Karajan’s pet critic has died

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

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

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