Author Topic: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)  (Read 51677 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Bonehelm

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #40 on: May 18, 2007, 08:28:29 AM »
I wonder if ever there was another conductor as controversial as Karajan. It's either people love him or hate him, the latter ones being the most vocal. :)

For me, the whole thing is very simple: he had his own style. You may like it or not, but I believe no one can honestly say that he cheated the music and did everything he did just for publicity and money. I doubt very much that Berliner Philharmoniker, one of the best and most prestigious orchestras in the world, would have accepted for so many years a maverick as conductor.

I often hear criticism levelled at him on the basis of being too perfect and too polished (pretty much as in the case of Maurizio Pollini) --- as if perfection is something wrong and to be avoided.

I think that regardless of what one thinks personally a man who is admired, loved and revered by tons of serious and devoted music lovers around the world and who left such an important recorded legacy cannot be dismissed that easily.

So many of his detractors seem to have strong convictions about how a Beethoven or Brahms symphony should be done but I doubt they can succesfully conduct two children singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".

My two cents, anyway.

You already made an exact same post a couple minutes ago...

Offline JoshLilly

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 402
  • Joachim Raff, the greatest!
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2007, 08:30:56 AM »
If it comes to Mozart I agree for the most part, but confuse Beethoven with Brahms or Mahler is a statement that eludes me.
He was never under the bizare impression that Mozart was written for a hundred piece Orchestra, you just have to hear the Mozart Violin concertos with young Mutter. He rewrites nothing there. But again "Mahlerised Mozart" wow, that eludes me again.
That he should not approach composers from before 1830 is again a subject to be approached carefully.


I'm talking about the large orchestra, and the modern instruments. And the padded timpani sticks. And a ton of other things. I listen to this Karajan set of Beethoven's symphonies, the first I listened to actually, and the finalé of the 8th symphony, and it sounds like a completely different piece than what Beethoven wrote. I can't hear all the notes, I can't hear all the "stuff". It's not clear, it's a mush; this very Karajan set (and listening to other sets under conductors such as - and including - Bernstein) was why for years I thought Beethoven was a BAD ORCHESTRATOR. Why did he write such mushy, blurred things? Well, he didn't.

As for Karajan's take on W.A. Mozart, well, for me it just gets worse. Clearly, some people listen to it and like it. I just don't. I can listen to my complete Pinnock/English Concert set of Mozart symphonies, and it sounds "right" to me. This is probably fairly close to what Mozart heard, and for which he was actually writing. Mozart would not have been familiar with a modern orchestra and modern instruments, and IF he'd been writing for the orchestra Karajan was using, I guarantee you he'd have orchestrated differently. It's a different sound. That I'm sure Mozart would have written things differently for Karajan's orchestra means Karajan is doing something wrong, in my opinion.

But again, I don't hate Karajan at all. I just avoid listening to music he conducted from before a certain period. That's all. And, for any who share similar tastes, maybe they'd agree, or like to hear from an "HIP" fan that they may want to be a bit cautious before forking over money for Karajan Mozart. I know I'd have appreciated such a warning before I bought the *#$@ Beethoven set. I gave it away a long time ago, but I wish I'd never gotten it. Plus, it turned me off of Beethoven for years. Well, I thought the symphonies were "okay", but that was it, and I thought Beethoven was mildly incompetent as an orchestrator.

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 18604
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2007, 08:32:02 AM »
You already made an exact same post a couple minutes ago...

Yes but I removed it accidentally. This one is the second edition. :)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2007, 08:32:23 AM »
For me, the whole thing is very simple: he had his own style. You may like it or not, but I believe no one can honestly say that he cheated the music and did everything he did just for publicity and money.

Agree completely.

Harry

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2007, 08:38:06 AM »
I have the Gardiner recordings of Beethoven symphonies, and I like it immensely. Hearing the Karajan next to it, does not put me off Beethoven at all. And there is no reason at all for Beethoven to dislike the approach Karajan takes, or would not recognize it.
There's HIP and there's modern instruments and approach, but the music is there nevertheless.
I can live happily with both.

Offline Israfel the Black

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 163
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2007, 08:38:53 AM »
Karajan the greatest? Hmm, not sure. Karajan the master? Indeed, to be sure.

Offline Brewski

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 12131
  • "Man With No Shadow" by Makoto Tojiki (2009)
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #46 on: May 18, 2007, 08:39:10 AM »
Agree completely.

Yes, I agree, too (and with other points mentioned by Florestan).  I grew up with a number of Karajan recordings, and some of them have stuck with me, others haven't.  I'm generally with Josh in the earlier music category: after hearing so many HIP recordings, and really liking them, I mostly prefer HIP groups (or at least, that HIP approach) in that repertoire.  But that's just my taste: I don't think Karajan was deliberately out to "misrepresent" Mozart or Beethoven.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline JoshLilly

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 402
  • Joachim Raff, the greatest!
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #47 on: May 18, 2007, 08:44:39 AM »
I hope nobody gets the impression that I think Karajan was trying deliberately to do something he thought was "wrong" with any music. Obviously, everything he did, he was trying to do what he thought was best. That makes his Mozart and Beethoven a sign not of malice, but of incompetence.  ............   ;D  I'm kidding, I'm kidding!!  I just don't think the scope and makeup of modern orchestras fit the orchestration used by composers of those times, that's all; it's not Karajan in particular, it's the quantity and physicality of the instruments themselves.

uffeviking

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #48 on: May 18, 2007, 09:05:33 AM »
vain enough to put an unearned  von  in his name.

