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02.03.2010 12:23 - THE SMILE OF MUSIC: A Portrait of Carlos Kleiber, RAI 3
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THE SMILE OF MUSIC: A Portrait of Carlos Kleiber

by Andrea Ottonello, RAI Radio3 , 2008.

Translated by Robert McGinn


EPISODE 1 (broadcast February 18, 2008)

Today we begin a new series curated by Andrea Ottonello and devoted to Carlos Kleiber, the legendary orchestra director who died in July 2004. The program is based on testimony given in a series of interviews conducted by Ottonello (author of the series) that will be interspersed, in each part, with excerpts from records and live recordings in which Kleiber is the main protagonist. The list of artistic personalities who agreed to participate includes names of great prominance. To begn with, in this first part we shall hear from Veronica Kleiber, the maestro’s sister (and daughter of Erich Kleiber, also a mythical orchestral director), and Claudio Abbado, who arranged Kleiber’s arrival in Italy at the end of the 1970s at Milan’s La Scale Opera and who expresses for him words of unlimited admiration, characterizing him as “the greatest orchestra conductor of the 20th century.” In subsequent episodes, the interviewees will include a deeply touched Mirella Freni (who sang “La Boheme” and “Otello” with Kleiber), Dieter Flury (first flautist of the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Kleiber in his most famous recordings and in two New Year’s concerts), Giulio Franzetti (ex-first violinist of the La Scala Orchestra, who witnessed productions that have entered into legend, such as “Boheme,” “Otello,” “Tristan und Isolde,” “Der Rosenkavalier”), Marco Postinghel (first bassoon of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra preferred by Kleiber in his last years of activity), Mauro Meli (formerly director of the Teatro di Cagliari, in which Kleiber directed his last two concerts, in 1999), and, finally, Maurizio Pollini (who was one of Kleiber’s closest friends).


VK (Veronica Kleiber)
CA (Claudio Abbado)

[00:00-00:27] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus.”

VK: [00:28] My mother confessed to me much later, when my brother was already a grown-up of healthy and robust constitution, that when he was small she had truly thought that he wouldn’t survive because he was so weak and skinny, etc. But, one sees that, as things turned out, he succeeded in…Well, we were both born in Berlin and this everyone knows because it is in the records. And then, another thing that I remember about him is that as a little person he was very strong-willed. He gave orders. When we were going to go swimming in a nearby lake in Germany, he went first, put his foot in the water, turned around and said, “Absolutely too cold! Don’t anyone go in!” Ecco. Kein Mensch! He started to say that he wanted to compose something, then he wrote something. Since he was wonderful at learning, both languages and anything else, from my mother he learned musical notation. And he said, “Very well, now I’m going to try and see what I can produce,” etc…On the other hand, it was an interest that was not encouraged in the least by our father. Father said, “this one here evidently thinks that has the road made, because he will walk on my path, but it will not be so.” At a certain moment, father, in the final years of his life, helped him, accompanied him, gave him suggestions. At the end, yes, at the end he was convinced, was convinced and helped him. He told him about things and gave him “tips” about what could be done; but that was very, very close to the end. From when we were children, we rented a house up until a certain moment (because we were always on the road), we had rented a house in Lugano and there was a piano in it. We played around with it, as all children do. Father took and locked it and threw the key into the lake. Because he was terrorized by the idea that we…So this was the encouragement [we had] to play music! When I see, for example, Claudio [Abbado] who had his children on his knee while he was studying, etc., I said, “Damn it! There are different ways of trying to involve the children…” But father absolutely did not want to involve us. All this in our family was always a bit over the top [sopra le righe], but everything was affectionate.

[“Die Fledermaus” Overture from 03:43 to 04:20]

CA: [04:21] Carlos and I met each other many years ago and immediately became great friends. It was a deeply human relationship, friendly, about music, about life, very intense, very beautiful. And then we also got to know each other well with the families, with Veronica. Veronica also worked with me for a certain period, during which she told me about their youth in Argentina. He always spoke about the father with an enormous respect, and he had suffered greatly from this very authoritarian father who didn’t respect him from the time he was a youth. He became co-ripetitore in various theaters and studied these works; however, his father couldn’t conceive of the idea of Carlos becoming a conductor. For Carlos it was an enormous battle. However, the beautiful thing is that. .. I remember that one time he came to hear “Wozzeck” at La Scala. (He did “Wozzeck” like God; I heard him in Munich: magnificent.) Veronica telephoned him: “Come, come to La Scala to hear ‘Wozzeck’ directed by Claudio!” So, he came and heard and then we found ourselves at my house, we spoke, and he was very pleased [with the performance]. [Then he said,] “However, there’s a point where you are not slowing down!” I said, “Where? I don’t know.” He explained to me and I said, “But truly here Alban Berg…” He said, “yes, but MY FATHER, my father always said to me that there one had slow down.” Ah, well, one always learns. In short, he was made like that. Carlos was one of the greatest, if not the greatest director of the twentieth century.” [Carlo и stato uno dei piщ grandi, se non il piщ grande direttore del Novecento.]

[“Der Rosenkavalier” Overture plays from 06:17 to 09:30]

CA: [09:31] I have always had great admiration for people of great culture. And Carlos was one of them. But he was like that. Simply put: he was made that way. He spoke all the languages, but one time I realized that he spoke English not like a German or an Argentinian. No, he spoke English as if he had recited Shakespeare in the theater. In fact, his phrases were taken from Shakespeare; or at least reconstructed from phrases in the Shakespearean style [alla…]. He had an absolute mastery over the languages he spoke in that moment; he spoke Italian perfectly, French, German. And he had behind this fire, this happiness in making music, this joy, this love of music. He was a great perfectionist, but one who was always seeking with the greatest imagination…he had incredible images. I always thought that Carlos…that there was something to learn from him. And, thus, all our discussion was a joy, thus, he had this great admiration for that which was music. The smile, as I said, is just right, was thus; few people have it, no? When they do something beautiful in music, then they smile. For me it was a great fortune to be able to know him, to go and to hear his his performances; but then to know him really thus, as a human being.

