What have critics and performers said about the formidable Austrian conductor over the years?
3 December 2014 – 12:34pm
Nearly 30 years after the death of Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, his affiliation with Nazi Germany and his dictatorial approach to conducting still cause controversy. We take look at eight things critics and performers have said about the controversial conductor over the years…
Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler reacts to positive Karajan reviews in 1940
‘If they [the critics] overrate material qualities such as the technique of conducting from memory, they are prizing hard work instead of artistic practice. They are aligning themselves with the stupid people who never seem to be in short supply, and who feel nostalgic for the circus when they are in the concert hall.’
Joseph Goebbels, 1940
‘The Führer has a very low opinion of Karajan and his conducting’
Walter Legge on Karajan contract negotiations, 1958
‘Now proudly conscious of his unique eminence, and having more power and authority than any conductor ever had, [he] is out for his last ounce of flesh, both in conditions and for the satisfaction of his ego.’
Critic Neville Cardus, 1960
‘All over the world, people go in herds to see and hear him. He is undoubtedly a master of the orchestra, and he has some hypnotic power, though he often conducts with closed eyes…’
Violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin
‘To the very end, he was accustomed to exercising authority, perhaps without compassion. I don’t know to what extent he was a compassionate man.’
Conductor John Eliot Gardiner
‘I got the impression from the concerts I attended towards the end of his life that there was something almost evil in the way he exerted the power, and that that was to the detriment of the music.’
Conductor Mariss Jansons
‘Often in rehearsal Karajan didn’t conduct. The art was to make the orchestra listen to itself. Critics sniped but, for musicians, what he did bordered on the miraculous.’
Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade describes Karajan recording Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande
‘Karajan had been all concentration. All the normal things you associate with recording – time, money, the worries you have – had simply vanished. The music was so important to him, the real world seemed to fall away.’
With the Grainger Wind Symphony and in partnership with the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association Victoria Branch, I am convening 3 Conducting Learning Programs across May-June 2017
Conducting Intensive Program
Conducting Workshop Program
The Conducting Intensive Program starts 10am Saturday 27th May with one of three conducting classes, podium time in a video workshop on 21 June from 7.45pm, a free seminar Wednesday 28th June at 5pm for 5.30pm-6.30pm and a review class Saturday 1st July from 10am. Clinician is Roland Yeung
The Public Seminar is on Wednesday 28th June 5.00pm for 5.30pm – 6.30pm. I am presenting a one hour seminar on the topic “Music Expression in the Ensemble Rehearsal”.
The Conducting Workshop Program is all on Wednesday 28th June starting with the Public Seminar, a one-on-one conducting tutorial with a conducting mentor, and podium time in a video workshop supported by a mentor that can be selected from the list.
Click here to go to the page with more detail, information sheet, application form, fees and bookings.
“So I’m working on a couple of marches with different groups. Chimes of Liberty and High School Cadets and I think my arm is going to fall off. How do you get your kids to play the correct tempo? We start to get it, then they play too loud. We play softer and they slow down. Any tips or tricks for a middle school band director????”
Sean AlanAmericans often think skill is determined “by means of” actions, (learning by series of steps) when a basic action does not have a “by ways of” which you do a thing, you just do it. Basic action is one where you don’t have to think of it, you just go out and do it.
There was this famous Austrian skier who lost some Olympic race, and afterwards he said he didn’t understand why, he had perfect form. Well, the next time around, he won, but the reason why he did so was because of his skiing coach… The only thing this Austrian skiing coach used to do was yell “shnella!!” over and over again- which means, “go faster!”