Today's Classical Music Video

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Carlos Kleiber Conducts Weber

Carlos Kleiber's (1930-2004) reputation continues to grow after his death. His conducting appearances were always infrequent but eagerly-awaited events and he rarely disappointed his ardent fans. He was a perfectionist and was often unhappy about the results he achieved. He hated the idea of conducting as a full-time career and spent much of his time on other things. A recent book based on his correspondence is enormously revealing about the man Carlos Kleiber as opposed to the legendary conductor most people knew him to be (Charles Barber: Corresponding with Carlos: a Biography of Carlos Kleiber).

In this video from 1970 he conducts the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra in the overture to Weber's opera Der Freischuetz. Notice the careful attention to dynamics and balance, and the beauty of the phrasing. And for all the attention to detail this remains a fresh and exciting performance. The back story of this performance is that when Kleiber started rehearsals the orchestra members treated him with disdain. By the time of the concert they had come to respect him enormously and played their hearts out.

Paul E. Robinson

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