Karajan’s pet critic has died

Karajan’s pet critic has died


norman lebrecht

June 15, 2016

In the decades that Herbert von Karajan bestrode Berlin, Salzburg and the music industry, he could always be assured of a warm review from Klaus Geitel, who has died at the age of 92.

And not just a newspaper review and broadcast effusion. Geitel often wrote Karajan’s record blurbs. He published a fawning iconography of the image-obsessed conductor and was hostile only to those who dared to suggest that his idol might be infallible. Even in the old man’s half-crazed final showdown with the Berlin Philharmonic, he unerringly saw the world through Karajan’s eyes.

Although he called himself a journalist, Geitel belonged to an old-world genre of stage-door Johnnies and cocktail-hour hangers-on who were happiest when posing for camera with their idols.

He was, equally old-world, unfailingly polite to sceptics like myself. May he rest in peace.

karajan geitel


  • Hilary says:

    The word infallible occurs in this perceptive piece of writing on Richter:

    • Marc says:

      Geitel writes that “infallibility is dull”, which is exactly the reverse of what he writes about Richter!

  • Konstantin says:

    He was 92.

  • DESR says:

    Nil nisi bonum….

  • SDG says:

    “…was hostile only to those who dared to suggest that his idol might be infallible.” “…might not be infallible…” presumably.