Composer: Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Conductor: Carlos Kleiber
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 1.59 GB
Carlos Kleiber, Wiener Philharmoniker
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor Op. 98
01. I. Allegro con brio
02. II. Andante moderato
03. III. Allegro giocoso-Poco meno presto-Tempo
04. IV. Allegro energico e passionato-Più Allegro
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An enduring charisma that lives on in death: Carlos Kleiber’s last studio recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
The popularity of conductor Carlos Kleiber (July 3, 1930 – July 13, 2004) still shows no sign of slowing down five years after his death. He had a charisma that mystified countless audiences with his graceful and gorgeous conducting, extremely few concerts and limited repertoire, and frequent cancellations. But most of all, Kleiber delighted audiences with the charm of the actual performance, regardless of opera or concert being played. In total Kleiber made only nine studio recordings, eight of which were for DG, the first being “Der Freischutz” (1973) and the last “Tristan und Isolde” (1982), as well as one for EMI.
All other recordings were of live performances, with both official and bootleg versions existing. This performance of Brahms Symphony No. 4, recorded in March of 1980, is fourth recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It stands out as both Kleiber’s first digital recording, but also his last studio recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. His first performance of this work at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s subscription concert in December of 1979 was a great success. Four months later he energetically committed himself to make the recording in the studio. The sense of exuberance pervading this studio performance is truly remarkable. His interpretation can be considered revolutionary, for it swept away the sense of ennui inherent maybe epoch-making in terms that it cleared away the inherent ennui of this symphony. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the subtle emphasis on phrases and voice parts lends more depth to the sound, clearly seen within the exquisite agogics in the third movement’s theme.
The supreme SA-CD/CD hybridization becomes a reality
Compared to Kleiber’s past three albums with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, this recording captures his characteristically fluid and clear sound with remarkable clarity. This is made possible by the unique advantages digital recordings offer. As was done with the ESOTERIC project in the past, uncompromising efforts were made at each stage of the SA-CD hybridization process to recreate the original sound, from selecting the master tape for the recording to the final DSD mastering. Likewise, the D/A converters, rubidium clock generator and MEXCEL cables were all used for DSD mastering. The careful adjustment of ESOTERIC’s top grade equipment has made it possible to store all of the information from the original performance onto disc, creating an unconstrained sound that is authentic.