Sergiu Celibidache, the triumphant return

A film by Wolfgang Becker

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Program notes

Sergiu Celibidache is unequivocally one of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century. If he is, to certain audiences, less well-known than Karajan, Solti, or Furtwängler, it is likely because he rarely allowed his concerts to be recorded, always aiming to create a singular, transcendental experience in the concert hall. His career was nevertheless exceptional, beginning with a stint at the head of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the years after World War II. The orchestra's election of Karajan to the chief conductor spot led Celibidache to declare he would never again make music with them—but 38 years later, with a personal invitation from the President of Germany, he made a triumphant return to the front of the Berliner Philharmoniker in an unforgettable rendition of Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. The film documents their long-anticipated reunion, including interviews with former orchestra members and impressive stock footage from post-war Berlin.

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