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by Hugues Mousseau

PARIS, 22 April 1996—As rare a visitor to the podium as Brando to the movie set, Carlos Kleiber is the most highly regarded and most sought-after conductor since Karajan. Born in Berlin in 1930, Kleiber refuses to record, avoids the media and lives a secluded life in his Munich villa. Totally indifferent to the heaps of gold regularly tendered by Salzburg, Vienna or Berlin, his last concert dates back more than two years. Moreover, rumours emanating from sources close to the conductor alleged that he was about to retire. And then, an about turn disclosed by the German news weekly Der Spiegel. Kleiber has just conducted the Bavarian State Orchestra in a programme of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms, in exchange for an AUDI 8, a four-wheel-drive sportscar fitted out with an 8 cylinder engine, worth more than $100,000.

The concert—which took place recently in Ingolstadt, a peaceful Bavarian town where, coincidentally, AUDI's head office is located—was sold out in just a few hours.

An excellent advertising coup for the German automobile manufacturer which did all it could to gain the maestro's favour, once they had wind of his weak point. The deal was done on a handshake because—amusingly enough—Kleiber is said to hate written contracts.

Klassiknet editors recommend the following recordings on CD by Carlos Kleiber:

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Symphonies nos. 5 and 7

New Year's Concert in Vienna, 1989 (Johann Strauss and Family)

WAGNER (1813-1883): Tristan and Isolde

WEBER (1786-1826): Der Freischütz

VERDI (1813-1901): La Traviata

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