Medici Masters – Erich Kleiber [Beethoven, Schubert & Berg]

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Beethoven
Fidelio – Overture
Schubert
Symphony No.9 in C, D944 (Great)
Berg
Wozzeck – Three Scenes [Fragments]

Annelies Kupper (soprano) [Berg]

Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester [Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra]
Erich Kleiber

Recorded in the Funkhaus, Saal 1, WDR Cologne – on 23 November 1953 (Schubert & Berg) & 7 January 1956


Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: August 2008
CD No: MEDICI MASTERS
MM027-2
Duration: 76 minutes

gemütlich approaches by Barbirolli or Knappertsbusch), but again one doesn’t sense any enforced heaviness or that the orchestra is stressed in meeting the swift tempo set; indeed the lightness of touch brings a real sense of being ‘in flight’.

It could be argued that the prize of this collection is the Marie-centred excerpts (normally referred to as ‘Fragments’ if here entitled ‘Scenes’) from Berg’s first opera, “Wozzeck” (the second being “Lulu”), which Kleiber first introduced in a complete staging in 1925. There is real authority here, the music often quite remarkably beautiful and atmospheric; indeed one could be listening to a selection from a completely produced performance of the whole opera, here enhanced by the very affecting Annelies Kupper, as exacting with pitch as she is entrancing in spinning a long vocal line, and living the part of the tormented character.

A thoroughly recommended release then in decent if understandably restricted sound. The 1953 radio concert of Berg and Schubert also included Mozart’s Symphony No.33, which can be found on a previous Medici/Kleiber release (link below), and the overture to “Fidelio” heralded a complete concert performance with the likes of Nilsson, Schöffler and Frick – maybe that will also come our way, too.

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