Strauss: Elektra - Nilsson, Jones, Szirmay, Craig, McIntyre; C. Kleiber. London, 1977

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It is a true shame that Elektra did not make it into the handful of operas that Carlos Kleiber fixated upon throughout his storied, and idiosyncratic, career. The musical vernacular of Elektra, with its raw, organic undulations wedded with a faint flavor of Viennese grandeur, was just the kind of thing that Carlos Kleiber effortlessly mastered and he does no less in this taut performance. And although he achieves remarkable precision in the ensemble that can mean the difference between this massive work sounding like music and just random noise, this is hardly an academic exercise. He seems to encourage the players to think at times more like folly artists than musicians, finding the gesture of the phrase rather than the sum of the actual notes. Birgit Nilsson, although at the end of her career, is in top form and seems inspired by the music making going on around her. Gwyneth Jones gives generously of her ample soprano as Chrysothemis, soaring effortlessly above the orchestra and luxuriating in her resplendent top. The sound is good.

OD 11168-2

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