And then he had such a strong interior security, this passion, this love for music that at a certain point enthralled everyone: orchestra, the public, singers….He transmitted this great joy in making music. Everyone went crazy. All the things that I heard with Carlos [conducting], whether it was the symphonies of Beethoven or Brahms, or works of Verdi, Strauss, or Wagner, were, in short, masterpieces. [In the background, from 11:49, the finale of “Der Rosenkavalier” is heard.] Perhaps one of the things that struck me most was il “Rosenkavalier,” because I had been used to going to Vienna to hear it with van Karajan, who conducted a stupendous performance of “Der Rosenkavalier.” But “Der Rosenkavalier” done by Carlos was even better. It was superior in these things, in the things he did, naturally. Inside himself, who knows what more he had; but he was superior.”

[The finale from “Der Rosenkavalier” plays from 12:17 to 17:30.]

End of EPISODE 1.


EPISODE 2 (broadcast February 20, 2008)

Dieter Flury, first flautist of the Vienna Philharmonic, expresses his admiration for Carlos Kleiber with deep feeling. He remembers his rehearsals and his ability to “make the soul of the musicians play.” In particular, he recalls several performances in which he was involved, namely, Schubert’s “Unfinished” and Brahms’ 2nd, at the end of which the enthusiasm of the audience was more eloquent than any commentary.


DF (Dieter Flury)

[00:00-00:18] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus.”

DF: [00:19] My name is Dieter Flury. I am a flautist in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. I began thirty years ago and had several occasions to play under the direction of Carlos Kleiber. I remember a performance of Schubert’s symphony in B minor (“The Unfinished”). I always remember it because the intensity of Maestro Kleiber made a very great impression on me, as he evoked the depression that Schubert experienced so deeply when he was close to death. The music begins with the double-basses, then there is this general pause. For Maestro Kleiber, this moment was the end of everything, the music stops, and then this ‘fifth’ – [sings] “ti-um, ti-um” – this was truly a terrible moment. And he could evoke this moment of terror for the entire orchestra. All the musicians have played this symphony many times, but with him it was as if for the first time. I must always remember his work when we play this symphony.

[Schubert’s 8th Symphony (“The Unfinished”) plays from 01:55 to 05:20.]

DF: [05:21] When he wanted to do “Elektra” by Richard Strauss, Carlos Kleiber wanted Herbert von Karajan to explain it to him. Herbert von Karajan told us that Carlos Kleiber arrived and remained for four hours. Karajan said that he had never learned so much in four hours as he did in those four hours with Carlos Kleiber, because he had taught him the entire score.

In the orchestra we felt like an organism, an instrument. He played in an improvisational way with this organism. It was never known how he succeeded, but his gestures were very clear, therefore he could truly do everything that he wanted with the orchestra. One very important thing about Carlos Kleiber was that he never worked on technique. He never said “it must be faster,” or “the intonation higher,” “louder,” “softer.” Rather, he always worked on the meaning of the music, on the psychology, on the state of feeling. And technical perfection resulted; he worked with the souls, not with the instruments.

[Schubert’s 8th Symphony (“The Unfinished”) plays from 07:02 to 08:07]

DF: [08:08] He made the soul smile, therefore he could convey a joy without limits, an immense joy, a beatitude the likes of which I cannot put into words. If music can liberate itself from the soil, can fly, with Kleiber this was possible; a truly extraordinary human being.

[Schubert’s 8th Symphony (“The Unfinished”), second movement, plays from 08:37 to 10:49]

DF: [10:50] For Kleiber it was spontaneity, unexpected musicaliy, that made every concert a completely new experience. We played the second symphony of Brahms. In this symphony, the first flute has a lot to do. Before the concert, a colleague brought me a note from the Maestro on which was written simply, “I like everything, but the letter D (perhaps)” – I don’t remember the letter exactly — “in this passage should be a little louder, [played with] a little more courage!” His mode of preparation with the musicians was very pleasant [simpatico], but at the time what he wanted was extremely clear. At the start of one rehearsal, the orchestra still still didn’t feel well, it was a morning after a rather full week. The sonority of the orchestra, its discipline, all this was not up to par [non era a posto]. Kleiber didn’t say anything but, displeased with how we were playing, started to explain his feelings, not to elaborate on technical matters. As in a magical moment, the orchestra played completely differently, and of course perfection followed.

[Brahms’ 2nd Symphony plays from 12:25 to 17:07.]

End of EPISODE 2.


EPISODE 3 (broadcast February 21, 2008)

Giulio Franzetti, unforgettable [indimenticato] principal violinist of the La Scala Orchestra, feverishly paints, absolutely adoringly, with boundless admiration and in language quite different from that of his Austrian colleague, a portrait of the prince of orchestra conductors. His language is more “Mediterranean” and perhaps also more “animalesque” [“animalesco”]. Besides, the music that Franzetti recalls is diverse, dealing with “Otello” and “Boheme,” two of the productions directed by Kleiber when, during the tenure of Abbado, he almost lived La Scala.


GF (Giulio Franzetti)

[00:00-00:17] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus.”

GF: [00:18] My name is Giulio Franzetti. I have been principal first violinist of the La Scala Orchestra for about three decades. I knew and have played with I don’t know how many orchestra directors. I had the good fortune, let’s say, of being at La Scala, because the greatest directors conducted there. Therefore, I was part of a musical community with these great musicians. I must say that the one who impressed me the most of all was Carlos Kleiber; the rehearsals, the way he had of mounting musical performances, “Boheme” and “Otello,” was truly an incredible thing, incredible! I remember that with “Otello” he never rehearsed more than two or three consecutive bars without stopping, and he told everyone what they had to do note by note, something that came from incredible research [ricerca inaudita]. And therefore, at a certain moment, I remember that those close to top management became nervous because effectively we had never played things through from start to finish, I don’t know [non so].

Well, he actually started at the end and, after a month of rehearsals, at the end, he started to do something without interruption. There was an explosion and everyone jumped outside themselves [и saltato fuori tutto]. Everyone knew what they had to do note by note. One thing that I remember, for example, is the entry of Otello, that he [Kleiber] conducted all the cues, one, two, three, four! I swear: the baton hissed [fisciava]! The burst, the violence, I would say, with which he moved the baton.

[02:04 to 05:08] The beginning of Act I of “Otello” by Giuseppe Verdi.

GF: [05:09] We felt him to be very human, very human, that is to say, this man in this way…throbbing [palpitante], I would say. Then, naturally, he was a human being that had this capacity for introspection about music generally…and then, beyond musical facts, one remained dazzled by this most fertile mind, by all the connections that he could make; that is to say, this harmonious whole of sensibility and culture (and not only musical). So he gave this joy, he led people to a dimension of happiness, through music, therefore not only musical happiness, he led people in this dimension. And people couldn’t but be grateful to him because he made them enter this world together with him. So this finesse, this delicacy…There’s the famous matter of the caress. He said, “Play it with the arc of a caress, but not, NOT on the arm,” he said, “on the SKIN of the arm.” That is, things of another world!

