View Poll Results: Karajan - Hero or Hype?

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  • Hero

    50 64.94%
  • Hype

    27 35.06%
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Thread: Karajan - Hero or Hype?

  1. #91
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I think that the two ensembles linked with the efforts of Paul Hillier: The Hilliard Ensemble and the Theater of Voices are among the finest in exploring the road less-well-traveled. Both groups are known for their brilliant recordings of Medieval and other "early music" repertoire... as well as the works of contemporary composers. Paul Hillier and the Theater of Voices have recorded David lang's Little Match Girl Passion, Toivo Tulev's Songs, Luciano Berio, John Cage, the 3 volumes of Baltic Voices exploring choral music by Galina Grigorjeva, Per Norgard, Alfred Schnittke, Urmas Sisask and Toivo Tulev, Per Norgard, etc... a number of discs of Arvo Part, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Veljo Tormis, Peteris Vasks, Tarik O' Regan, Terry Riley, Ingram Marshall, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kurt Weill, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, Bertolt Brecht, Klaus Ib Jørgensen, Janacek etc... The Hilliard Ensemble have offered performances of merging the improvisations of the Norwegian jazz saxophonist, Jan Garbarek with the music of Perotin, Arvo Part, Byzantine Chant,etc... Stephen Hartke, Heiner Goebbels, Morton Feldman, Alfred Schnittke, Alexander Raskatov, Gavin Bryars, Roger Marsh, Augusta Read Thomas, Jacob Druckman, Stephen Hartke, James MacMillan, Giya Kancheli, Boris Yoffe, etc... You can see why I don't look to the large Romantic orchestras to discover recordings of new music and new composers.

  2. #92
    Andante
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    @Sid James regarding your last post
    I know what you mean Sid and I hope Rattle gives his all, but as some say (if it ain't broke don't fix it) I personally like their sound and would not want that to change it is after all their trade mark.
    Last edited by Andante; Dec-04-2011 at 07:55.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    ... You can see why I don't look to the large Romantic orchestras to discover recordings of new music and new composers.
    Yes, but you are a specialist, or more hard core classical listener, most people are not. Even I would say I am comparatively basic to intermediate in many things. I do keep up with the latest music by attending new music performances here regularly. There are a lot of specialist groups catering for that, but a number of grassroots groups that are more mainstream also play some amount of new music, at least to fly the flag for it to some degree.

    Recently, there has been this series in the cinemas here of Berlin Philharmonic in HD, surround sound, etc. I missed these but a number of friends went and said it was great. A number of tastes were catered for in the one concert. Eg. older music like Shostakovich and some more recent things like Takemitsu. In one concert, I saw these programs, they even played some Nino Rota, which von Karajan would not have touched with an 8 foot pole. One of the concerts was all-Mahler, fair enough, this was his centenary year.

    I remember seeing concerts of von Karajan conduct the BPO here over 20 years ago on TV. It was mainly old music, the latest he played was R. Strauss. As Tahnak said above, the only c20th music he did to a larger extent - eg. cycles and more in depth - was Sibelius and R. Strauss. Or mainly that, apart from some one-off things.

    In other words, he was yesterday's man. That's my opinion, I'm putting it directly. Take it or leave it, basically. I'm not invalidating what you or others say. Obviously our definitions of a conductor that's "worth his salt" are widely different & that's fine. We can enjoy what we like, it's a free world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    @Sid James regarding your last post
    I know what you mean Sid and I hope Rattle gives his all, but as some say (if it ain't broke don't fix it) I personally like their sound and would not want that to change it is after all their trade mark.
    I don't think Rattle or Abbado before him have changed the BPO that much, the fundamentals are there, they've just moved it more into the contemporary world, to at least acknowledge that new music does exist. They still play the Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler or whatever that many of us appreciate to whatever degree.
    Last edited by Sid James; Dec-04-2011 at 10:43.

  4. #94
    Junior Member flylooper's Avatar
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    I'll go with HYPE for 500.....

    Good? Certainly.
    Great? Perhaps
    The apotheosis of conducting? Hardly.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    In other words, he was yesterday's man. That's my opinion, I'm putting it directly. Take it or leave it, basically. I'm not invalidating what you or others say. Obviously our definitions of a conductor that's "worth his salt" are widely different & that's fine. We can enjoy what we like, it's a free world.
    I think you are, in effect, criticizing coffee for not being tea. Karajan led an orchestra with a 150 year history and felt that continuing and building on that tradition was his primary role. They played Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Schumann, like no-one else. I think keeping that tradition alive and building on it is extremely valuable. He also championed some 20th century works, Honegger, Hindemith, Sibelius, Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, etc. But to some extent he let guest conductors bring modern music to the Berlin Philharmonic, which I also find entirely appropriate.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by flylooper View Post
    I'll go with HYPE for 500.....

