Originally Posted by lwd
How can you compare Kaplan to Karajan? Karajan made his money by being one of the greatest conductors of all time.
Not quite. Kaplan made his money running a magazine that is useful for pretty much any entity with several hundred million dollars to invest. Herbert von Karajan made his fortune by unilaterally jacking up costs for his services and starting the inflationary spiral out of control of such costs. Frankly, I think Gilbert Kaplan made his money the "right" way. Karajan might have been one of the greats, but his business practices were anything but. His legacy to the business side of music, and there is a big one, is far from good, closer to ambivalent, but still uniformly bad.
|I agree - money shouldn't preclude anyone from being a good conductor and you're right to point out the unjust criticism Beecham received. But Kaplan is not a real professional conductor - he only conducts one piece and he pays orchestras to play under him - they don't pay him. Orchestras don't hire him.
So what? Do you think orchestras are altruistic organizations, devoted to the craft? Hardly. They take recording fees, tour fees, ticket fees, and donations. Frankly, Gilbert Kaplan conducts the Mahler 2nd so well (better, even, than some of the "greats" who have tried it) that it's a crime that they don't pay him. Never mind, though: the fact that he buys an orchestra's time to do one thing really well should be welcome. He's spending his
money to give you
the most accurate (i.e., faithful to Mahler) M2 you will ever hear. He's just an amateur. Yes, in the most faithful sense of the word: he is doing something for the love of it, and spending a great deal of money. The great thing is, instead of collecting art and hiding it in a sumptuous Manhattan apartment, he's letting you in on the fun.
|He didn't get where he is through talent and by going though the normal steps a conductor would do to get in to the profession but by using his money. Sure he's passionate about Mahler 2 and thats great but if you put him in front of a b grade orchestra instead of LSO or Vienna Phil it wouldn't work because he doesn't have the necessary skills.
So I don't object to his wealth, but I do find the practice of buying orchestras a little distasteful.
Again, so what? If he can keep time and cue sections in based on that time, which even a small child can do, then he's (guess what) a conductor.
Gustav Mahler, according to the oral-history piece "Remembering Mahler," made available by - shock and horror - the Kaplan Foundation, called conductors a necessary evil. Mahler, whom you must know was one of the greatest conductors of his age, didn't beat time - he marked rhythm and phrasing. He trusted the players to know their parts.
Recording companies buy orchestras. Board members buy orchestras with big donations. The public buys orchestras with tickets - no sales, no show. Conductors are not mystical wizards who can only learn the craft after becoming a 2nd-degree initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries. They learn the craft, just like Gilbert Kaplan did.