I will never be able to forget in “La Boheme” [hums: “pim parаm parapapapapмm parаm parapapapapмm”] that he wanted a rubato right in the middle — a splendid idea — and he made us repeat it so many times. And I remember this arm while it was making a broad gesture and this baton that was marking [hums “pim parаm parapapapapмm”], but not, for example, like Maazel, who naturally has a great arm nature [natura di braccio], but subdivides completely purposefully, and so many times, let’s say, inhibits a bit; in the sense that it is he who plays as well as the orchestra. While, instead, Kleiber truly had this way of painting the musical line in the air, therefore it was a sensational thing; but he wasn’t convinced that he had it, he was very torn: a child genius lost in his world, he didn’t see anything else.

[7:15-10:47] The beginning of Act I of “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini.

GF: [10:48] When we went, it seems to me after seven or eight years — now I don’t remember exactly when, in 1988 — we returned to Japan. After having prepared the first time with I don’t know how many hours of rehearsal, this time he wanted just three hours of rehearsal and that’s it, for all of “La Boheme.” The only thing that happened is that he asked La Scala: “I want all the persons that were in the orchestra the first time, no one excluded.” They said to him that four people weren’t in the orchestra any more. Nor was there, I don’t know, a first part [una prima parte]. “Very well, I’m not coming [on the trip].” And I remember that management said, “Listen, Franzetti, you’re always in contact with him because, in short [insomma], as principal violinist you have, thus, a tie with him. Try to do something, explain to him that we are able to do absolutely nothing; these people have retired, aside from the fact that now they will no longer play, it isn’t possible, we can’t make them return.” I remember that I went and said to him, “Look, Maestro, they can’t be brought back. What I can assure you is that they have been replaced by worth substitutes.” And… he looks at me and goes, “Do you guarantee me that?” “Maestro, look, in my opinion they are very worthy people, they are only these four. All the others are the same, all, that have done all the hours of rehearsal, have done all the performances without ever changing one.” “Very well, thank you.” He accepted.

I remember that in the finale of the third act of “Boheme” there is [hums: “tiiraarмм tararмrooompararararaa”] at the end, and then in stark contrast [hums: “papаm”]. Who knows what was inside of him, in his soul, what it meant, this acuteness, let’s say, of his way of feeling? At a certain moment, he stopped himself and made a gesture, with a smile, like this…he made a gesture to me — there was the oboe too, because we were playing in octaves — to do this stuff, then I said to him, “Yes, but it is difficult this way.” He said, “Even so, between you, perhaps you succeed.” I was dumbfounded. That it to say, from this point of view, he was absolutely capable, in cases of this kind, of NOT CONDUCTING!

Kleiber gave unique emotions. For me, no one succeeded in giving emotions like Kleiber. That is to say, this capacity of taking people and transporting them to another world, his world, with visions that are beyond those of others, who more or less…the others are a bit more ordinary mortals. Naturally, all this, I think, cost him an incredible fatigue [gli costasse una fatica incredibile].

[14:01-14:11] a passage from Act III of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Boheme” plays softly in the background.

Therefore, to listen to Kleiber is to listen to something unique. The others can be compared [paragonabili]; but he is a bit less able to be compared than the others.”

[14:12-17:10] A passage from Act III of “La Boheme.”

End of EPISODE 3.


EPISODE 4 (broadcast February 22, 2008)

This installment features loving extracts from the testimony of Veronica Kleiber, daughter of Erich and sister of Carlos. She talks about the historic recording of Carlos conducting Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony, a work he performed only once in his life, in a concert with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra [l’Orchestra Sinfonica della Radio Bavarese], on November 7, 1983. [Editor’s note: According to the notes enclosed with the 2004 Orfeo CD of this recording, notes written by Carlos Kleiber’s daughter, Lillian, the orchestra he directed in the “Pastorale” was the Bayerisches Staatsorchester.] Because of technical problems, it was not possible to use the tapes prepared by the recording firm. [Editor’s note: In the same notes Lillian states that tapes were made in-house of every Bayerisches Staatsorchester concert. But the tape of this concert had deteriorated badly while stored in the orchestra’s archives.]. Thus it was decided to use as the source an audiocassette made by Carlos Kleiber’s son [Marko], as Aunt Veronica explains. She lingers briefly to talk about the audience reaction at the end of the performance. The CD came out in an authorized version only in 2003, when Carlos Kleiber, already gravely ill, had disappeared from the stage.


VK (Veronica Kleiber)
AO (Andrea Ottonello)

[00:00-00:18] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus.”

VK [00:19] Buon giorno. I am Veronica Kleiber, the daughter of Erich Kleiber and sister of Carlos Kleiber. I am the only non-musician [in my family] but my brother said that I am musical. He says, “It’s not different being musical and being a musician, no.” My father said that I had a garbage can in my head because I forgot nothing, even the stupidest little song, and now and then my father said, “Sing me that piece by that Argentinian composer” that no one even knows what he has done or anything. For years, when they asked both of us [Veronica and Carlos], “Ah, your father…You, in contrast, you’re not musicians?” We? No. So the response was always “No, we are part of the educated public, we are not musicians,” after which I had to change the response: “Ah, my brother, yes!” because he also started [to become one].”

[01:30-03:34] Start the first movement of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (“Pastoral”), in F major, op. 68.

VK: [03:35] In rehearsals he was witty, amusing, gave explanations thus: through metaphor, allusions, something that entertains. He said always, “I don’t have…It’s not necessary that you are always completely taken by that which you are doing, however you must listen to each other.”

[04:02-10:22] excerpt from the third movement of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (“Pastoral”).

AO: [10:23] Kleiber directed Symphony # 6, opus 68, the “Pastoral,” by Ludwig van Beethoven in Munich on November 7, 1983, That recording, to which we are listening, remains something unique. In fact that evening represents, the sole recording on disk or in concert that Kleiber left us. The memory of that moment is quite present in the memory of Veronica Kleiber who puts the accent in particular on the reaction of the audience at the conclusion of the symphony.

