Karajan, Or Beauty as I See It
Musicians Remember Karajan

In this clip violin virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter, pianist Evgeny Kissin, and singers Christa Ludwig and Gundula Janowitz remember how Karajan pushed them in their art and to slow down and find expression in the music, even when the tempo he demanded was a technical impossibility for the performers. Also, see interviews with Karajan’s Daughters, Isabel Von Karajan and Arabel von Karajan, about the ways in which Karajan applied his rigorous conducting technique in other parts of his life and archival footage of Karajan conducting his orchestra.

  • Hernan Navarro Sr.

    If you are interested in this program about Karajan, is going to be on PBS Monday 31 of August( Check your schedule in Va.) DAD

  • Mimi

    As always, PBS comes out with the most delightful and wonderful program, and this one about Maestro Karajan is a must see. Thanks

  • Tone Mendoza

    Wunderbar! as Karajan’s skill, work, understanding of sound, pulse, tempo, and life! One life was/is not enough for this guy, who lived to the hilt in all areas.

  • Linda Karus

    What an excellent journal of this splendid, amazing man! It touched me deeply. Yes, I, too, believe he deserves another incarnation, and I can only hope to be there as well to experience his visions of beauty. Thank you.

  • Lindsey Ripa

    I enjoyed this program so very much. I hated to see it end. I especially liked the part involving Leonard Bernstein. I thought they physically resembled each other but their conducting styles were very different. Excellent program!

  • Greg A.

    Terrific show! It’s obviously intended to counter Karajan’s despotic Nazi image – fairly successfully, I’d say. I want to see those opera videos he produced in Salzburg! Why aren’t they available?? And I missed the credits – who was the tenor interviewed? Rene Kollo, Helge Brilioth?

  • Graham

    Does it cover his Nazi past? Does it cover his propensity to use and destroy young artists? Gardiner’s comment that he was evil? Yes, a great musician but as a man he was deeply flawed. I’d like to see the show but since KQED went digital, it is not covered by my cable. Hoped to catch it on the web but alas.

  • Tom

    Question, can anybody tell me what the music is at the closing credits of the documentary. It’s beautiful! Please I won’t sleep until I hear it again!

  • Herb weber

    Tom, the music is Isolde’s “Mild und leise” aria that closes Tristan and Isolde, in my humble opinion, the most sublime music ever composed. The thoughts expressed are great too.

    Now, can anyone tell me who the soprano in that performance was?

  • Greg A.

    Herb: It sounded a lot like Jessye Norman to me.

  • virginia anderson

    when will Beauty as I see it be repeated?

  • Andy B

    Amazing. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about classical music and I came across the show on Karajan by chance. I loved it.

  • Tom

    Herb! You are the coolest! I saw this opera year’s ago at Chicago Lyric- no wonder it was familiar! Thank you so much!

  • Kelly Rizza

    A fantastic program. I will look for a CD with Karajin conducting the orchestra. Can anyone recommend one?

  • Don Meeker

    This is, I deeply believe, the finest tv program I have ever seen, and I am an old man. The depth and breadth, not just about Karajin, but about music itself. Bravo and many thanks.

  • Robert Leigh

    I saw the repeat on MPT Channel 22 in the early AM on 09/01/2009 and did not note the address or phone number to use for purchasing the DVD. It is not listed for sale in the PBS Store. Can anyone tell me where to buy it?

  • Gil Wright

    Robert, the telephone number given at the end of the program to purchase a video was 1-800-336-1917.

  • Bob Griffin

    The best program on music that I have ever seen. It has implications for every art form.

  • Brett

    Excellent program. I was particularly struck by the 1970s filmed piece with the glowing floor and the striking overhead shot of the orchestra arrayed around von Karajan. Would anyone happen to know what this was excerpted from?

  • mike mullen

    Wonderful program. I especially liked the Yvgeny Kissin portion. I had never heard that performance before. Imagine a 17 year old in awe of Karajan and then to perform so well.

  • mike mullen

    I would like to hear the daybreak portion of Karajan doing Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe. But is impossible to find.

  • Marti

    I loved the program! It brought back many memories for me, as in my youth, I had studied in Vienna and Salzburg and had lived in Germany as a young adult.
    I had seen many of these performers, including Karajan, back then on the stage, and it was so interesting to see what they look like now!
    I was especially pleased to see that former Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Schmidt, now 90 years old, took part in the program! I didn’t know he was a friend of Karajan!
    But I soon found out by googling him that he is even more – a musical colleague, since Schmidt is also a pianist and has made piano recordings of Mozart and J.S. Bach.
    I’m so glad that I recorded and have this superb documentary on my DVD player now. :-) It will remain one of my favorites.

