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Thread: Who else is a fan of Karajan?

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    Senior Member NLAdriaan's Avatar
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    Funny that the ones who adore Karajan and defend him until the end of times with armed totalitarian forces, are now one by one downplaying their admiration. But of course I also read that anyone with a different opinion is just envious of Karajan's success. So: case closed

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    Senior Member MatthewWeflen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLAdriaan View Post
    Funny that the ones who adore Karajan and defend him until the end of times with armed totalitarian forces, are now one by one downplaying their admiration. But of course I also read that anyone with a different opinion is just envious of Karajan's success. So: case closed
    I for one am not "downplaying my admiration." I am describing it. It just doesn't conform with what you seem to think anyone who disagrees with you must feel. It is possible to admire Karajan (which I do) without thinking he is infallible (which I don't).

    Perhaps the only person here with a blind, unreasoning devotion to a particular position is you.

    I admire your avatar, as well. But if I were to blindly restrict myself to just his recordings, my classical music library would peter out after about 6 hours. One of Karajan's great strengths was his longevity and his prolific recording schedule. For a good 75% of what most people would care to listen to, there is a Karajan version. Sometimes, quite frequently, in fact, it's the best. Other times, it's not but it is competently played and interpreted. Only rarely is it woefully misbegotten.

    So Karajan for me is a good starting point. I can trust that I'll get a great sounding recording that is well played. Sometimes I want further opinions on the subject. Other times I don't feel the need.
    Last edited by MatthewWeflen; May-30-2020 at 00:22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    There are plenty of living conductors fully worthy of comparison to the past. To say otherwise is really just prejudicial.
    I agree...there are many fine conductors who put on great shows, know their stuff and can compete with the old boys. But what they lack is star power. Some of the conductors from the Golden Age had more than musical skills, they had a charisma and magnetism that no one today does. A lot of it is because of the times we live in. But when's the last time any conductor appeared on the cover of Time? Solti almost 50 years ago? When was the last time your local newspaper or TV station covered a story about the resident maestro? My parents had no interest in classical but even they knew and recognized pictures of the likes of Bernstein, Stokowski and Toscanini. As much as I admire the work of many of today's conductors I can't name one who is likely to be the subject of a biography in 50 years. That is, assuming people still care.

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    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    If you travel around LA or Chicago you wouldn't miss noticing that pictures of Dudamel and Muti are everywhere. Muti, at least, is clearly one of the greats (not sure about Dudamel, yet), and people adore him. He gave these free concerts in Grant Park that attracted tens of thousands of people. MTT was absolutely huge in San Francisco, having just left, and Honeck is clearly revered in Pittsburgh. There are more examples. A promising new situation is Dausgaard in Seattle; the city has clearly embraced him.

    The thing is, the old names usually mentioned lived through WWII, and that gives their stories a dimension of immediate interest that is missing from living names. But I think plenty of living names will be long remembered and revered.

    On the other hand, part of me thinks conductors get way too much credit and adoration anyway, and it would be much better for music if they weren't lionized as giants and heroes.

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  7. #20
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    If you travel around LA or Chicago you wouldn't miss noticing that pictures of Dudamel and Muti are everywhere. Muti, at least, is clearly one of the greats (not sure about Dudamel, yet), and people adore him. He gave these free concerts in Grant Park that attracted tens of thousands of people. MTT was absolutely huge in San Francisco, having just left, and Honeck is clearly revered in Pittsburgh. There are more examples. A promising new situation is Dausgaard in Seattle; the city has clearly embraced him.

    The thing is, the old names usually mentioned lived through WWII, and that gives their stories a dimension of immediate interest that is missing from living names. But I think plenty of living names will be long remembered and revered.

    On the other hand, part of me thinks conductors get way too much credit and adoration anyway, and it would be much better for music if they weren't lionized as giants and heroes.
    Hmmm, interesting that you mention those conductors being a big deal in their cities. MN Orchestra director Osmo Vanska is certainly a bigger-name conductor in the grand scheme of things, but I don’t get the same vibe with him around where I live. But of course, the name of the orchestra was badly tarnished several years back where there was an entire season lockout (due to insufficient funding, as I gather) and Vanska actually resigned before being somehow lured back.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

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    Nelsons is well-regarded in Boston....I've heard some very good concerts with him on the podium.