VK: [10:50] He wanted the audience with him, but he did nothing to ingratiate himself, didn’t make strange gestures, etc., it was all truly work with the orchestra.
If the audience was there, he was satisfied but not…Then there’s the famous story of the “Pastoral” that he did at…Hamburg. [Editor: Veronica meant to say Munich.] Someone had forgotten to put…they lost the tape. Instead, my nephew, who was there with a little thing [“coso”; referring to a miniature tape recorder], and from it they reconstructed this “Pastoral.” It was incredibly amusing because at the end of the piece there was a silence and my brother turned himself around as if to say, “Well, it’s finished, I can’t do anything more,” and the audience, widely moved, that hadn’t…and then “uaaahhh” great applause! But the idea of…of…in short, “You sill want…? I have nothing more,” well, it was amusing.

[11:58-14:54] Excerpt from the fifth movement of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, in F major, opus 68.

End of EPISODE 4.


EPISODE 5 (broadcast February 23, 2008)

Comparison of a few performances of “Tristan und Isolde” conducted by Carlos Kleiber. They are tied together by an exceptional witness: Sviatoslav Richter (sole non-singing recording partner of Carlos Kleiber), who noted down in his intimate diary several impressions of Kleiber and his performances. Elsewhere, Richter speaks of Kleiber as “the greatest conductor that I have ever had the privilege to meet.”


AO (Andrea Ottonello)
SR (Sviatoslav Richter)

[00:00-00:14] Signature theme music of the series, the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus”

AO [00:15] The three year period 1974-76 sees Carlos Kleiber engaged [impegnato] at the Beyreuth Festival where he directs the same production of “Tristan und Isolde,” directed by August Everding. They will be his only appearances in that theater, where, moreover, Sviatoslav Richter listened to him on 11 August 1976. Richter leaves a significant memory of that evening in his private diary [diario intimo].

[00:43-3:37] Beginning of the Prelude to “Tristan und Isolde” by Richard Wagner.

SR: [00:38] (from the diary of SR, read by AO in an Italian translation). I believe that as long as I live, I will not be able to hear another “Tristan” like this: this was the real “Tristan.” Carlos Kleiber carried the music to the boiling point and there he kept it for the entire evening, provoking [scatenando] an interminable ovation at the end. Kleiber is without any doubt the greatest orchestral director of our day.

[04:00-06:57] Excerpt from “Tristan und Isolde” by Richard Wagner.

SR: [06:58] (from the diary of SR, read by AO in the Italian translation) When the performance was finished, they convinced me to go to drive out the conductor and to share with him my impressions. When we caught up with each other in the dressing room, he looked vaguely depressed and seemed rather dissatisfied with himself. Thus, I said to him what I was thinking. Suddenly, like a child, he made a jump of joy in the air. “But then, it truly went well?”…Such a titan, so insecure of himself.”

[04:00-06:57] Excerpt from “Tristan und Isolde” by Richard Wagner

AO: [11:14] Some years later, listening to the recording [of “Tristan und Isolde”] that Kleiber had made for Deutsche Grammophon, the great pianist writes:

SR: [11:21] (from the diary of SR, read by AO in the Italian translation) This recording with Carlos Kleiber is an extraordinary musical event. Everything is inspired to the maximum, and I feel myself able to affirm, without any hesitation, that in consequence of that, the music is expanded like a completely natural phenomenon, producing a literally extraordinary effect. The singers are the best of which one can possibly dream, and the conductor is the greatest of all.”

[11:46-12:59] Excerpt from “Tristan und Isolde” by Richard Wagner.

AO: [13:00] April 7, 1978, in a column of [the Italian newspaper] “La Stampa,” Massimo Mila reviews “Tristan und Isolde” that was staged opening night at Teatro alla Scala. In his review he writes among other things: “The musical performance, steered by the new Milanese idol, one Carlos Kleiber, in his third appearance at La Scale, is excellent, one could say perfect, notwithstanding the slightest suspicion of off-putting chill that often accompanies perfection.”

[13:34-17:06] Excerpt from “Tristan und Isolde” by Richard Wagner.

End of EPISODE 5.


EPISODE 6 (broadcast February 25, 2008)

An exceptional testimony from a musician as outstanding as he is reserved, one who, however, in the name of his great friendship with Carlos Kleiber, agreed to open himself up to be interviewed: Maurizio Pollini. The two of them, even if not having ever produced anything together, were tied, as Veronica Kleiber relates, by the most profound understanding and friendship, “they were two boys when they were together.” Pollini employs, in the comparisons of the deceased friend, weighty, challenging words, entrusting to him the keys of a musical heritage that today’s musical world is losing: ethics, fidelity to the composer’s details, meticulousness, perfectionism, and self-criticism. He concludes with a sort of call to the listeners, because they are familiar with Carlos Kleiber and will not forget his legacy.


VK (Veronica Kleiber)

MP (Maurizio Pollini)

[00:00-00:14] Signature theme music of series, the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus.”

VK [00:15] One person whom he loved a lot was Maurizio Pollini. They were true friends. And Pollini, when he decided that he wanted to conduct, and he wanted to do this “Donna del Lago” [“Lady of the Lake”], went to find my brother. And I have a letter that I must get out from someplace because it is so witty. It says…“Maurizio is here with an enormous cake [torta]. He sits there and asks me… ‘For example, Carlos, when you have an entrance …something quite brief, how do you do it?’”And Carlos writes to me and says: “I don’t have the foggiest idea what I do, I must first think….what is it that I do?” In short, technical details which Carlos had never worried about, but Maurizio wanted to know precisely how it was. And then a great request by the children [editor: presumably Marko and Lillian], who were still small, put him at the piano and he did a soprano…that pratically made the entire suburb of Stuttgart tremble, and at the end he said, “This,…this key doesn’t work so well…” [VK laughs] The relation between the two of them: they never did anything together [musically], but they were such friends, such good friends….They loved each other a lot. They were two boys when they were together. It was a beautiful thing.

[1:44-3:04] Excerpt from the ‘Hunters’Chorus’ “Der Freischьtz” by Carl Maria von Weber.