  • Minx

    Who is the composer of the music played during the opening video clip? It’s driving me mad!

  • Jim Carroll

    The great piece with the 17 year old Kissin is Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no 1

  • Kevin

    Beautiful program. It was great to get such insight on Karajan. What was the piece that was playing at the end of the program as his wife was speaking the bird was flying?

  • Dave

    The program moves very quickly, you really have to pay attention! I love that about it.
    Over the years we have been lulled into thinking that the dumbing-down of television, even to an extent on PBS, is OK and normal. It’s a shock, but a pleasant and necessary one, to see that the producer of a TV program is not accepting this.
    No wonder, it was produced for German TV.

  • donna smith

    wonderful program! Will it be repeated on thrirteen/wnet?

  • Farah

    He IS THE greatest ever.

  • danpianoman

    Available for purchase online and by phone at:

  • Jorge Lechuga

    The best Karajan program. The Kissing part was outstanding,the part of Bernstain conducting at Karajan memorial concerto was out of this world!!
    Thank you very much!

  • Anita

    I’d love it..!

  • Jack Crease

    Can you list the music on that show. It was a wonderful experience

  • john

    The best conductor ever!

  • Nancy

    Can anyone tell me the aria sung by Placido Domingo, was that from Verdi’s Ernani? Much of the music was familiar to me but would love the list of music so I can listen and appreciate again.

  • Nasli H.

    PBS, thank you for airing such an intriguing and beautifully composed film. Instead of the routine History Channel-esque linear timeline snoozefest one tends to get from a lot of documentaries, we instead got an insightful view of Karajan’s musical philosophy and artistic process with enough biographical details to orient us.

    BTW, if anyone is looking for a vid of the final aria from the film, here’s a lovely music video featuring Karajan and Jessye Norman. Nothing short of spectacular:

  • Tone Mendoza

    FYI: My favorite version of the Liebestod that grabs at my very soul is Karajan’s last performance at:
    I got to see him and the BPO in, of all places, Topeka, Kansas, when my brother-in-law took my older brother and me to see him conduct there in 1956–long ago. Karajan was strikingly handsome, even to a young girl like me,and the music was wonderful, magical — http://cieo.com/HvK-pen-2.JPG
    Happily, I have been able to purchase much of Karajan’s recorded works, books about him and other musicians, and dvds online at Amazon and other websites. This world of the internet makes so much more possible.

  • John Mooney

    An extraordinary program…it is possible to make this available on DVD??

  • ann grandt

    i’ve always had mixed feelings about him – first because he TWICE joined the Nazi party & second because he so often conducted with his eyes closed – so weird – but i must say, having studied conducting in college & having listened to music all my life, that if someone held my feet to the fire to say what was the single most gorgeous sound i’ve ever heard, it was the opening chorus singing “selig sind” of the Brahms’ Requiem many years ago.

  • Elisabetha Taylor

    sorry about of how much I have missed

  • Donald Bolster

    PBS broadcast this outstanding feature on Sunday,9/13/09 from 4:15 until6 PM.Do you plan to repeat it? Can I buy copy of it?

  • Heidi Woodward

    Absolutely powerful. Brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. PBS used to have more classical music shows like these. I miss them dearly. My elderly mom missed out on seeing this and I’d love to buy it as a gift for her. Will it be available on DVD?

  • Melissa Baxter

    I agree with all the comments relating to lack of credits to identify the music. Can anyone please tell me what is the name of the piece Bernstein played for him (Fur Herbert as it is said in the film) at the end, the scenes show Karajan in a swimming pool and end with him hugging his wife. Is it Mahler by any chance? It is something very poignant and beautiful. thank you for the help.

  • Tom Hagedorn

    Hello, “Karajan, Or Beauty As I See” It was outstanding. Will it be repeated in the near future? Thank you!

  • Jim Folliard

    I did not get to see this. Can you tell me when I can get a next chance to see it.

  • John

    Can this sublime film be purchased on DVD?

  • John

    The answer to my above question is-yes.On Amazon

  • Valerie

    I watched this covered in goose bumps, jaw dropped & tears of awe streaming down my face! I never heard of this beyond genius before. Know why? Because conducting isn’t really something so note worthy (to the general public). This man took something ‘eh’ to me and made it my life’s work to know more about him and all the amazing music from this show. I cannot NOT believe that Pavarotti was made a better performer because of Karajan. Karajan is one of those humans that reach world-class level in what they love. We are so lucky to have had him. I only wish he could just go on forever! What a hottie to boot!! I totally get how he married such a young hot babe and I’m sure he had her crawling up the walls to get at him. Expertise is so sexy. He was a Maestro on steroids! OY!

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