Thursday, September 10, 2009

KARAJAN, or "Beauty, as I See It"

I finally got around to something I Tivoed a few weeks ago, an episode of Great Performances about the great conductor Herbert von Karajan. I was surprised at the end to see that it was directed by a man I had worked with on the underrated TV version of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS a couple of years ago, Robert Dornhelm. (He had also directed the excellent CBS miniseries on Anne Frank.)

This was a very good examination of von Karajan as a conductor. Parts of it are almost comical in that he takes himself so seriously, but he really was one of the truly great conductors of the 20th century. If you are a fan of orchestral music, it's worth hunting this down and watching it. They did gloss over some of the issues in his life that were important; including barely mentioning his membership in the Nazi party. They did not mention his involvement in popularizing the compact disc, and they barely mentioned the orchestra's problems when he tried to hire a female clarinetist in the group.

But it is still very interesting.

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