MP [03:05] MP: [03:05] I heard the kind words of Veronica and naturally I remember the trip that I made because I had accepted to direct “The Lady of the Lake.” It was a completely new experience for me and the most natural thing was seek Carlos’ counsel on the score. So I brought to score, put it in front of his eyes and he started to turn the pages. For me one thing was extremely significant. First of all, this man had the capacity to understand instanteously a work or a score. He immediately had an espressive or interpretive idea in his head, and all this resolved itself immediately, instantly, into a gesture appropriate for orchestra directing. Therefore, he was a person with an absolutely astonishing rapidity of learning and immediate comprehension of music. I went several times to Munich for concerts and found him in his house. He was there many days and was continuing to study the classical repertoire, in reality. I believe every day. And to think of possible solutions di arcate always more convincing, always more adapted to express the musical moment. He had a talent absolutely beyond any imagination. And surely he was able, at every moment of his life, to go into rehearsal with an orchestra and direct any piece of the repertory because he knew perfectly every classical score. He didn’t do it in his life because he was incredibly anxious about perfection, because of a kind of extreme self-criticism, absolutely exaggerated, that certainly tormente him, not a little, in his life.

This brings to mind his rehearsals with the orchestra, I believe of Stuttgart, of the Overture to “Der Freischьtz.” There’s a film [editor’s note: see CDs and DVDs tab] that’s very beautiful because it describes the character of this encounter of Carlos with an orchestra. He lived in his world and expressed himself, without losing an instant of the rehearsal, with proposals or demands that certainly went beyond musical technique, went toward, naturally, toward the phrase, toward fuller musical observations, and also used extramusical iamges, with a great, incredible freshness, and did not have any reticence in expressing his ideas toward the orchestra. On the other hand, the orchestra looks at him completely stupified, because they understood that they were having an experience that they’d never had with any other director who had conducted them. They look at him like a man who came from the moon, because normally they were used to technical advice, to, let’s say, shop advice [consigli di bottega], never advice about the requirements of playing at a high musical level. Therefore, there’s an understanding that builds a bit at the time with this orchestra, but it is evident that the director and the orchestra set out, truly, from two different worlds and look at each other like rare beasts.

[07:01-10:17] Extract from the overture to “Der Freischьtz” by Carl Maria von Weber, initially in the background.

MP: [10:18] I confess that am I truly embarrassed speaking of Carlos Kleiber, and also a bit overwhelmed [emozionato], because he was one of those directors, those musicians, that truly counted in our formation, certainly one of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, and also something more. Because Carlos Kleiber represents an example of a completely personal approach to music. In part, perhaps, [this] stemmed from the experience of the old masters, among whom was certainly his father Erich Kleiber, and however also all the other greats that he cited and whose works he know inside out: naturally, Furtwдngler, Toscanini, and Bruno Walter, who he adored. And all that constituted, I would say, a method of approach to music that, alas, in some way is disappearing from the world: because this rigor, this extreme seriousness, this incredible study of even the smallest details of the score, these demands that were put, most strongly, on himself, something that certainly made him suffer a lot in his life. They were for him absolute duties that he had to fulfill toward music. I would like to repeat the concept that Carlos Kleiber represented a reality of approach to music different from that which we are used to today. Today, the way musical life is organized, of course the reduced number of rehearsals, the demand by listeners magari toward performances in which everything functions smoothly but in such a way that one can also forget that there is a soul [si puт anche dimenticare che non vi e un’anima]; against this world that leads [porta] towards consumption, toward a quantity of musical experiences without depth, Carlos Kleiber truly represents in this a firm point [punto fermo] of memory that I would like make much better known by youth, by young musicians, and by young listeners. Because he represents something unequaled that perhaps is dying from the world. A profoundly ethical approach to the profession, like Carlos Kleiber’s, remains a unique fact that makes us think.

The concerts and musical moments that I remember of him are many; it would be impossible to enumerate them all. I remember, for example, a performance of “Traviata” in Munich. It was extremely important and illuminating: Carlos Kleiber was the only director who, with Toscanini, followed faithfully the indications of Verdi. Naturally, among the indications of Verdi there are, for example, the andantini, with metronomic tempi therefore relatively rough [mossi] that we are used to hearing miserably slargati by singers. It was extraordinarily satisfying to hear a “Traviata” conducted according to the inndications of the composer. As in the “Traviata” of Toscanini – the “Traviata” of Kleiber was perhaps more lyrical than that of Toscanini – but both performances avoided that sentimentalism of base alloy that, in my opinion, ruins so many performances of Verdi. The sentimentalism of base alloy makes it such that, for example, the great personality of Violetta doesn’t emerge as it should. Her sad ending touches one but it’s a matter of of a substantially hypocritical moving. What Verdi wanted is that the humanity of Violetta triumph over bourgeois mediocrity. And therefore, this performance was unforgettable.

And this stabilizes a mode of conduct for musicians: a critical attitude in confronting tradition that, in some cases, by modification, serves to give a better idea of what the composer was thinking. Therefore, it it becomes to you a kind of renewal of tradition and interpretation but in the line of fidelity to the composer, something no one today would want to renounce. It is a conquest of the 20th century and, in my view, must be preserved at all costs. It permits our imagination to manifest itself with maximum liberty. It is absolutely false that fidelity to the text clips the wings of all imaginative interpretations; that is simply foolishness. However, textual fidelity makes us go closer to what the author wanted and therefore, in my view, it is the right direction. Sometimes, by doing so, we must forget what tradition has taught us up until today. Therefore, this is also a method of positioning oneself directly facing music, of extreme honesty, of tireless research, and that was profoundly rooted in Carlos’ soul. It is an absolutely precious element that must absolutely not be forgotten, because it is a road sign for the future [indicazione di via per il futuro] for young musicians, if we hope that certain values will not be lost in the time to come. Carlos Kleiber must constitute an important example and must not be forgotten.

[16:30-20:01] Prelude to Act 1 of “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi.

End of EPISODE 6.


EPISODE 7 (broadcast February 27, 2008)

The testmony of Mauro Meli, artificer of two concerts in Caglieri that Carlos Kleiber led in 1999 at the head of the Baverian Radio Symphony Orchestra. They were the last public appearances of Carlos Kleiber on the podium.


MM (Mauro Meli)
AO (Andrea Ottonello)
VK (Veronica Kleiber)

[00:00-00:19] Signanture theme music of the series: the opening of the Overture to “Die Fledermaus”

MM: [00:20] My name is Mauro Meli. I am currently superintendent of Teatro Regio di Parma. I had the good fortune of working with Carlos Kleiber when I was superintendent of Teatro Lirico of Cagliari, thus the theater of my city. I saw, I believe, everything or almost everything that Kleiber did in Italy in the last thirty years. And so, when I became director, at the end of the 1980s, director of Ferrara Music, I started to write to Carlos Kleiber asking him…I started [he laughs] to court him and to invite him, all the years I had an invitation sent to him, a card, a little letter, in which I asked him to come, until when the possibility of really doing something in Cagliari became concrete. So many memories, because he was a personality almost beyond his profession. That is, for me, Carlos Kleiber was not even an orchestra director. He was a kind of Dalai Lama of music. He did…who also transmitted emotions, extraordinary waves that engulfed you.

