Author Topic: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)  (Read 51728 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #320 on: October 28, 2009, 02:12:51 PM »
I was facing him during a performance of Das Lied von der Erde and he had his eyes closed the whole time. He seemingly kept them open for opera  as well as choral performances.

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Offline Coopmv

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #321 on: October 29, 2009, 05:47:45 PM »
I was facing him during a performance of Das Lied von der Erde and he had his eyes closed the whole time. He seemingly kept them open for opera  as well as choral performances.

Mike

I have to watch Karajan's Brahms' Requiem DVD again ...

Offline Coopmv

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #322 on: October 31, 2009, 06:40:09 AM »
Actually, how representative of Karajan's symphonic recordings is this box set?  Any major omissions?  Thoughts from someone?  I hope to start listening to the set, which has been sitting idle since I bought it some 6 or 7 months ago ...

« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 06:16:02 PM by Coopmv »

George

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #323 on: October 31, 2009, 09:27:42 PM »
Actually, how representative of Karajan's symphonic recordings is this box set?  Any major omissions?  Thoughts from someone?  I hope to start listening to the set, which has been sitting idle since I bought it some 6 or 7 months ago ...



If they had used his early 60s recordings for that box (Brahms, etc) then that box would have been superb. Instead, they use the much inferior 70s and 80s stuff.  :-\ Having never heard his stuff from that era, I never understood the anti-fan club before. Now that I have heard his later recordings, now I do. The sound is too smooth, too "blenderized." That rawness and present in the earlier recordings is largely gone.   
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 09:29:53 PM by George »

Renfield

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #324 on: November 01, 2009, 08:30:02 AM »
It's just a different stylistic paradigm, really. The symphonic recordings in that box (mostly) represent the 'artistic vision' Karajan was trying to get across on record during the 70s - essentially the ultimate expression of his desire for beauty in music.

(Though not the ultimate expression of his general musicianship, as he generally aimed for live concerts to showcase this.)

Yet they are also likely his most polished symphonic recordings in general: thus also in terms of playing, direction, etc. So despite my oft-expressed preference for his pre-1960 and post-1980 work, I think calling the box "representative of Karajan's symphonic recordings" is fairly accurate, if you qualify 'representative' to 'representative of his most prolific period of symphonic recordings'.


Of course, 'representative' does not mean 'if you like any Karajan recording, then you will like that box set'. :)

Offline Coopmv

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #325 on: November 01, 2009, 10:04:35 AM »
It's just a different stylistic paradigm, really. The symphonic recordings in that box (mostly) represent the 'artistic vision' Karajan was trying to get across on record during the 70s - essentially the ultimate expression of his desire for beauty in music.

(Though not the ultimate expression of his general musicianship, as he generally aimed for live concerts to showcase this.)

Yet they are also likely his most polished symphonic recordings in general: thus also in terms of playing, direction, etc. So despite my oft-expressed preference for his pre-1960 and post-1980 work, I think calling the box "representative of Karajan's symphonic recordings" is fairly accurate, if you qualify 'representative' to 'representative of his most prolific period of symphonic recordings'.


Of course, 'representative' does not mean 'if you like any Karajan recording, then you will like that box set'. :)

My sole objective for getting the set was to acquire his complete Bruckner Symphonies, which I did not have and the standalone set was getting very pricey.  It turned out his 77 Beethoven cycle, which I have on LP, was also included in this set and that was icing on the cake.  Indeed, Karajan was at his most prolific in the 1970's.

Offline King Karajan

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #326 on: November 24, 2012, 10:37:38 PM »
Genius. Incredible sense of rhythm and pulse of the music. Greatest musical mind of the 20th century. Devoid of bullshit. Exciting youthful energy came through his readings. 62 beethoven a benchmark. Used social media to bring classical music to the masses. I cold go on, but I fear someone out there will just keep shredding my views on the greatest of all conductors ever.

