A Deutsche Gramophon tribute set by his widow, Eliette, reveals the conductor at both his worst and his best. The first disc opens with a doubly pasteurised Beethoven Pastoral, synthetic to a fault, followed by homogenised Debussy and Ravel and a Mahler Adagietto from which all pain has been anaesthetised – a travesty of Mahler. The second disc contains extracts of oratorio and opera, some of them transcendentally moving – an effulgent "Erbarme mich" from Bach's St Matthew Passion, a thrilling "Dies Irae" from Verdi's Requiem and clips from Wagner's Walküre. The bigger the forces, the better Karajan liked it.
If you listen to classical music, it is hard to avoid the man.