[01:40-05:48] Excerpt from the first movement of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony.

MM: [05:49] [the excerpt from the first movement of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony continues in the background up until 06:08] He truly created a thing that was closer to a mystical sensation, no? than one of work; a sensation and a communication situation truly profound with the orchestra members who remained hypnotized — that’s the word closest to what happened — so that then in reality they played, and played giving absolutely the best. The entire relationship with the orchestra then translated itself all the way to the concert hall, in something that really had very little to do with directing an orchestra and musical execution. It seemed like a thing, I don’t know if…something that is much closer to mystico-religious emotion than to pure auditory listening. It was like…truly, it was like a wave that reached you, and that reached you at all levels. And the thing that struck me the most was, for example, that there were often many people who cried, during or after the performance, something typical of extremely touching and emotional things, not of technical things that you do. In short, it was another type of experience, ecco. With Kleiber it happened that I cried, with Kleiber, yes. For me, probably it is the most beautiful concert that I ever attended, ecco, a thing to lose one’s head over, an extraordinary thing.

[07:18-09:36] Excerpt from the second movement of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony

AO: [09:37] The two evenings in Cagliari in spring of 1999 [editor’s note: the two Cagliari concerts actually took place on February 24 and 26, 1999], at the conlusion of the tour with the Bavarians, were the last two official concerts of Kleiber. Beethoven’s 4th Symphony was included in the 1999 tour program but, in reality, the recording of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony that we are listening to dates to 1982, when in Munich, again with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra [editor’s note: the 1982 recording actually featured the Bayerisches Staatsorchester], Kleiber directed a concert benefitting the Prince Regent Theater. When, two years later, he consented to the release of this recording he wrote in his own hand a brief cover note. Veronica Kleiber also remembers this evening with particular emotion.

[10:17-10:43] Excerpt from the third movement of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony

VK: [10:44-10:51] The famous fourth of Beethoven is absolutely marvellous, amazing [formidabile].

AO: [10:52] I believe that it is the only instance in which your brother wrote something for a disc.

VK: [10:55] Yes. He wrote, “The release [of a recording] is to me otherwise always a horror. But, through the playing of the Stattsoper Bayern [editor: VK should have said “Bayerisches Staatsorchester”] the release of this recording is to me an entirely personal pleasure. [Veronica reads the text in German in a low voice and translates into Italian.] We have in this snapshot a performance in which we couldn’t make even the smallest corrections or cosmetic changes — and didn’t want to. For all Beckmessers we have an alibi: benefit publication for the Prince Regent Theater and Live. But for those who can hear liveliness, we have things herein that no orchestra plays so full of relish and pertly, or in such an inspired and delightful way, as this orchestra on that day. Many thanks!” That’s nice [carino].

[12:25-17:27] Excerpt from the fourth movement of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony.

End of EPISODE 7

EPISODE 8 (broadcast February 28, 2008)

It is a simple emotion, a memory that rises spotaneously from the deepest part of the heart, the one that we hear from Mirella Freni in this installment. Protagonist in “Otello” and in “La Boheme,” both at La Scala and at the Metropolitan, one of the preferred voices by Carlos Kleiber, “Mirellina” (as he called her) speaks with emotion of her work and human experience with him, revealing anecdotes and putting bare her feelings. One passes thus from rehearsals at the Met, to memory of Luciano Pavarotti — “When Pavarotti sings, the sun rises on the world,” Carlos Kleiber once wrote – to meetings in dressing rooms before performances, to her complete immersion in the music of the finale to Act I of “La Boheme,” and in the sublime “Ave Maria” of “Otello,” of which Freni was a towering interpreter, above all on the occasion of the legendery performance of December 7, 1976.


AO (Andrea Ottonello)
MF (Mirella Freni)

[00:00-00:14] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus”

AO: [00:15] 1990 Kleiber released a brieft statement on the occasion of the publication of a book edited by Giuseppe Gherpelli that celebrated the career of Mriella Freni. “Mirella Freni is a miracle of voice, character, and sweetness. When she sings and acts everything amalgamates itself and her art appears like a simple thing, natural. She was born a singer, and on the stage it is her voice, her technique, and her heart that sing. A true primadonna, without artificiality.”

MF: [00:48] Oh, how dear! I too have this book at home, however it was published so long ago that I no longer remembered that he had said these words. Perhaps, given that we worked together, I think that he too liked these things, understood them very well, even the part about my character. We worked together on the same wavelength. I liked Carlos a lot, because… he was music, he was born to do everything with his character, with the strongest sensibiilty. He was a grandissimo, not a great: a grandissimo. And I was fortunate to work with him.

I remember when we did “La Boheme” years ago at the Metropolitan Opera, with Luciano Pavarotti, he was Rudolfo and I was Mimi. Carlos made his debut at the MET and when we were there he was, I saw, a bit tense because when there were new things that magari he wasn’t familiar with…he hid himself a bit and this was his character. However, we did the rehearsals of the second act but solely of the stage direction, and during a pause, he came close to me – he called me “Mirellina” – and said, “Mirellina, I must ask you something.” I said, “Tell me, Maestro.” He said, “Look, I thought that I’m not going to do any rehearsal with the orchestra.”…It took my breath away because he had never worked with the MET orchestra. He said, “And if we go into dress rehearsal, do you have any problems with that?” I said, “Maestro, me, no, I don’t believe; Look, Carlos, we have done so many Bohemes, I know well what you want, for that reason ther aren’t any problems for me; perhaps the problems are yours!” And he didn’t do it…neither a rehearsal nor a reading! Before starting to do the dress rehearsal he came to me in the dressing room and said: “Mirella, excuse me, if per chance I stop sometime, but you understand…” “Yes, yes, Maestro, do what you want.” In short, it was a thing…as if we had played and worked together for our entire lives. The orchestra was crazy about him. We had a triumph opening night that…you know, in America people stop themselves from applauding more than enough. They’re in a hurry to run home, because New York is huge, the distances are truly immense. But then, they didn’t go away! I say to you only this…In this “Boheme that we did at the Metropolitan our two voices married each other [si sposavano] so well that Carlos was extremely happy [felicissimo]. You know, he led the orchestra in a certain way, if you weren’t a moron or insensible you were enthralled with it against your will [ti trascnava per forza con sй], do you understand? .

