Conversations with Von Karajan

Richard Osborne, Author, Herbert Von Karajan, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.5 (157p) ISBN 978-0-06-039107-2
The late German conductor Herbert Von Karajan (1908-1989) was an intriguing figure, and this collection of interviews with him by a noted British music critic reveals what a remarkable subject he would make for an in-depth biography. In an introduction Usborne does not gloss over Karajan's alleged Nazi beginnings, though he fairly places them in the perspective of the times. But in his exchanges with the maestro, he is harsher on the opinions of some critics that Karajan's music-making is overrefined. The Karajan of the interviews is a man of remarkable passion as well as control, a man who himself paid for the studio sessions that produced a noted set of recordings of the Second Viennese School, a project that might have been thought far from his purview. Naturally, since Karajan knew everyone who was anyone in music for the past 50 years, the anecdotes flow freely, but the book's chief accomplishment is to hint at the riches of a life so far only skimmed by slight biographies--and to send people back to the records and videodiscs. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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