Carlos Kleiber; Ludwig, Kmentt  (Wiener Konzerthaus WS007)
Item# C1307
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Carlos Kleiber; Ludwig, Kmentt  (Wiener Konzerthaus WS007)
C1307. CARLOS KLEIBER Cond. Vienna S.O., w.Christa Ludwig & Waldemar Kmentt: Das Lied von der Erde (Mahler). (Austria) Wiener Konzerthaus WS007, Live Performance, 7 June, 1967 - Kleiber's sole encounter with Mahler's music, now in a vastly improved sound transfer, far superior to earlier efforts. A monumental, magical performance! - 4260313960071


“Despite universal adoration, [Kleiber] cancelled almost as often as he showed up. He was moody, hyper-sensitive, childishly demanding, reclusive, a perfectionist, a kind of nervously brilliant adolescent, easily upset; he hated the recording studio and loved women and nature, running off to some hideaway in Slovenia and staring at the fields for hours. He died there, alone. A complete mystery. Herbert von Karajan, a mentor to him, was amazed by the public diffidence of so obviously talented a man, and, in fact, Kleiber turned down the directorship of the Berlin Philharmonic when von Karajan resigned, in 1989.”

- David Denby, THE NEW YORKER, 1 May, 2012

“Having played in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under many conductors, it was my great fortune to make music with Carlos Kleiber when he conducted four operas at the Met in the late 1980s and early '90s….There are a number of qualities that made Carlos Kleiber different from other conductors. The unique combination of these made him special….Kleiber conducted the phrase instead of merely beating time. His baton conveyed a palette of colors and nuances, while never losing the sense of pulse. His use of his hands was beautiful and expressive. He paid tremendous attention to detail yet, at least for this listener, he never lost sight of the big picture….Making music with Carlos Kleiber was a privilege—when it was happening, you just knew you were in the presence of a powerful, charismatic force, someone guiding you, opening that special door to an experience never to be forgotten. He put us back in touch with those pure emotions and truths, reminding us how lucky we are to be musicians and artists—children of paradise….Making music with Carlos Kleiber, whether in rehearsal or performance, was incomparable. He was in a class by himself. For those of us around the world lucky enough to have shared in this experience, we have been touched forever.”

- James Kreger (Met Opera Cellist), JUILLIARD JOURNAL, Nov.,2004

“Carlos Kleiber was a tormented man, an almost terrifyingly gifted interpreter whose self-dissatisfaction eventually took the form of self-laceration. The legends about him made him seem almost psychotic….[he appeared to have] a deep-seated Oedipal need to surpass his father, the marvelous Viennese-born conductor Erich Kleiber, in repertory the older man had been closely associated with. Although there may be some truth here, the fact is that both Kleibers amassed vast repertories early in their careers.”

- Harvey Sachs, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 25 July, 2004

“Christa Ludwig was one of the most admired mezzo-sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertoire of both lieder and opera. She brought a fine sense of musicianship as well as drama to her performances. Her rôles ranged from Dorabella in COSÌ FAN TUTTE to Brangane in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE and Clytemnestra in ELEKTRA, and she was the creator of the role of Claire in Gottfried von Einem's BESUCH DER ALTEN DAME. Her technique and upper register were solid enough to let her sing the Marschallin in DER ROSENKAVALIER and the Dyer's Wife in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, parts almost exclusively sung by sopranos -- though she did retreat from plans to sing Isolde and Brünnhilde. She was also a noted lieder performer, especially of Mahler.

She made her operatic début as Prince Orlofsky in Strauss' DIE FLEDERMAUS in 1946, at the Frankfurt State Opera, where she was a member of the company until 1952. She then moved to Darmstadt to study acting with the director Gustav Sellner. After two years, she and her mother (who was still teaching her) moved to Hanover, where she began to sing leading rôles such as Carmen, Ortrud, and Kundry. Her Salzburg début was in 1954 as Cherubino, and followed by her 1955 début in the same rôle at the Vienna State Opera, at the invitation of Karl Böhm, where she sang for more than 30 years. In 1957, she sang with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who encouraged her husband Walter Legge, the famous producer, to sign Ludwig with EMI records. Ludwig's United States operatic début was in 1959 in Chicago, as Dorabella. In the 1970s, she went through a vocal crisis due to menopause, and she took some of the most demanding rôles out of her repertoire and began to give more attention to songs. Again she challenged the typical views of repertoire, and sang material, such as WINTERREISE, that is most often associated with male voices, especially baritones. Working with Leonard Bernstein, she developed a special affection for Mahler (whose music Bernstein championed when Mahler was relatively obscure.)”

- Anne Feeney,

“Christa Ludwig is the Lotte Lehmann of her generation.”

- Donal Henahan, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 22 March, 1990

“Waldemar Kmentt, born in Vienna in 1929, was the Vienna State Opera’s ‘house tenor’ for more than 20 years. In that capacity he was known for his versatility and dependability, singing 78 rôles in almost 1500 performances from 1952 to 1973….His was a smooth and attractive lyric tenor with solid high notes up to and including high C….I know of no other ‘house tenor’ whose singing was consistently on his high level.”

- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2009

“This busy tenor established his reputation early as a reliable artist in Mozart and Bach. With a voice less sensuous than those of Léopold Simoneau or Anton Dermota, Kmentt nonetheless was frequently engaged for stage performances, concert work, and recordings. Eventually, he ventured as far into a heavier repertory as Walter von Stolzing, a role he sang at the Bayreuth Festival. Kmentt's Metropolitan Opera début -- in a speaking role -- awaited the new millennium, but still brought encomiums from audiences and the press. First intending to pursue a career as a pianist, Kmentt later studied singing at the Vienna Academy of Music with Hans Duhan, Elisabeth Rado and Adolf Vogel. At that time, he was selected to tour Belgium and the Netherlands with a student opera ensemble that included two singers who would later achieve considerable fame: tenor Fritz Uhl and bass baritone Walter Berry. Kmentt's formal début took place in 1950 with a performance in Vienna of Beethoven's Symphony #9 conducted by Karl Böhm. In 1951, he made his professional stage début singing in a Wiener Volksoper production of Prokofiev's THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES. The year following, Kmentt became a member of the Wiener Staatsoper. For the first three years of his tenure, the company performed at the Theater an der Wien while awaiting reconstruction of the company's own house. For the reopening of the Staatsoper in 1955, Kmentt was cast as Jacquino in FIDELIO, sharing the stage with such luminaries as Martha Mödl, Anton Dermota, and Ludwig Weber. That same year, he made his début at the Salzburg Festival singing Dandini in Pfitzner's PALESTRINA. Mozart served for his introduction to La Scala in 1968 when he sang the title role in IDOMENEO. Kmentt made his début at Bayreuth the same year, singing Walter in DIE MEISTERSINGER. During the years of his prime, he also appeared frequently in operetta. When Kmentt gradually relinquished leading roles, he moved into comprimario parts, such as the Major-Domo in DER ROSENKAVALIER. Ironically, it was another Major-Domo, this one in Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, who finally brought Kmentt to the Metropolitan Opera in spring 2001. Among Kmentt's roles captured in recording are the tenor part in Bach's ST. MATTHEW PASSION under Møgens Wöldike, his Froh under Solti, and his Ferrando with Böhm, taped live at La Scala.”

- Erik Eriksson,