[03:50-07:45] Excerpt from Act I of “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini.

MF: [07:51] This was Carlos, he was that way…he needed to take it like it was. And I remember that also when we did “La Boheme” – no, not “Boheme,” “Otello” – that he…it was the first time that I had worked with him there [in La Scala]. And he had the obsession of writing little cards that he left, it seemed, for the orchestra members, also for me, he wrote to me…One day I found a card in my dressing room: “Mirellina, I beg you: in the finale there in the first act in the duet with Placido,” it said, “I beg you, in these moments, if you can still sing…what you do is bellissima…still a bit more softly because I have the violins there with their mutes on…” [she laughs]. I kept them, I have a bag of those cards, they are so likeable [troppo simpatici]…

But it was extraordinary to work with him, truly. It was fantastic, it was incredible, I swear, to make music with him. And then, I must say that he was a true genius. Because he came sometimes – ah Madonna! — to my dressing room…He came to my dressing room one evening before the last act of “Boheme,” and said, “You know, Mirella, we always did it that way, here after the ‘Sono andati’ …and he asked me to do it with different colors…and I said, “But Carlos, but why didn’t you tell me that yesterday so that I would at least have had a chance to try this out at home? You come to tell me this just before the start of the last act?” He said, “Listen, if you would like let’s try; if you don’t like it we won’t do it any more. [She laughs.] “But no, let’s try it.” And he was right! He was right! He always found something…regarding expression, do you understand?I had done it so many times, however he was right, it was more beautiful the other way.

This was Kleiber, he was very simple. Outside, when you met him in the street, even in New York, I don’t know, with a plastic shopping bag — he had gone to the supermarket — he seemed ordinary. When he stepped onto the podium, he was another person [note: MF lowered her voice when saying this]. He turned himself on, I don’t know, a light in him, this joy in making music…And then he had this left harm that expressed…Madonna!!!… [she laughs] I still see it!

Returning to the “Boheme” that we did at the MET, every evening Jimmy Levine came behind the scenes, because, you know, we have video monitors on which you can see the maestro on closed circuit television that way. And he was there all the time to see, and then, in the moments that magari I was there waiting to make an entrance, he said, “But Mirella, did you see that? It’s incredible! Incredible. I said, “Yes, you’re right, Jimmy.” …e…”He’s giving things to me!” said Jimmy. Because he was that way, he was born for this; he was that way. Thank God that we had him and that we worked with each other on important things and that he left me extraordinary, truly exciting artistic and musical memories.

[10:56-16:37] Ave Maria from Act IV of “Otello” by Giuseppe Verdi.

End of EPISODE 8.


EPISODE 9 (broadcast February 29, 2008)

This evening it is the turn of Marco Postinghel, first bassoon of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra preferred by Carlos Kleiber in his last years of activity. Postinghel sketches a profile of Kleiber that oscillates continuously between technique and flight of fancy [volo pindarico]. It is the least “nostalgic” recollection of all, given also the young age of the musician, who unlike Abbado, Pollini, Franzetti, e Veronica Kleiber herself, does not turn out to believe that the secret and the greatness of Carlos Kleiber vanished with him.


MP (Marco Postinghel)

[00:00-00:18] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus,” by Johann Strauss II.

MP: [00:19] I am Marco Postinghel and I am Italian. For 15 years I have been first bassoonist in the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, in this magnificent orchestra that…that is mine! Well, I must say that the rehearsals with him were rather amazing because Kleiber is a person who…didn’t like to speak much, let’s say, with a very musical language. He was a person who opened many doors, speaking a lot in images, examples, also odors, visions, dreams. It was extremely rare that he said: ‘attention, here it is short’, ‘here it is long’, ‘here it is soft,’ ‘here it is loud’, ‘here it arcs up’, ‘here it arcs down.’ He told stories, for him it was this [per lui era questo]. Probably it wasn’t even that, but he simply wanted the musicians to get further away from the ground floor, ecco. In this sense, rehearsals with him are all special because he attacked a symphony, telling, I don’t know…passing from what happened in Jurassic Park, to women who cry in Croazia, to the smell of the woods when it snows, so many forms of…let’s say, a technique that other directors also use, but the way he presented it with this enormous emotionality, this wish of involving all and sundry in his dream, was truly a special thing. In this sense I don’t remember a special rehearsal. For me, they were all special.

[01:51-04:23] “Accelerationen,” op. 324 of Johann Strauss II. Starting at 04:24, it continues playing in the background.

MP: [04:24] Of course people were very glad to play with him, also because he expressed joy. His attacking, his profound belief in the musical message, this soundspeech [Klangrede], this musical speech was for him very natural and, naturally, was very contagious, without doubt especially in concert. Once one was liberated from the burden of the rehearsals, from interpersonal relations, in the moment in which there was the title, that I know, Beethoven,… he had this…there are things in music that are difficult to describe: there are people that have it and those that don’t. He had it. He was fascinated by music and succeeded in communicating it. He had a profound love and succeeded in communicating it. This is an extraordinary quality.

Moreover, I must say that he had a particularly refined gesturality, really like a signature, and it wasn’t copied. In German one speaks of “Kцrpersprache,” an extremely beautiful word that means ‘body language’ [linguaggio del corpo]. He obviously had a body language. A body language that spoke, told, often without the need of words. The eyes, the face, but also the arms, the arms above all. One thing that we envied him for was the fact that he knew how to build energy and then release it, that is, tension and relaxation, dominant and tonic. This relationship that is very important. He helped a lot in building the orchestrea, but when an orchestra had departed on its way [era partita], when it was going along, he no longer directed it. And this is really an extraordinary quality. Because often there’s no need for a conductor. A conductor is needed sometimes, and for those interventions that were necessary he knew how to do extremely well [benissimo], like no one else. Then when the orchestra goes, to do ‘one,’ ‘two,’ ‘three,’ ‘four,’ when the orchestra has already left and is launched, a conductor is not very necessary and he knew it. However, he had a form of control even with arms down, let’s say at the side of the body…Perhaps seen from outside it looked like a motionless body, but he was inside the flux of the music and with a brief gesture of the eyes, of the shoulders or elbows or knees, he succeeded in controlling that which, magari, others, alas, couldn’t.

