- Hardcover: 404 pages
- Publisher: Scarecrow Press; 1 edition (Nov. 30 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0810881438
- ISBN-13: 978-0810881433
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.2 x 23.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 726 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #623,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Corresponding with Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber Hardcover – Nov 30 2011
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There's much, much more to Kleiber than the myth-making. At least there is now, thanks to Charles Barber's astonishing new book, Corresponding with Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber. Charles had a unique relationship with Kleiber. As a conducting student at Stanford University, with dazzling boldness and naivety, he wrote to Kleiber out of the blue and said he wanted to study with him. The key was Barber's use of humour and irony to attempt to elicit a response from Kleiber – it worked. Barber never formally became a student of Kleiber's (nobody ever did), but from 1989 until the maestro's death, he corresponded with the supposedly unknowable Carlos, and as well as vivid account of Kleiber's life, Barber's book publishes pretty well the complete letters he received. And they're a revelation. Kleiber proves as virtuosically funny and self-deprecating as he was incandescent on the podium....Barber's book does more than any other I know to simultaneously reveal the truth behind the Kleiber myths and to illuminate the deeper mystery of how his recordings and films continue to have such a talismanic power. This is a brilliant summary of Kleiber's way of making music. (The Guardian)
Barber is artistic director of City Opera Vancouver, with a longstanding, busy career in California music life, including contributions to Classical Voice. Corresponding With Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber offers unique insights into how Kleiber worked. This biography considers his singular aesthetic, his playful and often erudite sense of humor, his reputation for perfectionism, his much-studied baton technique, and the famous concert and opera performances he conducted. It explores the great conductor’s musical lineage and the contemporary contexts in which he worked. (San Francisco Classical Voice)
Once the book turns from biographical sketch to lively correspondence, we get the thrill of reading―hearing―the voice of Carlos Kleiber, and all is light. (The Wall Street Journal)
Charles Barber's book on Carlos Kleiber is fascinating, remarquable and unexpected....Rich in details....it contains unique jewels as one can appreciate Kleiber's encyclopedic knowledge....While Charles Barber’s book is comprehensive, it is easy to read and the author fascination and respect is palpable at every page....This is probably the musical book of the year. (ConcertoNet: The Classical Music Network)
Charles Barber’s Corresponding with Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber represents an admiring younger conductor’s efforts, begun during his graduate-student days, to draw out a brilliant but eccentric and reclusive maestro through multiple layers of correspondence. (SymphonyNOW)
This is mainly a book so fascinating that for once the ‘impossible to put down’ cliché is appropriate. Charles Barber was, in 1989, a young music teacher and conductor who sent a short letter to Kleiber, and to his amazement received a reply a few days later. He wanted to be Kleiber’s student, but there could be no question of that. Instead, they became frequent correspondents, and all of Kleiber’s letters concerning music are published here, with enough of Barber’s to make the exchanges intelligible….What makes Kleiber’s correspondence with Barber especially interesting is that Barber regularly sent Kleiber video cassettes of the great conductors, eliciting a deluge of comments on their style, greatness (or weaknesses), and their music. Kleiber’s criticism alternates with his commentary on his own slender repertoire and his growing distaste for conducting….The first 180 pages are devoted to a biographical sketch, with many quotations from letters: illuminating, but I doubt whether many readers will be able to resist the temptation to leap ahead to the epistolary section. (BBC Music Magazine)
As a musician and old Kleiber fan, one cannot resist the temptation to whole-heartedly recommend this book. (Teatro Colón Magazine)
‘An artist par excellence’, and ‘creativity par exellence’ - those are the definitions that come to mind when one thinks of Carlos Kleiber. Each time he conducted, it seemed that the music was being created anew that very moment in all its greatness, beauty and freshness. How wonderful that now we have a book about this genius. Bravo and many heartfelt thanks to Dr. Charles Barber for his work! (Evgeny Kissin, pianist)
Having heard most of the world's best conductors in the last 35 years, I can safely say that none brought so much passion, energy and exquisite musicality and beauty to their work as did Carlos Kleiber. La Bohéme and Der Rosenkavalier under his baton at the Met will remain among my most treasured memories. In this fascinating work Charles Barber offers a rare glimpse into the enigma that was Carlos Kleiber. (Valéry Ryvkin, conductor)
About the Author
Charles Barber is artistic director of City Opera Vancouver. He is the author of Lost in the Stars: The Forgotten Musical Life of Alexander Siloti (Scarecrow, 2002). More information can be seen on his website www.correspondingwithcarlos.com
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is a wonder in itself. Carlos Kleiber is an enigma that defies what we understand to be a conductor's mission in classical music to be
There are pages that may be trying in the attempt to get closer the the man himself but a brief survey of You Tube by those who knew Carlos (and father) can see and hear their comments and appreciate the man in a more visceral way. For me my several recordings esp the Sony cd/dvd of 1989 and 1992 with the Vienna Phil and the 1975 Beethoven #5 and #7 with Vienna Phil and the Beethoven #7 with the live performance of 1982 with the Bavarian State Orchestra on Orfeo are revelatory. Any other conductors are mere baton twirlers. The author does as much as anyone can decipher the enigma of Carlos and his place in classical music.
Now to explain why I think so. That's hard. It's a unique book about an astonishing conductor, one who was voted best conductor of the 20th century by his fellow conductors. So far, so good.
It's book that should be spread around. I've bought seven copies for friends. They might lend theirs out, but I won't lend mine. That's another reason, but it still doesn't explain much.
I'm having a problem here. So let me hand that problem over Tom Service, who gives the book a rave review in The Guardian. Under the title "Carlos Kleiber: the Myth Revealed", he explains the rare circumstance by which Mr. Barber could write it.
His review also includes a link to a portion of a video biography. That video tells more than either Mr. Service or I can. Along with many comments by friends and family, it shows Kleiber in rehearsal and in performance. Listen to the music Kleiber elicits from his orchestra, and watch his face while he's doing it.
When you see that face, you'll be a believer.
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