Please direct any and all questions, correspondence, bouquets or brickbats to
Thank you for your wonderful book, and website.
Thank you for saying so.
Dear Dr. Barber!
Thank you for your wonderful book. Here comes an error in your book’s correspondence part I just found last weekend. The reference 44/45 ( I think you are about to refer to Toscanini and Stanka Kleiber) are misplaced.
Thanks very much for yours. I checked closely, and believe 44 & 45 are correct as is. 44 is my translation of ‘quien sabe’; 45 refers to a sequence in the film (home movie, really) showing Toscanini playing with a poodle on a ledge; and, 46 refers to Stanka, and is allegedly signed by a character in Fledermaus, but is really a word-play on the English and French meanings of ‘chagrin’. The running jokes between CK and myself were, as you have seen, fairly complicated. It was part of the fun of it, for 15 years. Thanks! Charles
Thanks for your exact info.! I guess I was in a haste when commenting. My bad, damn me! I am very enjoying the joys that your and CK’s letter brings, tho’, indeed, lots of puns there galore.
Here are some suggestions so far I have found and maybe helpful for your next version:
1, You said people would not be willing to see your letters, which is definitely not the case, at least for me. [Hope Carlos’s blue trait has not infected you.]
2, In the letter Sept. 19, 92, with regards to the excerpts from Zhuangzi, could you give more details about them. I have found their suspicious origins, but not quite sure.
3, In the letter Jan. 20, 93, as for the first sentence, could you give an explanation with regards to the symbol “./.”.
4, Also in Jan 20, 93, could you give us a suggestion about what Carlos was responding when he was saying ” It’s dry like VERY fine French Champagne”. I guess he was referring to the wine you mentioned in your last letter, not to the weather.
5,In the letter April 3, 93, could you provide more info. about the couplet. I guess Adolf means the Nazi guy, and Dame von Paris is not the famous building but a lady.
6.In the letter 19-20 April, 1993, could you give a translation for the word PAX? I thinks Carlos meant the Latin word, peace, here.
Again, thank you so much for your kindness.( all the while as Carlos and Kalmus could be!)
Dear Dr. Barber, your book is a big treasure showing an exceptional personality full of music, wisdom and wit.
For a second edition, please please please check up the german citations (and music titles, names etc.), they are full of odd misspellings – sometimes even manipulating the meaning (e.g. p. 140 “groben Orchestern”, “grobes Erlebnis”: correct would be groß/gross (big; not: rude); or p. 236 in the original letter: he would definetively not misspell the citations from the Zauberflöte and the given reading is no pun – Geharnischte, stimmt, mich schreckt)
The citation of E. Kleiber (p. 30) is misspelled to a very silly grad (“An mir solls / soll es nicht liegen”) and I can’t relate the translations in the annotation to the real meaning. He talks not about lying (“lügen” vs. “liegen”) but it is like a late acceptation (so if you really want, I don’t want to be the obstacle, “don’t let me stop you”).
Two more remarks: on p. 173 note 285, there is some confusion about the Emperess(es) MariaTheresia and the Haydn Mass: the titles of the masses are not from Haydn himself. And: Joseph Haydn did not write this mass (1799) for her, because she died in 1780. He has not written a symphony “Maria Theresia”, but his brother Michael (1769) did. And the Te Deum was composed for another Maria Theresia (wife of Emperor Franz II.).Michael Haydn composed his own Theresienmesse (1801) for her and she sang the soprano solo. Anyway, Maria Theresia/Marie Therese was a popular name at this time (cf. the “Rosenkavalier”…).
Second: you did not get the whole pun on p. 130 with the “Kaiserschmarrn”. So he is naturally referring to the Austrian pancakes, but Schmarrn is also a bavarian/austrian idiom for something silly, shitty or a nonsense (the Kaiserschmarrn also looks a little bit like a mess, because it is not in good order, but a stired pancake). So he says too, that Kaiser tells rubbish 😉
But again: I have really enjoyed your book, thank you very much! Sorry for my silly comments – I hope, you have the opportunity to kill them from your homepage…
P.S. Do you know if he knew the video Loriot conducting the Coriolan overture (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1979)?
Dear Mona: thanks so much for your kind comments, and most welcome corrections. I receive them gratefully. I studied the language in grad school, but — to say the least — am not a native speaker.
I doubt there will be a second edition, but my publisher assures that when the paperback comes out I may take that opportunity to make corrections. Thanks to you, it will be less riddled with error than ever before!
PS: He never mentioned, nor did we ever discuss, that video. Sorry.
Thank you very much for wonderful book about CK – the best conductor in a history of music
Greetings from St-Petersburg, Russia
What a profoundly illuminating biography of this great artist! I read it in one sitting! Thank-you so much! Questions:
1. Do you know how many rehearsals he had with the WPO for the ’89 and ’92 New Years’ concerts?
2. Was CK ever considered for the 1989 Berlin ‘freedom’ concert of Beethoven’s 9th that Leonard Bernstein conducted, comprised of musicians from various German, London and the NY Phil orchestras?
3. Unlike with his own parents, did CK have a good relationship with his children?
Dear Maria: thank you for your kind comments about the book. In regard to your Qs… 1) as many as he wanted, no doubt. The WPO archives would likely be able to give you a more precise reply 2) not to my knowledge. He would have been mortified by that sort of attention. His friend Bernstein reveled in it. 3) yes
Thank you for saying so! But it as nothing compared to the artistry and flight of Carlos himself…
How odd that the fine conductor Lorin Maazel passed away on the 10th Anniversary of Carlos Kleiber’s death. Maazel, like Kleiber ,was also born in 1930. They were both multi-lingual and had American roots.
There was a wonderful 2 hour radio documentary commemorating Carlos’ passing that is available for free on PRX.org. I believe it was produced by a Jon Tolansky, a former cellist with the London Philharmonic who had played under Carlos. Dr. Barber, it was good to hear your voice again and your insights on Carlos.
Last week, I attended fine performances of Beethoven’s 9th by the Dallas Symphony under Jaap van Sweden and B’s Eroica & R. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet Seguin. As powerful as the performances were, I found myself yearning to hear what Carlos would have done with these works. Surely he would have brought it to a new level as he did with the 4th, 5th and the 7th and everything else he recorded or got videoed.
Is there not a pirated version by him of A Hero’s Life? Can one somehow obtain a copy of it? Thank-you for your consideration.
Indeed — a bizarre coincidence. I have heard the PRX documentary by Jon Tolansky. A version of it, I believe, is included in the new DGG box set of his complete recordings with that company.
Jon was a longtime timpanist at Covent Garden, is a fine curator and bibliographer, and a great admirer of Carlos. I’ve known him 20 years, although we have never actually met. Many phone calls and letters…
Yes, there is an audio recording of Heldenleben. It’s pretty widely available these days, and was originally intended for commercial release — but Carlos heard flaws in it discernable to no mortal ears. Thanks again for writing.
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