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on 8 March 2012
As Carlos Kleiber was regarded with virtually unrivalled respect by his fellow conductors, it seems that only the brave or foolish would attribute less than 5-stars to his recordings. Given his aversion to the responsibilities of permanent appointments and his dislike of the requirements of recording studios, his recording legacy is sparse so is fulsome praise warranted or is it the product of scarcity?

This disc clearly shows the effects of his extraordinarily rigorous and obsessive approach. Schubert's 8th symphony is normally given a richly romantic gloss so I was quite surprised by Kleiber's lean and ascetic style, particularly from the normally lush strings of the Vienna Philharmonic. Not for everybody perhaps, but this acoustic cleansing really came into its own with the Brahms. Brahm's symphonies tend to provide an interpretive challenge even for the finest conductors so even though brahm's 4th is considered by many to be his finest symphony it can across as rather stodgy. Not here. lean, lithe and agile, this is the finest version i have ever heard. The makeweights on this disc are extracts from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, with singers including Fisher-Dieskau, Fassbaender and Price- simply stunning.

Do I like this disc? you bet!
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on 11 June 2013
In all fairness, this is a great disc not to be missed by the serious collector. Carlos Kleiber, in my judgement, was one of the greatest conductors of the last century and this disc tells why. The Vienna Philharmonic is in great form and impeccably responds to the maestro's demands. Brahms 4 receives a performance against which all others should be judged. The reading of the Unfinished is a joy. The Wagner piesces are also marvellously done. In summary, no collection should be without this disc.
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