Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) projected the hieratic image of the conductor as officiant of some quasi-mystic rite. And anyone who ever saw him conduct live or on his many audiovisual recordings will agree that in his performances, music did indeed become a religion and Karajan its high-priest. Karajan embodied classical music in the general consciousness as an epoch-making conductor, media star, opera producer, festival director and festival founder. But in spite of his Promethean and widely varied activities, he remained a superb conductor, with a grasp of the standard orchestral and operatic repertory from Mozart to Schoenberg that was unsurpassed among his peers. Karajan conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in this recording made at the Berliner Philharmonie.


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