Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Commanding the podium with his slender figure, theatrical shock of hair and penetrating blue eyes, 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.