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13.08.2011 15:20 - Carlos Kleiber – son, musician and fairy-tale character, by Andreas Gunther.
Автор: kleiber Категория: Музика   
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Последна промяна: 13.08.2011 15:22

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 Perhaps our children will one day accuse us of merely having invented Carlos
Kleiber. A fairytale character from a bygone century. A kind of Paul Bunyan. A tall
but very eccentric man who could work wonders and then disappear over night. This
is how the fairy tale would be told in the style of the Grimm brothers. Other,
technically savvy children will then prove that we generated Carlos Kleiber on a
computer and gave the concert videos a virtual touch-up. Why should we have done
such a thing? Because we needed the dream of a strange, solitary, great maestro.
The last of his kind. An uncompromising, wise teacher of knowledge, a brooder, a
saint. When this CD was in planning, Carlos Kleiber was still among the living. And
every concert fan could indulge the fantasy that the maestro would maybe appear
sometime, guided by a friendly humor – perhaps even tomorrow in the concert hall
around the corner or the opera house in the next town. If only the fee, the rehearsal
time, the air pressure were right. Finished, gone, a dream with nothing to nourish it.
Carlos Kleiber died on July 13, 2004, shortly after his 74th birthday.
At first, there was hope that it might have been a mistake, a tactless newspaper
joke. Like the way Friedrich Gulda fooled the journalists by announcing his own
death prematurely – just for fun. Carlos Kleiber would well have been capable of the
same kind of thing just to get some peace and quiet. »From heaven above«, as
Kleiber wrote, for instance, in a telex to the then head of the Munich Philharmonic,
Sergiu Celibidache, with a smug message saying that up there everyone was simply
crazy about Herbert (von Karajan – Celibidache"s arch-rival) – and signed »lots of
fun and affectionate wishes from Arturo (Toscanini)«. A bizarre humor marked this
man, who loved to taunt people; Carlos Kleiber liked best to bring the powerful in
the music industry into awkward situations – just as they were wont to cause him
conflicts with his creative conscience. Five days before a premiere Carlos Kleiber is
said to have called up a concert manager and offered to serve himself as a
substitute, well aware that the job had already been awarded for a great deal of
money to another and that the manager would in no case risk inviting the wrath of
the official conductor, but would now spend sleepless nights at having missed a
miraculous appearance by Carlos Kleiber. The scene is full of anecdotes about how
»meticulously« Kleiber would have conducted this or that work, how he forbid this
or that recording at the last minute, even though the check was already signed and
the first CD’s already pressed.
Every myth, every fairy tale gets its life from the fact that the main character is
impalpable. The gods live in Valhalla or on Mount Olympus and rarely if ever show
themselves. The same goes for Carlos Kleiber. In the latter years of his life he
seldom left his house in Grьnwald near Munich, a good place for all kinds of
fantasies and elite things. The Sьddeutsche Zeitung newspaper once summarized
the attractions of Grьnwald in two double half sentences: »Those who live here do
not work here, and those who work here do not live here.« A luxury village for highearning
Germans, supplemented at most by gardeners and domestic servants. In
the library with its grand piano is where Carlos Kleiber will have lined up the scores
his father left him and which the son used as a basis for his own conducting efforts.
These also included the sheet music to the Second Symphony by Alexander Borodin.
Erich Kleiber had acquired it from Arturo Toscanini shortly after the Second World
War for four evenings with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in New York. Kleiber
opened the series on December 20, 1947 with Borodin"s rarely heard Symphony in
B Minor. Another item for all fans of good fairy tales: on almost exactly the same
day 25 years after this concert – on December 12, 1972 – son Carlos interpreted
the symphony in the old world of Europe with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony
Orchestra. Whoever still believes this was a mere coincidence should compare the
length of time of the various movements: the son precisely follows his father,
almost to the second. And yet in their most important aspects, the two
interpretations sound almost contrary. With Carlos Kleiber, the »fever« is higher.
More is at stake. More that could be lost. The love of a dead father?
Which again is what the hobby psychologists among Kleiber »connoisseurs«
posthumously ask from their imaginary sofa: what was your relationship with your
father? Did he really forbid you to conduct, considering you incompetent? Did you
feel as if you stood in his shadow? Why did you so seldom leave your Olympus in
For music enthusiasts, it was Hades. For here is where Carlos Kleiber indulged
himself in peace and tranquility, spent time with his family, watched television and
did nothing. A crime against his ability, murdering his talent. O to be Orpheus and
bring the poor soul back to the light of day! In such moments, talk of »psychological
problems« is soon heard. But who needed, who now needs therapy – the reclusive
master or his pining fans? For more than twelve years Carlos Kleiber had recorded
no CD, for ten years he had not conducted an opera, had not held a concert since
the new century began. What is often forgotten in all the whining – at the beginning
of the new millennium Carlos Kleiber was already seventy years of age. It was only
thanks to his abstinence from the media that he appeared so eternally young and
dynamic. The Marlene Dietrich effect. By all European rights, he should have been
entitled to spend the happy, golden last years of his life in peace. No worldly or
higher power could force him to return to one of the most stressful jobs in this
world. Which is why there was such hysterical elation at the news in 2003 that
Carlos Kleiber was »being considered« for the Salzburg Festival – for the new
»Rosenkavalier« in 2004. But as was so often the case, this was merely a spark in
the ocean of the classical music industry"s insatiable thirst for hallowed moments. It
came to nothing. It was at best preposterous that the Salzburg Festival dedicated
the premiere of that very »Rosenkavalier« to the deceased conductor. Tears on
display for a vague dream. And another surreal moment: Carlos Kleiber is being
sought even after his death. Early announcements from a Slovenian news agency
reported that the maestro had found his last resting place next to his recently
deceased wife – in a double grave near his vacation home in a small town called
Konjsica in eastern Slovenia. In all the hubbub of the obituaries (»The volcano is
extinct«) a notice from his son to the arts editor of a large daily newspaper had
been overlooked: wrong – Carlos Kleiber"s last resting place is in Switzerland – »The
volcano is still among us (!)«. The family could not be induced to give more exact
information. However, the Kleibers keep a family grave at the Hцnggerberg
Cemetery in Zurich. Father Erich Kleiber led the clan. It is 780 kilometers from
Zurich to Konjsica. What distance would Carlos Kleiber have wanted to be away
from his father? How much closeness, how much distance would the two spirits
bear? Mystical designs beyond the point of death. Perhaps our children will one day
claim that we merely invented both of them.

Andreas Gьnther

Тагове:   carlos kleiber,


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