We’ve just clicked on a 1979 interview with Sergiu Celibidache, the mystical Munich conductor, who – asked to discuss his colleagues – turns a withering tongue on his Berlin contemporary.
Herbert von Karajan, he says, ’is the most tragic case of all conductors. As a young man he had potential, but he succumbed to a limitless vanity and arrived at a complete misunderstanding of music. He became an incredibly unmusical person.’
Asked why the public adored Karajan, he said: they love Coca-cola, too.
hat-tip: Patricia Kopatchinskaja
footnote: Celi was devoted to Wilhelm Furtwängler and briefly served at his replacement at the Berlin Phil while Furt was undergoing denazification. When Furt died, the orch chose the hyperactive Karajan over the absent Celi, who was attending somewhere to the purification of his soul.