[06:31-08:24] “Vergnьgungszug,” op. 281 of Johann Straus II. At 08:25, it continues to play in the background.

MP: [08:25] “Give everything for music, dream, let yourself go”: music was truly his extraordinary companion. And perhaps he redimensioned this relationship a bit, so that at bottom the composer is the most important person, then comes the orchestra director, and not the contrary. Naturally, then, they made him what they made him, they made him a mega star, and all that that is desired [tutto quello che si vuole]. However, his attitude was a bit thus, his ‘credo’ was something like this: music, the composer is the one for whom we are here, in short. He had this tremendous ‘credo’ and I find this a marvellous thing. That is, that Ludwig van Beethoven is to be written large and Kleiber a bit smaller. Ecco, this is truly a wonderful thing that few colleagues of his stature have.

With him, concerts were very, very different, one from the other. The level of risk is most high: above all regarding the type of ‘rubato.’ Because the art of stealing [rubare], shifting large masses in the shortest time, as he knew how to do naturally, also carries risks. Rather, from the point of view of the whole, it can work very well or it might not. He almost always succeeded in making it work, but this…this margin, this liberty that was taken on the podium, above all on the evening of the concert, was truly extraordinary

[09:44-11:01] “Frьhlingsstimmen,” op. 410 of Johann Strauss II. From 11:02, it continues in the background.

MP: [11:02] His type of severity was absolutely not tiresome or annoying [fastidiosa], since it was always done because he wanted to go far away, wanted to fly, wanted to carry himself completely away, wanted to make one dream, although naturally you accepted it in another way. It is a type of severity that, indeed, is absolutely necessary, this chisel, this maniacal attack on the musicians, before, during, and after the rehearsals, this following him, writing cards to them, counseling them about something, sitting next to you; for whoever is inwardly, already the fact of being able to go, to be able to range, to take liberties with each other is a thing that is very much lacking nowadays in orchestras and it is a wonderful voyage, beyond the fact that it works for who is outwardly; whoever is inwardly, already the fact of being able to do it is a marvellous thing. If then it works, so much the better; but that’s not the goal. The goal is this striving [Streben], this wonderful German word that means to go far, to look far, to test ourselves.

[11:57-12:59] “Unter Donner und Blitz,” op. 324 of Johann Strauss II.

MP: [13:02] I remember “Fledermaus.” For the overture alone it had taken three, four, five rehearsals. He had the bells brought in and he did like them. This one was too crystal, this knows too much of gold, this one too much of silver, more clearly, more darkly, he changes the bell, more the Croatian bell but no one had heard it, allora. And then he worked a sack on these colors here, these two or three bell strokes in the rehearsal of the Overture. Then, however, the overture starts, he makes ‘rubati’ that are truly incredible. That is, he shifts the attention to something that magari was not central, then however in the principle thing, about which he wasn’t speaking, he did things that left one rather astonished. And, since his energy was enormous [molto grande], they were falling behind him [gli si andava dietro].

[13:41-13:12] Excerpt from the Overture to “Die Fledermaus,” by Johann Strauss II. At 14:13, the music continues in the background.]

MP: [14:13] There’s so much magic in every piece, it’s not that…Fledermaus is a work that is considered a bit…minor. He made it into a crazy masterpiece. But I, the same New Year’s Concert, above all the first one [note: that of 1989], I find that it’s an absolutely inspired thing. That is, to enter in their world, in that world there…probably he is the only one [that did it].

[14:33-18:13] Concluding excerpt from the Overture to “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss II.

End of EPISODE 9

EPISODE 10 (broadcast March 1, 2008)

Grand finale. This tenth and final episode is in fact dedicated entirely to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. The official version of DGG, wth Carlos Kleiber leading the Vienna Philharmonic, and a recording (made available by the Historical Archive of the Teatro alla Scala) that dates to 1982, with Carlos Kleiber leading the London Symphony Orchestra, will be compared.


AO (Andrea Ottonello)
VK (Veronica Kleiber)

[00:00-00:19] Signature theme music of the series: the opening measures of the overture to “Die Fledermaus”

AO: [00:20] I start this final installment of the series dedicated to Kleiber thanking first of all the people who agreed to participate as witnesses, and that therefore I am pleased to cite all together one time. Thus, thank you to Veronica Kleiber, Mirella Freni, Claudio Abbado, Dieter Flury, Giulio Franzetti, Mauro Meli, Maurizion Pollini, and Marco Postinghel. I also want to thank Nicola Pedone, who followed me in direction because without his help and his counsel we would have heard, neither nor you, absolutely nothing. I thank also Toru Mirasawa, Nicoletta Geron, Luciana Pestalozza, Benedetta Scandola, and the Historical Archive of the Teatro alla Scala di Milano...

Тагове:   Kleiber,


1. kleiber - Making copies for non-commercial use is permitted!
02.03.2010 12:27
Making copies for non-commercial use is permitted!
2. анонимен - Henry Raymont
29.10.2010 20:16
Hope somebody may be kind enough to forward this to Veronica Kleiber. Many thanks.
Dear Peaches,
It's been over half a century, I believe, since we all sat together hearing your father's rehearsals at the Teatro Colon. I have always regarded these years as my 'formative' years in developing an intense love--and very high standards--of operatic and symphonic performances. In fact, recently I went back to Buenos Aires just to be present at the 'reopening' of the Colon after several years of 'refracciones'. We now live in Washington where I've continued writing since I left The New York Times after a dozen years on that paper--and almost 20 with the United Press before that. I must tell you also that one of my most lasting memories will be arriving in Copenhagen the same day as your father--he from Buenos Aires, I from New York. I called for him at the L'Anglaterre and we went for a walk. At a certain point, near the port, he stopped and, stooping, touched a cobble stone. He looked up and remarked, 'Raymont, es kommt mir vor als ob in Europe jeder Kieselstein ahtmet Kutlur'. It touched me deeply. Though half a century later I will tell you that i have become so enamored with the US, especially with Washington, that I surely have lost some of the spell Europe once exercised on me. A spell that was put much into question in the 30s and 40s.
Hope this finds you well--in Italy? Would love to hear from you.

Henry Raymont
2500 Q Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 333 5029
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