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  • Some exquisite tutorials for us, by courtesy of HvK

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    Herbert von Karajan was one of the most famous and highly talented of Austria's sons. Arguably, to this day no one has overshadowed his work as a conductor.

    That fame was not bestowed lightly nor frivolously. Some desisted from acknowledging the great virtues of Karajan's work simply because he'd been a member of the nazi party during the war - even though his membership has never been shown to be more than a passive means of avoiding blockage of his career.

    He was later criticized by some members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. But as someone in the business aptly explained, 20 years is a most unusually long time for any conductor to work with one orchestra, and it's no surprise that an orchestra and conductor would end up hating the sight of each other in that time! (Some members of Wiener Phil. have criticized Solti with similar vehemence.)

    I remember Karajan's heyday. Over many years I swung this way and that in my own private and strictly non-professional appraisals of his work. But now, with hindsight, I've become settled on the obvious: his work was truly great and has never been bettered.

    I've only recently discovered this series of 6 old videos of Karajan rehearsing the Wiener Symphoniker in Shumann's 4th Symphony. The depth and richness of detail in his interventions is staggering. I'm learning a huge amount that's relevant for my humble digital emulations (even though not of Shumann's compositions - he's never been one of my favs).

    If you've not encountered these videos before, see what you think. (I've listed links to each of the 6 parts, in case your YouTube doesn't want to offer you the whole series in sequence.)

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