Today's Classical Music Video

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic in Japan 1959



In 1959 Herbert von Karajan reigned supreme in Europe. He was conductor for life of the Berlin Philharmonic, general director of the Vienna State Opera and famous everywhere for the dozens of recordings he had made with London's Philharmonia Orchestra. In October he led the Vienna Philharmonic on an unprecedented world tour that started in New Delhi, India and ended in Montreal a month later. There were 25 concerts and Karajan conducted all of them.
In this black and white video we see the third movement from Brahms Fourth Symphony. The concert was given in Tokyo November 6, 1959. Karajan's conducting style seems oddly self-indulgent and arbitrary and perhaps more interesting to the audience than to the musicians. But what Karajan had throughout his career was charisma and authority and there is plenty of both here. And the orchestra, led by Willi Boskovsky, responds with playing of tremendous warmth and intensity.
Paul E. Robinson

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