A better conductor than Karajan?main
In the ruins of Berlin, the man who restored music making at high performance from 1948 on was the brave and extraordinarily musical conductor Ferenc Fricsay.
His first position was as music director of the Deutsche Oper in West Berlin, but it was as head of the US-funded RIAS radio orchestra that he achieved performance standards of a consistency as transcendent, if not higher, than the Berlin Philharmonic.
Fricsay fell sick in 1961 and died two years later, aged 48. His Berlin reputation was swiftly eclipsed by Herbert von Karajan.
But those who know his work will be in no doubt which gave more valuable service to the city, and which was in most respects the more musical conductor.
DG have just issued Fricsay’s collected works.