Erich Kleiber

Mozart: Symphony No. 39; Oboe Concerto; German Dances; Symphony No. 36

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The thing that made Erich Kleiber a distinctive conductor was his sense of musical line -- his effortless, elegant but incredibly intense line. These Mozart performances demonstrate that fact perfectly: the rhythms, harmonies, forms, colors, and shades of expressive meaning are all expressed through melody. The performance here of Symphony No. 39 doesn't aim at the weight of Furtwängler, the drive of Szell, or the drama of Walter. It aims instead at a seamlessly swaying line of which weight, drive, and drama are the inevitable consequences. It's true that the Kölner Ründfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester isn't quite the Mozart orchestra of one's dreams. The strings are often slightly out of tune and the winds slightly out of sync with the rest of the orchestra, but the dedicated professionalism partially compensates for any technical deficiencies. In the Oboe Concerto, Lothar Faber proves a supple, plangent-toned soloist. Though recorded in 1955 and 1956, the sound here is remarkably clean and even evocative.

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