    ....The apotheosis of conducting? Hardly.
    Curious, who'd that be?

  7. #97
    Senior Member Moldyoldie's Avatar
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    He and Bernstein; perhaps along with Ormandy, Munch, and Fiedler; were my conduits into classical.
    "Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
    -Steve Wright

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  9. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarpia View Post
    ...But to some extent he let guest conductors bring modern music to the Berlin Philharmonic, which I also find entirely appropriate.
    Yes, I concede that is the case, as is normally the case. I have a recording with Leonard Bernstein conducting the Israel Philharmonic in a concert of his own works done in Berlin Philharmonic Hall in the late 1970's. Karajan did invite conductors to conduct new or newer music there. & Salzburg did have some new opera productions under his tenure, eg. some things by H.W. Henze. But on the whole I still stand by my impressions, although not everyone has to accept it, but on the ground here, talking to classical listeners I know, they agree that he didn't do much for new music, and by that I mean premieres, as I said before...

  10. #99
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    In fact the conductors of the "middle" generation - even Haitink and Abbado are not much more into XX century music. Ok, Haitink conducted some great Shostakovich in his youth (and conducts Shostakovich now). Abbado (and Muti) recorded Prokofiev. But it will be an overstatement to say that their repertoir is MUCH wider - and they are younger. Or were younger :-)

    From the youngest generation Wladimir Jurowski conducts non-standart repertoir. But even the young conductors do not conduct much late XX century music.

  11. #100
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    In THIS earlier post, I gave examples of various conductors, incl. of pre-1945 generation, working with new music of the time. My opinion is that to be an artist of your time, you have to work with what's going on at that time, eg. in the case of a conductor, new music. Otherwise, imo, it's a case of resting on old laurels.

    But I agree it is difficult to compare the older generations with the younger ones. But a number of the older generation did work with new music of their time, eg. Toscanini, Ansermet, Boult, Walter, Beecham, Klemperer, Furtwangler, Scherchen, to name a few of the prominent ones...

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  13. #101
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    Oh, it is 4:30 a.m. in Moscow. I must go to bed :- ) Yes, in fact the distance between living composers and conductors might be lesser in pre-45 period... Esp. in the USA. Esp. in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

    But my main point was to compare Karajan and e.g. Solti with those born in 1940. And the comparision can be pretty tough to the latter.

    BTW, I've read somewhere that some members of Liverpool orchestra and public was unhappy with G. Schwarz non-standart repertoir and that was one of the reasons he declined. So, sometimes it can be dangerous.
    Last edited by Moscow-Mahler; Dec-09-2011 at 01:36.

  14. #102
    Junior Member flylooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    Curious, who'd that be?
    Seriously?

    I think it's incredibly dangerous to use superlatives in any art form. It really leaves one exposed to all kinds of arguments, both for and against. Greatest composer? Greatest conductor? Greatest tenor, or soprano? These kinds of comparisons are neither valid nor fair and are entirely subjective, to boot.

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  16. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    Antoni Wit SHOULD be a superstar. I have several of his recordings and he's nothing short of awesome. I did not realize he had any connections to Karajan. You learn something new every day!
    I saw/heard Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in London a few years ago (well, probably over 10). A wonderful concert and one of the best Bartók Concerto for Orchestra performances I have had the privilege to hear. Interestingly, he played all the movements attacca.
    Last edited by Delicious Manager; Dec-09-2011 at 16:09.

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  18. #104
    Senior Member Crudblud's Avatar
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    Antoni Wit has the honour of being the man behind the single greatest recording of Turangalîla ever made, honestly it makes Messiaen favourites like Chung and Nagano seem like they barely know the work. I don't really know him outside of that recording, but that recording is more than enough to make me agree wholeheartedly with Tapkaara and Delicious Manager.

    Oh and I had to vote "hero" for Karajan, as I do enjoy many of his recordings.

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  20. #105
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    After winning second prize in the International Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin (1971), he became an assistant conductor to Karajan.

    From Naxos biography of Antoni Wit.

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