Lorin Maazel is Seventy. 6 March locates the occasion in our year 2000,
and to mark it Joachim Kaiser, arguably Germany's dean of music critics,
devoted 1,800 words in four columns of today's Munich's Sueddeutsche
Kaiser first covered Maazel at his very first Munich appearance in 1960.
To Kaiser's approval he conducted a concert comprised of the adagio from
Mahler 10, Schoenberg's Orchestral Variations, and Stravinsky's Sacre.
He still follows him with punctilious interest, both when triumphant but
also on the rare occasions when Maazel simply does not manage to bring it
off. But then, Maazel does happen to be conductor of the Bavarian Radio
Symphony, a slot he's held since 1993 and will hold into 2002. Kaiser
has experienced Maazel when, in an emergency, he took over in 1978 a
performance here of Verdi's Otello and without a rehearsal conducted a
performance that " even overshadowed the performance of it at the premiere
by Carlos Kleiber." But he also experienced in 1996 a flop, a performance
of Tristan marking the reopening of the Prinzregenten Theater after its
long-delayed restoration from WW II destruction. "Embarrassingly pale,"
It's this somewhat mercurial quality, Kaiser hints, that may have cost
Maazel election to the musical direction of the Berlin Philharmonic, which
chose Abbado instead. " That may have affected the artist in Maazel
deeply, "Kaiser writes." They had played together so many concerts. Did
the Berliners distrust Maazel because he sometime made such 'positivistic
" music? Because he doesn't trade in mysticism? Because on principle he
eschews deliberately freighting music with it--preferring instead letting
the weight increase organically, as the music itself builds it up."
Kaiser notes that in this respect Maazel differed from Eugen Jochum, who
also conducted here. Jochum played Bruckner as if the way he composed was
the product of formative years spent directing the music at St. Florian,
a Catholic monastery near Linz, Austria. Or, take another contrasting
figure, Celibidache. To Kaiser was once attributed a line in which he
called (the markedly mystical) Celi an "asshole." As this line appeared in
the weekly magazine of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, where Kaiser is the senior
cultural editor, there must have been something to it. And there clearly
was, because Celi was more of a Jochum than was Jochum himself.
For Kaiser, Maazel is a _considered_ conductor, par excellence. And
this, insists Kaiser, is by no means a weakness, but a characteristic of
greatness. If trouble there is, he goes on, then it lies with Maazel's
venerable mastery. " Even the delicacies in a score are no longer a
challenge to him,"he writes. "Thus, on occasion, he succumbs to the
technocratic account." What, then, is it that we may wish Lorin Maazel
for his birthday? " For him to find joy in conducting and composing..,"
proposes Kaiser."It is this which makes him and keeps him fresh....."
Denis Fodor Internet:[log in to unmask]