Film by Eric Schulz (Germany 2012) (In German)
Herbert von Karajan was principal conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker from 1955 to 1989, but we also continue to recall him as a media artist par excellence. Always open to technical innovations, he played an important role in the development of recording technology: from shellac and long-playing records, to stereophony, digital recording, compact disc and video. Karajan spent more time in the studio and left behind more recordings than any other artist.
The control room, in which he spent countless hours listening to playbacks, was a protected space for Karajan, one in which he felt at home surrounded by his trusted recording team. Only a few had the opportunity of observing him during this work “behind the scenes”, where he pursued his vision of timelessly valid interpretations that eschewed expressive subjectivity. Those able to experience him in that setting saw an artist who hardly corresponded at all to the marketed Karajan image.
In the recording studio, where he worked on his legacy for future generations, Karajan led a kind of second life. The film, including a wealth of material never shown before, provides that glimpse behind the scenes as it examines the motivations that drove Karajan in his recording activities. It also graphically demonstrates what it was that distinguished Karajan as a musician and what it is that makes him appear unique still today.