Slippedisc daily comfort zone (70): Carlos Kleiber’s Merry Wives

Slippedisc daily comfort zone (70): Carlos Kleiber’s Merry Wives

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

July 04, 2021

You will never see or hear a better masterclass in the art of conducting.



  • Nicolai says:

    Pure genius!

  • Evan Tucker says:

    See your Kleiber and raise you a Beecham:

    Also, didn’t you write an article right after Kleiber died about how he wasn’t a great conductor?

    • Erich says:

      Yes. Beecham (and his orchestra) offer more character!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, most of us haven’t forgotten that howler. OK, it might have been the sub which put that there, but he divined the headline from reading the item beforehand.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    It will be 17 years next week since Kleiber died. Can’t believe how quickly that’s gone!!

  • E says:

    Enchanting! Look at the sway of
    the violinists as they play…
    New Year’s, 1992.

  • O.D. Jones says:

    Both Carlos’ and his father Erich’s Beethoven recordings are never far from the turntable or CD player. It’s always fascinating to see the younger Kleiber in action as well. I recall a post here a few months back from a Mexican performance of Beethoven’s 5th, or at least the very beginning of that performance; the moment when both the conductor and the performers all engage for that classic symphonic opening is also a masterclass in conducting.

  • Jack says:

    I love Kleiber but watch his brilliant and rigorous rehearsals and you’ll know that’s where the genius lies. That’s where the masterclass in conducting really happens.

    In the concert hall he’s just moving things along.

  • Herbie G says:

    A magical performance. How sad that he left so few recordings – a was a true genius of the baton who never ever sought celebrity status like some others we might think of…

  • V.Lind says:

    A favourite piece of mine. I happened to hear it for the first time years ago on CBC, and equally by chance saw it in a box at a charity shop a few weeks later. Not often that sort of luck happens — I’m still looking for a Maria of Buenos Aires that will not break the bank!

  • Dan Kujala says:


  • RW2013 says:

    the usual man-crush-inducing smarmy choreography.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    sensational conducting- makes most of the over paid charlatans on the podium today look completely pallid in comparison

  • John Salter says:

    Jack, above, refers to Kleiber’s rehearsals where all the hard work was done, no doubt enabling the orchestra to play the piece without apparently any member needing to glance up at him during the actual performance.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, I wondered about that too. And I didn’t detect any markings on their scores either.

  • Player says:

    Posted on what would have been his 91st birthday.

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    This is an historical recording for different reasons. Gerhard Hetzel was leading and this would be his last New Year’s Day Concert. Sitting next to him is Werner Hink also a Concertmaster,now retired Behind Gerhard is Rainer Honeck who is the Principal Concertmaster and sitting by Rainer is Eckhardt Seifert who has now retired You can see Ernst Ottenshammer in the 1st Principal Clarinet role who passed away four years ago I believe and his son has the role now.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Ottensamer was, I think, only 61 years old. The Hetzel incident was just horrific; hiking during the Salzburg Festival and killed when is head hit a rock. Gentlemen and ladies: wear protective head ware PLEASE.

      I haven’t noticed Daniel Ottensamer in the VPO for some time now, nor Andreas in the BPO.

  • SMH says:

    Let’s face up to the truth, the Vienna Phil could easily play this without someone up there waving a stick around that produces zero sound.

    • Ashu says:

      [Let’s face up to the truth, the Vienna Phil could easily play this without someone up there waving a stick around that produces zero sound.]

      Sure, but they wouldn’t sound like they did with Kleiber.

  • As a Strauss fanatic, I treasure my Boskovsky’s, which are classic, but the Kleiber from 1989 is really something that is almost from another planet in terms of what he does with music we all know so well…but the same could be said of his Beethoven 5 or Brahms 4. Also to the other poster who said some silly things about the unimportance of a conductor’s role in this repertoire with the Viennese, take a listen to the same concert from two years earlier when it was Karajan’s turn — also a magnificent show, but utterly, completely different in about every way imaginable.