Notes and Editorial Reviews
This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard DVD players.
Also available on standard DVD
CARLOS KLEIBER: I am lost to the world
Carlos Kleiber, cond
C MAJOR 715304 (Blu-ray: 58:32)
A film by Georg Wübbolt
This hour-long documentary, produced for German television in 2010 and available previously on standard definition DVD, provides an invaluable amplification of our
understanding of an enigmatic figure that many consider the greatest conductor of the 20th century. Kleiber—born Karl, but Carlos after his emigration to Argentina from Nazi Europe in 1940 at the age of 10—was famously unforthcoming when it came to interviews, and relatively little of his extraordinary music-making has been preserved: His “complete recordings” for Deutsche Grammophon amounts to 12 CDs. For the last two decades of his life, his conducting appearances became increasingly rare, punctuated by unpredictable cancellations. Herbert von Karajan cynically observed: “Kleiber only conducts when the fridge is empty.”
Carlos Kleiber: I am lost to the world,
directed by Georg Wübbolt, is narrated by brief recollections from musicians who knew him, mostly rank-and-file orchestral players but also some higher profile admirers, including Riccardo Muti, Michael Gielen, Ileana Cotrubas, Otto Schenk, and the renowned opera coach Richard Trimborn, who worked closely with Kleiber preparing singers in Düsseldorf during the early part of his career. (Kleiber was an effective repetiteur but didn’t play the piano all that well; Trimborn collaborated from the keyboard.) Kleiber’s reputation as an uncompromising perfectionist who could sometimes puzzle and frustrate musicians is deserved, but mostly he’s remembered as an extremely effective communicator in rehearsal, self-deprecating and funny. He always seems to be enjoying himself when music is being played. The complex relationship between Carlos and his conductor father Erich is explored, as is an apparent familial tendency toward psychological instability. It’s strongly implied that Kleiber and both of his parents committed suicide.
The most valuable part of the documentary may be the archival footage of Kleiber rehearsing orchestras, especially a film of him conducting the Liebestod at Bayreuth, where he led legendary performances of
Tristan und Isolde
in 1974, 1975, and 1976. This film, shot with the “conductor’s camera” in the pit of the Festspielhaus, reveals a musician in the thrall of music that had great meaning to him and fully able to communicate his understanding and passion to the performing forces before him. It should have you running to listen to one of Kleiber’s recordings of the complete work.
The documentary (not the historical footage, of course) was filmed in HD and subtitles in German, English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean are provided.
I am lost to the world
is actually one of two video considerations of the conductor to appear in recent years:
Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere
was released in 2011. Anything that further fleshes out our appreciation of this singular artist is most welcome.
FANFARE: Andrew Quint
Works on This Recording
Work(s) by Various
Be the first to review this title