Saturday, 2 July 2016

Celibidache and The philosophy of music

Are in you interested in music? 
How many conductors do you know? 
I must be honest, I've never been interested in conductors as such... . Shame on me. 
The only one I know is Herbert von Karajan and the one I have the duty to write about: Sergiu Celibidache.

As you may have guessed, Celibidache was Romanian and... keep reading. You won't regret it.



After spending my whole afternoon on line, I've reached to the conclusion I am not such a great patriot as I thought I was. 
I didn't know much about my fellow compatriot and I am truly ashamed. 
I used to think that he was just a conductor... . 
"What can a conductor do? 
Somebody else wrote the music, others are playing it, he just moves the hands and does weird gestures."
I found out that he wasn't at all JUST a conductor, but also a philosopher, composer, a great teacher and linguist and people were fascinated by him. 
His charisma was breathtaking and you can see that from the few recordings on line. 

He was completely against recordings. He thought the magic of the music happened in a live performance and so he just would not formally record.
What a shame, what a loss for the entire world. Only after his death, several recordings of his concerts were finally released officially.

A comment by someone on a post about the greatest conductors of the world, someone mentions Celibidache and refers to him as “the best of the best” and the author replies: “Celibidache is sadly overlooked.”
The fact that he was accused of not being fond of women playing in orchestras, may be one reason.
I also come to understand that he was a perfectionist and would make the orchestras rehears so many times leading it to exhaustion. RAI orchestra (Rome) players refused to be conducted by him because of that. 

Born In Romania on 28 June 1912, died on 14 August 1996, France.

 "Celibidache was the most phenomenally gifted musician. He could shape a piece any way he liked, and did… of his musicianship, his ability and his showmanship there can be no doubt. His intellect was prodigious - he spoke fifteen languages, or it may have been thirty. Who knows? He was a truly, truly great musician. He was certainly a character and conductor one can't ignore in terms of the development of conducting in the second half of the twentieth century". - Norman Lebrecht



Some dates from his career:

"1936–45: After studying music, philosophy and mathematics in Bucharest and Paris, he attends the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin.
29. August 1945: First concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker, while Furtwängler is banned from conducting.
1946–54: Principal Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker (from 1947–52 the post is shared with Furtwängler).
21. December 1946: First German performance of Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony; Celibidache is unhappy with the recording of this concert and from then on refuses to have his concerts recorded.
1960–63: Intensive collaboration with the Royal Chapel in Copenhagen.
1963–71: Intensive collaboration with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
1970: Is made a knight of the Vasa-Order in Sweden.
1971–77: Music Director of the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart.
1972: Gives masterclasses in Siena and Bologna.
1973–75: Music Director of the Orchestre National de France.
1978–92: Spends several weeks each year teaching musical phenomenology at the University of Mainz.
1979–96: General Music Director of the City of Munich and Music Director of the Münchner Philharmoniker.
1991: Celibidache is appointed Professor “honoris causa” of the City of Berlin and of the Musikhochschule in Munich.
1992: On the request of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Richard von Weizsäcker, Celibidache returns to the podium to lead the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time in 37 years. "-  From Medici.tv

When teaching (especially in Siena), Celibidache, would divide the class by language, then translate to each section of the class what he was saying. People would go to the class just to see him switch languages.
In 1985 he joined the faculty at the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia.

During his studies in Berlin, Celibidache was introduced to Zen Buddhism and his whole life was influenced by it.
And at the end of this post I can honestly say that I won't be thinking of him as a conductor anymore, but a philosopher of music.
I am not saying that just because we share the same nationality, but because he's someone who deserves to be written about.
I am sure you agree if you watch him conducting. 





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