C0381. ERICH KLEIBER Cond. Kölner Rundfunks S.O.: New World Symphony #9 in e, Live Performance, 16 Nov., 1954; w.ANTONIO JANIGRO: Cello Concerto in b, Live Performance, 23 March, 1955 (both Dvorák). (Germany) Archipel 0329. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 4035122403299
“Italian-born conductor and cellist Antonio Janigro is best known to contemporary audiences for his many recordings with the chamber orchestra I Solisti di Zagreb, an ensemble he founded in 1954. Staples of the record-store Baroque section for many years, they helped build the enormous popularity that has since come to the music of Vivaldi and his contemporaries, and they still hold up well as widely available reissues. Janigro came to Baroque music fairly late in life, however. His recordings as a conductor capped a musical career touched by two world wars.
Janigro once described the atmosphere of his childhood as musical but tragic. He was born in 1918 in Milan to a pianist father whose career had ended when he lost an arm to a sharpshooter in World War I. Janigro started out on piano but switched to the cello at age eight, winning admission to the Verdi Conservatory a year later. At age 11 he performed for Pablo Casals, who recommended Janigro for admission to the prestigious École Normale de Musique in Paris. Studying there in the mid-1930s, he had Casals and Nadia Boulanger as teachers, Dinu Lipatti and Ginette Neveu as classmates, and Stravinsky as an eminence. His repertoire as a performer would range from early music to brand-new compositions. Practicing his cello on a train from Paris to Milan, Janigro was heard by a talent agent, and his career was launched.
After a promising start as a recitalist, Janigro took a vacation to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, just as World War II broke out. Essentially stranded, he began a new career as professor of cello at the Zagreb Conservatory. He continued to tour internationally and to teach cello after the war, with a stint at the conservatory in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 1965 to 1974. In Yugoslavia, however, he worked increasingly often as a conductor. At the behest of the government he formed the Zagreb Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, serving as its conductor from 1954 to 1964. Taking advantage of Yugoslavia's relative independence from the Soviet domination, he also conducted several top Western European orchestras, but his most extensive touring came with I Solisti di Zagreb. That group, although not affiliated with the historical performance practice movement, offered crisp readings of Baroque orchestral works that sharply diverged from the bloated symphony performances that were the norm at the time.”
- James Manheim, allmusic.com
“Erich Kleiber decided to become a conductor while still a student at the Prague Conservatory after hearing Gustav Mahler conducting his Sixth Symphony. As choirmaster at the German Theater in Prague, he made his conducting début in 1911 directing the music for a stage comedy. A composer in his student years, his works include violin and piano concertos, orchestral and chamber works.
Following a series of appointments as conductor at Darmstadt, Barmen-Eberfeld, Düsseldorf, and Mannheim, he became general music director of the Berlin State Opera in 1923. In addition to the mainstream repertory, Kleiber introduced unfamiliar works such as Schönberg's PIERROT LUNAIRE, Janácek's JENUFA, Bittner's DAS ROSENGÄRTLEIN, and, after an astounding 132 rehearsals, gave the first U.S. performance of Berg's WOZZECK in 1924. His U.S. début as an orchestral conductor was with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1930.
As conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and a friend of Alban Berg, Kleiber was planning a Berlin performance of the five symphonic interludes from Berg's opera LULU, but, incensed by the Nazi regime's hostility to atonal music and growing political interference in his choice of programs, he resigned his Berlin post in 1934, left Germany, and appeared as guest conductor in London, Prague, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, and Salzburg. In 1939, Kleiber took up residence in Buenos Aires and became an Argentine citizen. He conducted opera at the Teatro Colón, trained the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra and toured extensively in South America with various orchestras. From 1943 he was with the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra, leaving for Europe in 1948.
In postwar Europe, Kleiber was ready to return to his roots. In 1951, he accepted the position of conductor at the Berlin State Opera, then located in the Communist sector of East Berlin, and from 1950 to 1953 conducted at London's Covent Garden opera house. Once again, however, he became dissatisfied with the atmosphere of repression and resigned his Berlin post in 1955. Before his relatively early death, he appeared as guest conductor of orchestras in London, Vienna, Cologne, Stuttgart, and other European centers.
Despite his early enthusiasm for twentieth century music, Kleiber is best remembered for minutely rehearsed and finely balanced interpretations of Beethoven, Mahler, and Bruckner. Even when in Berlin, where much of the Classical and Romantic repertory was familiar to the performers, he usually called five rehearsals before a concert. A perfectionist by nature, he insisted on complete faithfulness to the score. In his words, ‘[t]here are only two enemies of good performance: one is routine and the other improvisation’.
After his death, a performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra became available on CD, as did the ROSENKAVALIER he recorded in 1954.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com