Why do I end up speaking in defense of von Karajan's private life, with no time left to add a post or two about his conducting?

Here goes from Roger Vaughan's biography, page 7 in W. W. Norton and Company:

"The "von" in his name is a family title - Knight of the Holy Roman Empire - which was conferred upon his great-grandfather George Johann Karajannis by Duke Friedrich August von Sachsen for his work in the textile industry."

While I have Vaughan's book, I found the ref. to von Karajan's first wife, same source: "..1938.. he married Elmy Holgerloef, the first operetta singer in the Aachen chorus. . . . Soprano Elisabeth Grümmer, who was married to the concertmaster in the Aachen orchestra during the time Karajan was music director there, and who frequently sang in Karajan's opera productions, told Lanfranco Rasponi (in The Last Prima Donnas, "I have only the finest memories of Elmy Holgerloef. What a superb artist she was in her repertoire, which was operetta. Very few have ever equalled her, for she had grace, style and musicality." Love of nature is what brought her and Karajan together, though their marriage lasted only two years. She died in 1983."

Sounds like she was a very respectable lady, not a 'cutie'!

Harry

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #49 on: May 18, 2007, 09:10:46 AM »
Why do I end up speaking in defense of von Karajan's private life, with no time left to add a post or two about his conducting?

Here goes from Roger Vaughan's biography, page 7 in W. W. Norton and Company:

"The "von" in his name is a family title - Knight of the Holy Roman Empire - which was conferred upon his great-grandfather George Johann Karajannis by Duke Friedrich August von Sachsen for his work in the textile industry."

While I have Vaughan's book, I found the ref. to von Karajan's first wife, same source: "..1938.. he married Elmy Holgerloef, the first operetta singer in the Aachen chorus. . . . Soprano Elisabeth Grümmer, who was married to the concertmaster in the Aachen orchestra during the time Karajan was music director there, and who frequently sang in Karajan's opera productions, told Lanfranco Rasponi (in The Last Prima Donnas, "I have only the finest memories of Elmy Holgerloef. What a superb artist she was in her repertoire, which was operetta. Very few have ever equalled her, for she had grace, style and musicality." Love of nature is what brought her and Karajan together, though their marriage lasted only two years. She died in 1983."

Sounds like she was a very respectable lady, not a 'cutie'!

You have beaten me too it, found that also in one of my books.
Thanks for elucidating this.
Tis von Karajan! :)

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #50 on: May 18, 2007, 09:14:06 AM »
Here goes from Roger Vaughan's biography, page 7 in W. W. Norton and Company:

"The "von" in his name is a family title - Knight of the Holy Roman Empire - which was conferred upon his great-grandfather George Johann Karajannis by Duke Friedrich August von Sachsen for his work in the textile industry."

You mean, von Karajan's ancestors supplied Wagner with silken underthings?  $:)

Harry

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2007, 09:22:30 AM »
Lis I cannot find a picture of Elmy Holgerloef, do you have one you can post?

Offline The new erato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14675
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2007, 09:26:17 AM »
distinctly remember reading the von part in a major biograhical article a few years ago, but if it's wrong I retract.

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #53 on: May 18, 2007, 09:28:42 AM »
With a name like Holgerloef . . . .

uffeviking

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #54 on: May 18, 2007, 09:30:11 AM »
Sorry, Harry! I have three books about von Karajan and none of them has a picture of the lady.  :(

Harry

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2007, 09:31:02 AM »
With a name like Holgerloef . . . .

Make no mistake my dear friend, that is actually a very rare and beautiful name, and I love her coloratura voice, yes I do! :)

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2007, 09:32:36 AM »
. . . and I love her coloratura voice, yes I do! :)

Oh, that is such an unconvincing fib, mijn vriend!  :D

Harry

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2007, 09:32:37 AM »
Sorry, Harry! I have three books about von Karajan and none of them has a picture of the lady.  :(


Darn, and I searched internet extensively, and could not find anything in pictures.
That really irritates me in the age of internet.

Harry

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2007, 09:33:49 AM »
Oh, that is such an unconvincing fib, mijn vriend!  :D

I truly do, and I admit I own a few operetta's.

Danny

  • Guest
Re: The Karajan Legacy (recordings)
« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2007, 09:35:07 AM »
Von Karajan was a master, and I love his various interpretations of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner, Verdi and Shostakovich (quite a range there!).  Not to say that he is my favorite (that goes to Klemperer) but I usually find Karajan's recordings to be as satisfying and as good as the ones made by the other great conductors.  In the case of Shostakovich's 10th Symphony, I would definitely say that the '82 version is the best one that I've heard of that piece--and for me that is a great achievment because when I think of 20th century Soviet Music, the name of Von Karajan doesn't come to my mind, ususally.  He gives the piece all of the necessary emotion and feeling that is needed (and his brass section raaawks!).