A Tribute to Herbert von Karajan.
Herbert von Karajan was one of the most famous conductors of musical history.
He was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years.
Herbert von Karajan was a dominant figure in European classical music from the 1960s until his death.
Part of the reason for this was the large number of recordings he made and their prominence during his lifetime. By one estimate he was the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time, having sold an estimated 200 million records.
He was a musical Perfectionist and one of the most powerful figures in classical music.
But all things have a “dark side”, even in the Art World.
Herbert von Karajan’s life was controversial.
His membership in the Nazi party from 1933, his lack of overt repentance for his thriving career during the Nazi years and his imperious personality made him many enemies.
Still, no one would deny his position in the topmost ranks of 20th-century conductors.
Inspired to conduct at the age of 20 when he heard Arturo Toscanini in Vienna, and Wilhelm Furtwangler’s great rival from the early 1940’s until the older maestro’s death in 1954, Mr. Karajan once said that he had attempted to combine ”Toscanini’s precision with Furtwangler’s fantasy.”
He had a particular gift for Wagner, Bruckner and Beethoven.
Mr. Karajan was always more than a mere conductor: he was a man of enormous energy and careerist determination, and he managed at his peak, in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, to tower over European musical life as no one had done before or is likely to do again.
His nickname at the time was ”the general music director of Europe,” leading the Berlin Philharmonic, La Scala in Milan, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival.
I have many favorite recordings of Herbert von Karajan.
1 All of Beethoven’s symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic
2 The Operas at the Salzburg Festival like Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” with Samuel Ramey and Ferruccio Furlanetto and “Don Carlo” with Ferruccio Furlanetto and José Carreras.
3 Concerts, oratorios and operas in La Scala
4 Le quattro stagioni with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist
5 The Haydn Oratorios and London symphonies
6 The famous New Year’s concert in Vienna with Kathleen Battle
7 A recording of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde
8 Verdi’s Requiem with Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto and Nikolai Ghiaurov.
9 Mozart Requiem
10 Bruckner’s 8th Symphony
11 Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with With Evgeny Kissin as soloist
12 Dvorak Symphony No. 9 “Aus der Neuen Welt” (The New World)
13 Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Alexis Weissenberg as Soloist
14 Don Juan by Richard Strauss
15 Don Quixote by Richard Strauss with Mstislav Rostropovich as Soloist
16 Verdi’s “Otello” with Jon Vickers, Mirella Freni and Peter Glossop.
Trivia: Herbert von Karajan was of Greek ancestry.
Some comments about Karajan:
The American soprano Jessye Norman, said: ”Herbert von Karajan always rolled out a magic carpet for us, the singers. With him, our musical work took on another dimension.”
Herbert von Karajan died on July 16th of 1989.
A Tribute to Herbert von Karajan’s career!