From Franz Endler, Karajan: An Autobiography (1989):
"Many of my critics write, and will go on writing, that I conduct too lavishly. That may be so. During my day people have been somewhat extravagant in terms of art and music. I believed this was the right attitude to adopt, and so I've supported it. It has something to do with respect towards art, and if this respect is old-fashioned, so be it, I've no intention of dissociating myself from it. When I was young, we approached music with a sense of awe and celebrated each such approach as a special event. I can see, of course, that times have changed, that people don't want to know about respect any longer, and that it is not in keeping with the times to celebrate a concert. People are going to great lengths to make themselves ugly, to wear ugly clothes, and to feel precious little enthusiasm for beauty. I've been observing this for years . . . I know there's nothing that can be done at present to change all this. But no one can expect me to seek a polite or understanding explanation for this, still less that I should agree with it and conform. I belong to a different age. And what I want to preserve for myself and posterity also belongs to a different age."
Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) was the greatest conductor the world has ever known. His recordings comprise the definitive account of the classical repertoire. In his opera stagings he rejected modern left-wing political fashions, instead realizing the works in tune with the composers' own wishes. Nothing less than a musical Übermensch, he was a true Romantic in an anti-Romantic age, and the last great interpreter of the German tradition.
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