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George Cleve dies at 79; conductor who channeled Mozart

George Cleve dies at 79; conductor who channeled Mozart

One of George Cleve’s final concert appearances also was one of the most memorable. Two stagehands had to help him to the podium. They gingerly lowered him into his seat, the audience and the orchestra rapt. Even with his suffer-no-fools reputation, he was no longer the formidable figure he had once been — until he picked up the baton. “And then suddenly, as if a switch had been thrown somewhere, the prospect of leading Mozart’s music seemed to electrify Cleve’s entire stage presence,” San Francisco Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman wrote in his review of the July 16 performance at Stanford University. “He sat up erect and firm, gave the...

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