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Symphonies - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
When talking about Carlos Kleiber's conducting style and recording catalogue, it is easy to over-use superlatives. Perhaps the secrets of his art are best expressed in the cover picture, with the mad elegance of his gestures, which seem to summon up the music through sheer energy, subtlety and a radiant smile: he seems absolutely possessed by inspiration. But listening to this album should do the trick too. Living as a recluse, cancelling three quarters of his concerts, hardly ever recording, it was like a miracle when Carlos Kleiber agreed to set down these two symphonies for Deutsche Grammphon. In 1975, he recorded the 5th Symphony in the generous surroundings of the Vienna Musikverein, with a Philharmonic that hung off his every word and followed his slightest gesture. Under his philosopher's baton, the "5th" became pure, distilled energy, an explosive Pandora's box that gave off sparks and followed the demands of the score precisely. The fateful four notes around which the entire symphony was built were at once the foundation and the capstone of this landmark work, magnificently structured here by Kleiber. Has there ever been such a tempestuous and light-footed Seventh Symphony? One thinks immediately of Nietzsche: "I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance". Recorded the following year, in the same place, this Seventh soars, pirouettes and exults in a pantheist, saving joy, with a lightness that seems to lift the musicians off the floor. "Now am I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under myself. Now there danceth a God in me.". Thus directed Carlos Kleiber. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released November 4, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released September 1, 1973 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 1, 1982 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
CD£55.99

Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Music - Released March 9, 1992 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Opera Extracts - Released January 1, 1977 | Universal Music Group International

Booklet
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Full Operas - Released August 27, 2008 | Opera d'Oro

CD£14.39

Full Operas - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

CD£15.99

Full Operas - Released August 8, 2006 | Opera d'Oro

This live recording of Tristan und Isolde, from the 1974 Bayreuth Festival, conducted by Carlos Kleiber, is notable for its energy and impetuosity, and its occasionally astonishing speed. Moments that in many performances can sound ponderously momentous here have a fleet recklessness that seems far more appropriate both musically and dramatically. The ending of the Prelude, taken much faster than usual, is a thrilling analog for the heedless passion that's soon to overtake the protagonists. Kleiber holds the singers and orchestra together for his wild ride, and for all his rhythmic flexibility and unpredictability, his reading has a sense of naturalistic inevitability. While this is not a dream cast (the very possibility of assembling such a thing for a performance or recording of Tristan is probably a chimaera), all the soloists are fully convincing dramatically, even if they are not vocally the most memorable singers ever to take on these roles. Catarina Ligendza is an appealingly young-sounding Isolde, and she also has the power to negotiate the role's huge demands. Helge Brilioth's heroic Tristan is sung with strength and fervor. Largely due to Kleiber's vision and his ability to carry his performers along with him, this revelatory performance of Tristan should be of interest to anyone who loves the opera.
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Full Operas - Released November 13, 2007 | Opera d'Oro

Although it might seem reasonable to prefer Carlos Kleiber's later 1994 recording of Der Rosenkavalier for Deutsche Grammophon -- after all, it has the Felicity Lott, Anne Sofie von Otter, Barbara Bonney, and Kurt Moll, plus the Weiner Philharmoniker and first-class DG sound -- there are still compelling reasons to hear his earlier 1974 recording. For one thing, Kleiber seems much more relaxed but not one wit less intense, much more funny but not one tittle less dramatic, much more human but not one jot less sublimely lyrical. For another thing, Karl Ridderbusch is a fabulous Baron Ochs. Hilarious but not a caricature, Ridderbusch's Ochs may be a jerk but he's no fool. For another thing, Claire Watson is a superlative Marshallin. Sexy but womanly wise, Watson's Marshallin may not be as young as she used to be but she's more attractive than she's ever been. For another thing, Brigitte Fassbaender is a fabulous Octavian. Utterly natural and supremely artful, Fassbaender may be a woman in a man's role but she's all man in her opening scene with Watson. While one might plausibly prefer the lushness of the Weiner Philharmoniker to the robustness of Bavarian State Opera Orchestra, and while one might certainly prefer the magnificent DG sound to this dim live Opera d'Oro sound, one might wish to hear both recordings before making a decision about which to keep on the shelf. (Hint: the answer is both.)