Saturday, December 18, 2010

More on Karajan: It's All in the Optics

Busy with other stuff today so no for deep thought, though I can offer up one other insight drawn from  Norman Lebrecht's Maestro Myth.  The subject again is dictator and unholy terror Herbert von Karajan.  And in particular, the question of his Naziness--not whether, but how much.  Lebrecht's answer: plenty, and he worked hard to conceal or minimize it.

But reading Lebrecht, one draws the inference that "plenty" does not necessarily mean "more than others." Apparently a lot of serious musicians had a lot to apologize for after the war.  von Karajan's problem may have been that he acted like a fuhrer and seemed to enjoy his role as a bully-in-chief.  And perhaps worse, that he looked like a Nazi with his chiseled brow and imperious frown,  Ironic, seeing as how his father was apparently Slavic and his mother Greek.

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