11. Bruckner: 7th Symphony
[…] listening to Bruckner on the radio
wondering why I’m not half mad over the latest breakup
with my latest girlfriend
wondering why I’m not driving the streets
wondering why I’m not in the bedroom in the dark
in the grievous dark
ripped by half-thoughts.
I suppose that at last
like the average man:
I’ve known too many women
and instead of thinking,
I wonder who’s fucking her now?
she’s giving some other poor son of a bitch much trouble right now.
listening to Bruckner on the radio
seems so peaceful.
Excerpt from Defeat by Charles Bukowski
Wagner took a lot of post-mortal shit for allegedly being Hitler's favourite composer. But German public radio announced Hitler’s death with the 2nd movement of Bruckner’s Seventh playing in the background. Hitler has always stated that Bruckner was a shining example of how someone with a simple German upbringing could achieve greatness.
Herbert von Karajan & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
The Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan also wanted to achieve greatness. We shouldn’t rule out that he was the only person who fled INTO Nazi Germany when Hitler and his gang of thugs rose to power in 1933. By that time most conductors had left Germany, and the young Karajan thought he could further his career by filling their shoes.
Once in, he fucked up a performance of Hitler’s favourite Wagner opera in his presence. Pissing off a mass murdering dictator is a bad career move, no matter how you look at it. And as expected, from that moment on Hitler couldn’t stand Karajan. He preferred Furtwängler who - in turn - hated both Hitler and Karajan. Shit was complicated.
When Karajan married a woman who was part Jewish, Hitler wanted his head on a baton. Karajan fled to Italy and had to appear in front of the denazification committee after the war. They concluded Karajan was an egocentric idiot with poor life choices rather than a crowing nazi, and banned him from conducting for two years. Once rehabilitated, he made up for lost time by becoming Furtwängler’s successor at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Together they sold over 200 million albums.
Karajan’s past, work and character have always remained controversial in certain circles, including his own orchestras. A reporter once asked a member of the orchestra what Karajan would conduct that night. He replied: “God knows what that man will conduct, but the orchestra will play Beethoven’s 9th.”
Never a dull moment with notorious Karajan, still his last public appearance before his death in ’89 is undeniably the most beautiful recording of Bruckner’s 7th out there.