There Are No Words for Carlos Kleiber

by Matthew Raley But I'll try.

Kyle Wiley Pickett, conductor of the North State Symphony, mentioned in rehearsal last weekend that Carlos Kleiber was his model for interpreting Beethoven. You can see why in these videos of the 7th Symphony (1st mvt).

The first thing you notice is Kleiber has no music stand. The moment he begins, it's obvious that he has not merely memorized the score, but has internalized it down to the finest details.

Kleiber uses gestures that are idiosyncratic. The uniqueness, however, does not compromise clarity. He is able to cue multiple sections of the orchestra with one poke of the baton. His cues do not merely tell players when to enter, but how -- and not merely how loudly or softly but with what articulation and emphasis. You can see him giving particular attention to the ends of notes (an often overlooked detail), and to the integrity of inner rhythms.

Kleiber is one with his players. He has conveyed a vision of this music comprehensively to the musicians, and it's a marvel to watch.

The North State Symphony will perform Beethoven's 5th Symphony on its season premiere on Saturday, 9-26, in Redding at the Cascade Theater (7:30 pm) and in Chico on Sunday, 9-27, at Laxson Auditorium (2 pm).

(The second video overlaps the first. Start at about 4 minutes, unless you want to hear the development section repeated.)