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Herbert von Karajan

Those who have achieved all their aims probably set them too low.

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No music is vulgar, unless it is played in a way that makes it so.

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I can play with my seventy strings a pianissimo which is much, much more subtle than a chamber orchestra's.

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Sometimes, when I listen to some of my old recordings, I envy painters who can simply burn the pictures they don't like. I cannot.

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Mahler's music is full of dangers and traps, and one of them, which many fell into, is oversensualizing the thing until it becomes sort of...kitsch.

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Until recently, and especially in ancient civilizations like China, a man was always trying to get old, old, old, because he was then regarded as a sage and everyone had to be silent when he spoke. But now, our times have reversed everything...

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Music begins to be 'manipulated' the moment it is interpreted by a conductor or a soloist and played by an orchestra in a hall with a specific acoustic. All these factors 'manipulate' music and so does the fact that I ask the oboe please to play more piano. And you are manipulating the orchestra for one reason only: to get the sound you want. In the recording studio you are using the equipment at hand for exactly the same reason.

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From the beginning of my career I told myself, among other things, that I didn't want to take orders from anybody. I have now reached a position where I can do what I choose to do and from the financial point of view this amounts to freedom in choosing the best artistic material available without being concerned about the cost. To me, money in itself has no attraction. But insofar as it allows me to achieve my artistic aims, money is important.

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Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan