Karajan was not alone in this, among distinguished foreign conductors. Giulini once told Alan Blyth in a gramophone interview (again, I'd have to spend a morning wading through back numbers to find this) that he'd been looking at Elgar. So far, he thought Falstaff would make a good ballet but felt no urge to conduct it in concert. In the end, nothing emerged (though you might think Gerontius would have appealed to him) but in his case, too, ignorance of the music was not the reason.
Much more recently, in an interview with Michael Cookson on MWI, Chailly dismissed the idea that he should conduct Elgar."With Elgar I have to keep control of my emotions too much". I hasten to say that I personally find this statement incomprehensible, but there it is.
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