Karajan audio feature, Mutter interview and Karajan live at the Salzburger Festspiele l1966

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 31 July 2011 | 7:06:00 am

This is an article, documentry and interview with Mutter about Karjan from NPR in  2008. I found the Karajan live(Beethoven Symph 1) at Salzburg 1966 on youtube.

To hear the Karajan documentary and Mutter Interview Click Here


Karajan live at the Salzburger Festspiele l1966

The brilliant but controversial Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan was born 100 years ago Saturday. To commemorate the occasion, his record labels have been busy reissuing much of Karajan's vast catalog of recordings and videos, which span from the mid-1940s until he died in 1989.

There's enough drama in Karajan's life to make a movie. In Hollywood, the pitch might go something like: "Ingenious young conductor from Mozart's hometown joins Nazi Party to further career, then bulldozes his way to the top, conducting Europe's powerhouse orchestras."

"There's this wonderful joke," violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter says, "where apparently Karajan landed in Berlin, and he took a cab and the cab driver asked him, 'Where to, maestro?' And he answered, 'Oh, it doesn't matter. They need me everywhere.'"

Mutter had read all about Karajan's glamorous lifestyle by the time she auditioned for him in 1977 at age 13 — the fast cars, yachts, airplanes and his immense musical empire. Karajan had a keen nose for talent, and he launched Mutter's international career.

Amassing Musical Power

Karajan bolted to the top in the mid-1950s, when he took over three monumental institutions: the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna State Opera and, most importantly, the Berlin Philharmonic, with a contract he demanded "for life."

But Karajan wasn't amassing power for power's sake. Mutter says he was obsessed with making sound that was perfectly beautiful.

"And with beauty he didn't mean Botox beauty," she says. "He meant beauty of soul, beauty of art."

Karajan rehearsed his orchestras for hours on end, and, when it came time for a concert or recording session, he could simply stand on the podium and conduct the musicians with his eyes closed, as if in a trance. Some compared the sheen and elegance of the so-called "Karajan sound" to a Rolls Royce.

"If you talk about Rolls Royce," Mutter says, "you should not forget the Ferrari underneath. If I think about the low strings — the double basses and the celli — it's just amazing how these guys could blow your hair off."

That rich, lush sound can be heard in any number of recordings that Karajan made of the ultra-romantic repertoire, including symphonies by Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler — and especially in the music of Richard Strauss. His tone poem called A Hero's Life is, on many levels, Karajan's own musical autobiography. Especially the section Strauss titled "The Hero's Adversaries.".


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