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  12. #23
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Karajan was my intro into classical music. While I have become more knowledgeable of other conductors since I started listening to classical music, Karajan still has a soft spot in my heart .

    I don't like Karajan's recordings just because they are Karajan - I honestly like his interpretation but I also acknowledge that people have very different tastes. This glossy, huge and somewhat lush and smooth sound is certainly not to everyone's liking but I have become partial to it. I'm also a huge fan of opera and he seemed to possess an unusually good ability to put together stellar casts.
    Last edited by annaw; May-30-2020 at 07:23.

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  14. #24
    Member Oakey's Avatar
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    Karajan got me interested in classical music (never seen him though, I’m 46). Love many of his recordings. The beethoven 60s cycle is my favourite.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLAdriaan View Post
    Funny that the ones who adore Karajan and defend him until the end of times with armed totalitarian forces, are now one by one downplaying their admiration. But of course I also read that anyone with a different opinion is just envious of Karajan's success. So: case closed
    Yeah case closed as well on anyone who said that Irving Berlin's songs were never any good as they appeared in too many hit movies, or the Beatles were a duff band because they sold too many recordings! Or that Usain Bolt's success as a sprinter was purely down to faulty timekeeping not talent!
    Last edited by DavidA; May-30-2020 at 08:05.

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    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    I am personally a huge fan of Herbie. I never have, nor would ever consider apologizing for my admiration of the man's musical abilities. It is not to say he didn't have his weaknesses. I find his Bach to be awful and a bit (sometimes quite a bit) lacking on early Classical era. But from late classical (someone mentioned not being a fan of his Mozart, but I find some of Mozart's later Symphonies conducted by HvK to be quite good) going forward, I find the majority of his conducting to be quite good to outstanding. Yes, he was a showman, yes he had an ego (as if this should negate accomplishments by anyone), but that does not detract from the spirit he found and conveyed in the music he conducted. He found the depth, nuance, majesty, longing, and profundity in much of the music he conducted. He had a gift of conveying the very essence of what the piece was about through his baton.

    There is so much more to love about what he contributed to music than to hate or detract, IMO. He was a "great" conductor in every sense of the word.

    V
    Last edited by Varick; May-30-2020 at 08:03.
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Karajan was my intro into classical music. While I have become more knowledgeable of other conductors since I started listening to classical music, Karajan still has a soft spot in my heart .
    Yeah, similar here. Otherwise I'm ducking outta this thread before the stereotypical comments kick in.

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  21. #28
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Yeah, similar here. Otherwise I'm ducking outta this thread before the stereotypical comments kick in.
    Did you miss the particularly knobbish one at the top of the page?

    For any who really love Classical music flame wars, there's a recent thread, "What's Wrong with Karajan." The same people who slam fans of Karajan with extraordinarily insulting or condescending language then petulantly present themselves as victims when they are called out. It's fun, I suppose, if you like that sort of thing. I personally do not.

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    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    This one should be good.

    0f74012dbcc7359d0a2888d930566eaf.jpg
    "Snobbery of any flavor...tastes terrible."

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Al View Post
    Honegger 3. Enough said.
    Yes. A phenomenal performance. I would say unmatched but I really owe a fair chance to the competition first.

    Re: OP, yes, I would consider myself a Karajan fan. I find myself often enjoying his interpretations, though there are but a few instances in which Karajan's is my favorite performance of a given work: the aforementioned Honegger 3, Sibelius 4, maybe Mahler 9, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem (maybe—I acknowledge the Klemperer/Philharmonia as superior but find myself returning to the Karajan/Berlin w/ Janowitz and Waechter more frequently), maybe Strauss Tod und Verklärung, and that's about it. I like his Beethoven but none of his recordings are really my favorites. But I do really appreciate what he brings to the table.

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