. In 1954 he was appointed chief conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Between 1958 and 1961 he was principal conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. From 1966 until 1970 he was the General Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
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|Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11 (1997 Digital Remaster): II. Romance (Larghetto)|
|Violin Concerto in G, Op. 19: II. Andante espressivo|