Cover image for Conversations with von Karajan
Conversations with von Karajan
Karajan, Herbert von.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Conversations with Karajan
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper & Row, [1989]

Physical Description:
157 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Conversations with Karajan. 1989.

"A Cornelia & Michael Bessie book."
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML422.K22 A5 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML422.K22 A5 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

English music critic Osborne's interviews with the late conductor span a period from 1977 to just before von Karajan's death in 1989. Throughout these sessions, the dialogue sticks to matters musical: the conductor's career, his interest in recording technology, his method of rehearsing, his philosophy of performance. While some touchy subjects are briefly raised--the Berlin Philharmonic controversy, Nazi membership during World War II, harsh critical dismissals--on the whole this is a sympathetic portrait that aims for an accurate representation of the subject's personality and his art. Along the way, Osborne reveals some fresh details--von Karajan's sense of humor, his recognition of career mistakes--that add a heightened sense of realness to this admittedly partial presentation of the subject's life and achievements. Bibliography; index. --John Brosnahan

Publisher's Weekly Review

The late German conductor Herbert Von Karajan (1908-1989) was an intriguing figure, and this collection of interviews with him by a noted British music critic reveals what a remarkable subject he would make for an in-depth biography. In an introduction Usborne does not gloss over Karajan's alleged Nazi beginnings, though he fairly places them in the perspective of the times. But in his exchanges with the maestro, he is harsher on the opinions of some critics that Karajan's music-making is overrefined. The Karajan of the interviews is a man of remarkable passion as well as control, a man who himself paid for the studio sessions that produced a noted set of recordings of the Second Viennese School, a project that might have been thought far from his purview. Naturally, since Karajan knew everyone who was anyone in music for the past 50 years, the anecdotes flow freely, but the book's chief accomplishment is to hint at the riches of a life so far only skimmed by slight biographies--and to send people back to the records and videodiscs. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In interviews spanning the years 1977 until a month before his death in 1989, Osborne coaxed Herbert von Karajan into discussing a myriad of subjects: himself and his career; his insights into a number of composers and their compositions; conducting; the technology of recording; and his thoughts and stories about other famous performers. An introductory essay by Osborne discusses von Karajan's career in undisguised adulatory terms, defending him from a variety of critics. The question-and-answer format often results in choppy and maddeningly short statements, but it does provide an additional glimpse into the way von Karajan's mind worked. A fascinating first-hand view of an extraordinary talent.-- Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Based on tapes made between 1977 and 1989, this book appears to do very little reinterpreting of Von Karajan's words. The preface and biographical sections are definitely Osborne; when readers get to the tapes (p. 35) they begin to hear a Von Karajan somewhat different from that portrayed in Roger Vaughan's Herbert von Karajan (CH, Oct'86) or in Von Karajan's own My Autobiography (with Franz Endler, London, 1989). Osborne's biographical sketch paints a picture of a superb musician whose driving ambition is musical perfection that must be recorded by both audio and video. The next 116 pages give Osborne's questions and Von Karajan's responses interspersed with a wealth of photos covering a 60-year period. The dates, persons, and places referred to are frequently documented by footnotes. The Von Karajan/Endler autobiography appears to be a great deal of Endler; by contrast, Osborne allows the reader to hear Von Karajan and to feel something of his spirit and way of thinking through his own words. The book ends with a standard index as well as a complete listing of opera productions conducted and directed by Von Karajan. Recommended for all libraries from high school on up; the footnotes might provide a boon to researchers. -D. G. Engelhardt, University of Hawaii at Manoa