Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Carlos Kleiber 1930-2004

Via Lynn Sislo I see that conductor Carlos Kleiber has died. Like Lynn, I am not terribly familiar with Kleiber's work, except via one recording. Luckily, that recording was a very fine one indeed; unluckily, I no longer own it (I owned a taped copy from my high school music teacher's LPs). It was this recording of Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischutz, which to this day is one of my very favorite operas. It's full of earthy German choruses, several wonderful arias, and a hair-raising scene involving the Devil (a scene which, being constructed around the tritone, is an important forebear of Wagner's leitmotif technique).

My current version of Der Freischutz -- on CD, of course -- is Sir Colin Davis's (with Staatskapelle Dresden), and while it's quite good, to this day whenever I listen to it I hear things that I liked better in Kleiber's version, even though it's well over ten years since my tapes faded to nothingness.

I also recall Kleiber's 1992 New Year's From Vienna concert on PBS, which was enjoyable as always but not as fine as Herbert von Karajan's 1987 version.

No comments: