Heck148 wrote:if Galway liked him?? yippee...so what??
Are you kidding? You're missing or ignoring the point. It isn't that Galway liked him, but that for this player at least, Karajan conducting with his eyes closed was not an issue, and that he felt no disrespect toward himself and his fellow players from Karajan. Here's direct evidence on the point at issue, the only actual evidence yet offered, and you say, "so what?" You can't be serious.
On the other hand, you say, "I don't feel like launching into the Teutonic predilection for blindly, obediently following a powerful and charismatic leader," and then you do exactly that. Are you claiming that the Philharmoniker one and all fit this old, outdated stereotype - including those who were not German, such as James Galway? Sheesh! You're not just out on a limb here, you're hovering in thin air.
As a matter of fact, Galway almost didn't accept the position when the Philharmonic offered it to him. He didn't like the rude way he'd been treated by Stresemann and others during the auditions, so he told them that he would put the Philharmonic on probation for a month of playing with them, and if he didn't like it there, he would leave. This is not a man who "blindly, obediently" follows anybody!
When there are facts, let's give them proper weight. When we don't have facts, let's not try to invent them.
Heck148 wrote:conducting with the eyes closed will remain a technical flaw, an egotistical shortcoming that deprives the music-making process of one of its main channels of communication, and it does show a disrespect for te musicians, whether they realize it or not. . it's like trying to scale a technically demanding rock wall using only one hand, not two. the results are going to be limited.
You personally might feel that a conductor's occasionally closing his eyes when conducting shows disrespect to you. But have you ever actually had this experience? If not under Karajan, then under any other conductor? Or are you laying down the law based on an abstract principle, which may or may not be true in the one specific case we are discussing? This thread isn't about how to be a good conductor - a subject on which Herbert von Karajan needed no lessons from the likes of us. It's about Karajan himself.
You don't care for Karajan's recordings, and others agree with you. Fine. But you have not the slightest evidence that the artistic qualities you don't care for are in any way related to this particular aspect of Karajan's conducting technique. You may want to believe that, but you can't possibly know
it, and you certainly can't prove it. Let it go.
About respect, by the way, what about the players showing proper respect for conductors? You surely know, because everybody does, that orchestral players are not respectful of every conductor who stands before them, even if they don't always express their disrespect openly to the conductor's face, as certain New York Philharmonic players famously did to Dimitri Mitropoulos. And then there was Bruno Labate's "Mistah Klemps, you talka too much." I could go on, but I don't need to. As for conductors, Fritz Reiner always conducted with his eyes open, I suppose, but does that mean he always showed respect to his players individually or en masse? There's abundant evidence that he did not.
If the subject is respect between conductor and orchestra, let's start a new thread and discuss this properly. But I don't know that there would be much interest, because as I've said, what matters to most of us is the artistic result, not the techniques by which it has been achieved.