John Grillo continues to expand his offerings at ClassicalMusicNews.tv, writing a recent post about the reclusive and enigmatic conductor Carlos Kleiber. Carlos graced the classical music world with some of the greatest recordings of all time, especially his dynamite recordings of Beethoven 5 and 7.
Carlos was known for his disdain of recordings in general–a likely reason why he produced so few himself. John describes this in his recent post, mentioning:
Kleiber decided that he never wanted to have a permanent position. He was the first choice to succeed Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic, and after they offered him the position he declined. He conducted all the venerated opera houses and orchestras of Europe with his specific repertoire. He was known to dislike recordings and was quoted as saying “every unproduced record is a good record.”
He only appeared in the United States a handful of times. He first concert was conducting Otello with the San Francisco Opera in 1977. In 1980 he conducted the Chicago Symphony and a few years later he conducted the Metropolitan Opera in the works of La Boheme, Otello, and Der Rosenkavalier. There is a interesting story when he made his debut at the Met. There was a tremendous amount of anticipation and excitement about the famed Kleiber coming to conduct. They scheduled extra rehearsals for this storied debut. Pavorotti was the tenor accompanied by the sublime Mirella Freni. He cancelled most of the rehearsals with the orchestra and just left the room and said see you at the concert. Kleiber was notorious for cancelling rehearsals with the anticipation of a fresh and extemporaneous concert. With Leonard Bernstein in the audience, the opera performance was amazing. The audience applause would go on and on. The legendary Maestro made his mark.
Read the rest of the post here, along with some excellent YouTube vids of Carlos in action. John has really been putting out some great content on ClassicalMusicNews.tv, and I’m excited to see this project develop over time. Check out John’s educational series on orchestral excerpts here–highly recommended!