Offline DavidA

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #327 on: January 01, 2013, 05:15:14 AM »
Much of the abuse that has been hurled at Karajan over the years originates from the fact that he was extremely successful, good looking and had a jet-setting lifestyle. He also died a multi-millionaire. He appears to have been completely ruthless in pursuing his career as shown by his jettisoning of Walter Legge and others when they were of no use to him. So not a man to get on the wrong side of. He could, however, be very helpful to young artists when he chose.
And then there is the whole business of the Nazi Party membership which people never (perhaps rightly) forgot. However, I am always interested that people who damn Karajan as a Nazi appear to forget that an uncomfortable number of German and Austrian musicians were also involved, perhaps more than HvK was. Elizabeth Schwartzkoff was far more culpable as a Nazi but people conveniently forget about this. That is not to excuse HvK but to put it into some context.
Karajan was also palpably vain. John Culshaw recalls how at Bayreuth he asked for a hole to be cut in the orchestral hood so people could see him! Mind you, if you disqualify a conductor for vanity you have to jettison most of the great maestros. Culshaw (again) spoke of Joseph Kripsnas being 'very vain in a profession where modestly is exceedingly rare.' I noted one blog on the web which said that HvK was not a great conductor because 'great conductors are not vain.' I wonder how many conductors he had researched. In fact, if it were not for vanity, how would anyone suppose he could make 100 people play as he wanted just by using a stick!
Hence a man with a huge number of faults. These do not, however, have any bearing on his music making, which (with a few exceptions) varies from good to superb. After all, if we judged musicians on their character alone we should have few to choose from - and that includes many of the great composers. Interesting that when I started collecting records Karajan's performances of Beethoven symphonies were considered too brisk as Klemperer and co were in vogue among critics. How times have changed! Karajan's 63 set can be almost seen as pioneering a modern approach. There were some things he didn't do well - his Mozart is somewhat dated today but he was a man of his time. His Bach was similar. But his Creation is still perhaps the best of all!
When you look back of HvK's recordings there are many which are simply classics of the gramophone. The tremendous range of his recordings is quite remarkable. He certainly wasn't everyone's cup of tea either as man or conductor. But I feel people who put a blanket of damnation on his music making apply standards to Karajan they never apply to anyone else. That is perhaps a measure of the stature of the man as musician.
One of the great conductors of the 20th century? Certainly. The greatest conductor of all time? That can never be applied to anyone.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 08:15:53 AM by DavidA »

Offline Coopmv

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #328 on: January 01, 2013, 09:04:27 AM »
When I mentioned the 107-CD set by Wilhelm Furtwangler to a grad school buddy of mine who is now a senior research scientist at Stanford, he just summarily dismissed it.  In his opinion, no conductors could even come close to Karajan.  When it comes to personal wealth, I think Bernstein may come close.  Like many professions, one who reaches a pinnacle often makes a lot of money.  I cannot understand why people get so bent out of shape by the wealth Karajan had amassed - he had to take care of his family after all ...

Offline DavidA

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #329 on: January 01, 2013, 09:30:59 AM »
When I mentioned the 107-CD set by Wilhelm Furtwangler to a grad school buddy of mine who is now a senior research scientist at Stanford, he just summarily dismissed it.  In his opinion, no conductors could even come close to Karajan.  When it comes to personal wealth, I think Bernstein may come close.  Like many professions, one who reaches a pinnacle often makes a lot of money.  I cannot understand why people get so bent out of shape by the wealth Karajan had amassed - he had to take care of his family after all ...

I think people have the rather romanticised picture that an artist must be poor and live in an attic to be a great artist. There is also resentment that someone could be that successful. Karajan also made no pretence about it.

Offline Coopmv

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #330 on: January 01, 2013, 09:44:33 AM »
I think people have the rather romanticised picture that an artist must be poor and live in an attic to be a great artist. There is also resentment that someone could be that successful. Karajan also made no pretence about it.

Karajan was no more egotistic than many of the current Hollywood celebrities, who I cannot stand and I am an American ...

Offline bigshot

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #331 on: January 01, 2013, 11:19:49 AM »
It's a generational thing. When I was a kid just starting out in classical music the records with the yellow banner at the top and HvK's name were a brand just like Heinz ketchup or the cover of Life magazine. It stood out and seemed to be the leader. Later, I discovered much more, but when I think about it, obvious brands can be much worse than HvK/BPO. It actually was a fine entryway into classical music.

I never got the feeling though that there were opposing camps like Toscanini and Stokowski. Perhaps lines used to be more clearly drawn. Interpretive style has evolved away from the superstar conductor to the "appropriate" interpreter. Karajan was last of the breed.

Offline DavidA

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #332 on: January 01, 2013, 11:34:21 PM »
Karajan was no more egotistic than many of the current Hollywood celebrities, who I cannot stand and I am an American ...

Karajan was a man of his time and in his time conductors were egotistical control freaks. Men like Szell and Reiner, not to mention Toscanini and Stokowski. Glenn Gould Recounted Stokowski's vanity at a photo shoot he did with him. Today that breed of maestro has gone because society has changed. As Simon Rattle once said in an interview you just cannot get away with being like that any more. HvK was probably the last of this breed

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #333 on: January 02, 2013, 04:03:24 AM »
Karajan was no more egotistic than many of the current Hollywood celebrities, who I cannot stand and I am an American ...

And indeed, HvK had the saving grace of actual and considerable talent, unlike so many whom Hollywood celebrates.
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Offline bigshot

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Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #334 on: January 02, 2013, 10:20:10 AM »
On records, we can't see vanity. We just hear performances. I'll take any of the vain conductors over Rattle.

Offline Coopmv

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Re: Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #335 on: January 02, 2013, 07:03:01 PM »
And indeed, HvK had the saving grace of actual and considerable talent, unlike so many whom Hollywood celebrates.

Like Lindsay Lohan ...    ;D