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09.03.2010 15:45 - CARLOS KLEIBER – FLAMBOYANT STAR, ENIGMATIC GENIUS by Alexander Werner
Автор: kleiber Категория: Музика   
Прочетен: 3920 Коментари: 1 Гласове:

Последна промяна: 09.03.2010 15:46

When Carlos Kleiber made these recordings of the rehearsals and concert
performance of the overtures to Die Fledermaus and Der Freischьtz with the
Sьdfunk-Sinfonieorchester in the spring of 1970 – a documentary made
at Stuttgart’s Villa Berg for the SDR television series Bei der Arbeit beobachtet
– he was already one of the most sought-after conductors of his day. He
had earned an international reputation as the most gifted – as well as the
most difficult – conductor of his generation, with successes such as Alban
Berg’s Wozzeck, directed by Gьnther Rennert, at the Wьrttembergische
Staatsoper (1966), Carl Maria von Weber’s Freischьtz, with Walter Felsenstein
(1967), and Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, not to mention a whole
string of triumphs at the Bavarian State Opera from 1968 onwards. Kleiber
was a man who set himself enormously high standards, a musician who
answered only to the music, striving intensively – obsessively, almost – after
months poring meticulously over scores, to make each work sound as the
composer would have wanted it to sound and as befitted his ideals. He
had little time for the humdrum routines of the orchestras and opera houses,
his implacable demands on the subject of rehearsals, orchestra personnel
and orchestral discipline regularly triggered crises among opera house
and concert hall staff. This highly intelligent, well-read, sensitive, charming,
disarmingly humorous, occasionally cynical and irascible man was all too
easily dismissed as an eccentric, his spectacular cancellations, curiously
limited discography and outright rejection of publicity often interpreted
not as the expression of a profound artistic sensitivity, but as the
capriciousness of an exceptionally gifted but flamboyant personality.
Many legends swirled around him during his lifetime, and even after his
death in 2004 Carlos Kleiber initially remained a seemingly unapproachable
and enigmatic genius, a unique phenomenon in the history of classical
music. His passionate performances explored entirely new musical worlds,
and brought Kleiber enormous critical acclaim in the 1970s with the world’s
greatest orchestras and at all the major opera houses, whether in Vienna, Bayreuth, Munich, Berlin, Chicago, Amsterdam, Milan, London, New York
or on tour in Japan.

It became clear at an early stage that the path to becoming the twentieth
century’s most glittering star of the conducting rostrum would be a thorny
one. Karl Ludwig Bonifacius Kleiber was born on 3 July 1930, the son of
an American mother, Ruth Goodrich, and Austrian father, Erich Kleiber,
who at the time was the general musical director of the Berlin Staatsoper
Unter den Linden and a musician whom many ranked alongside Wilhelm
Furtwдngler as the most important conductor during the first half of the
century. For a long time, too little was known about Carlos Kleiber’s childhood,
his teenage years as an йmigrй and his musical awakening in South America,
to shed light on the anecdotes surrounding the widely rumoured dysfunctional
relationship between father and son. When Erich Kleiber turned his
back on Nazi Germany in 1935, it was the start of a period of restless
travelling for his wife and children. Educated at elite boarding schools in
Europe, and from 1940 onwards in South America, Carlos grew up painfully
detached from normal family life – a fact that helps explain why he
subsequently came to regard his private space as sacrosanct and why his
family meant so much to him once he married the Slovenian dancer
Stanislava Brezovar in 1961 and fathered two children. Erich Kleiber watched
his son’s evident musical talent and his desire to follow in his father’s footsteps
with a mixture of pride and concern. He considered a musical career too
insecure in the turmoil of the post-war years and saw only too clearly just
how much a burden he represented for his son. Moreover, as he had been
careful to impress upon his son, mediocrity was not acceptable for a
Kleiber. But in 1950, Carlos’ unbending determination to follow his inner
calling eventually convinced his father, and after a semester studying
chemistry in Zurich, Carlos returned to Buenos Aires to study with the best
music teachers his father could find. After the theory came years of
painstaking practice in the unloved profession of repetiteur, first at the theatre
in La Plata, then at the Gдrtnerplatz Theater in Munich and Vienna’s
Volksoper, and from 1957, following his debut at the Hans-Otto-Theater in Potsdam, at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where in 1960 Carlos Kleiber
finally mounted the conducting rostrum as kapellmeister and launched a
rich and diverse conducting career. He came to Stuttgart after an interim
period in Zurich. Kleiber’s rise had been meteoric, his place in the pantheon
of conducting greats now assured. And yet he was constantly tormented
by self-doubt, and by the fear that he would never achieve the ideals he
harboured inside. His father, the perfectionist genius who had worked so
hard to make music blossom with such transparency and passion, remained
the musical role model Carlos consciously tried to emulate throughout his
life with all his heart and might. Despite this, Carlos Kleiber developed a
style of his own, remaining to the end an eternal searcher, always experimenting
and trying out new ideas, opening up scores to reveal previously
unheard nuances, creating mesmerising links and transitions, developing
clean structures and captivating audiences with his impassioned verve,
colourful poetry, beguiling dynamism and incisive rhythm. In his hands
orchestras played beyond themselves, finding inspiration in his temperament,
his charisma, his rehearsal work and his unconventional baton technique –
a feature that demanded utmost concentration from every player.
The recordings with Sьddeutscher Rundfunk from 1970 provide a very rare
and exclusive insight into Kleiber’s often highly original attempts to verbally
communicate his vision to his musicians. For Kleiber was notoriously camera
shy. Even at the height of his fame in the mid 1970s, when he was hailed
the rising star of the conducting world and his fame seemed irresistible,
the first signs of a slow withdrawal from the public sphere were already
discernible. From 1972 onwards Kleiber no longer seemed interested in
accepting permanent posts, despite the many highly attractive offers that
came his way; and throughout the 1980s his public appearances diminished,
he restricted his repertoire and turned down a growing number of engagements.
By the 1990s his disillusionment was such that he retreated further
from the music industry that continued to court him like no other, but
which had ground him down in a never-ending struggle over optimum
working conditions. Following a final tour with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in 1999, he stepped out of the limelight for
good in order to devote himself to private study. Until the last, the musical
world hoped for a comeback from this exceptional conductor – though by
this stage both age and illness were taking their toll. Nevertheless, the
shocking news of Carlos Kleiber’s death on 13 July 2004 at his Slovenian
holiday home in Konjsica near Zagorje ob Savi caught the musical world
off guard. He found his final resting place at the small village cemetery
alongside his wife Stanka, whose death preceded his own by just six

Alexander Werner
(Author of the book „Carlos Kleiber. Eine Biografie“, published by Schott,

Тагове:   Star,   Kleiber,


1. kleiber - Making copies for non-commercial use is permitted!
09.03.2010 15:47
Making copies for non-commercial use is permitted!
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Автор: kleiber
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