C0134. HANS KNAPPERTSBUSCH Cond. Berlin Phil., Vienna Phil., Suisse Romande Orch., etc., w.Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Helena Braun, etc.: Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Wagner, Bruckner, Strauss, Pfitzner, Nicolai, Weber, Komzak, Johann Strauss, etc. 10-Document 205229, recorded 1928-52. Boxed Set. Final Sealed Copy! - 4011222052292
"Hans Knappertsbusch was one of the most renowned and beloved conductors of the German Romantic repertoire in the middle twentieth century. He spent several summers as an assistant to director Siegfried Wagner and conductor Hans Richter at the Bayreuth Festival and took part in the Netherlands Wagner Festivals in 1913 and 1914. After the end of World War I Knappertsbusch worked in Dessau and Leipzig, and in 1922 he was asked to succeed Bruno Walter as music director of the Munich Opera.
Knappertsbusch's personality was easygoing; he was notably free of the restlessness and undue ambition that often attended a rising career such as his. He was content mainly to stay in Munich, with the result that he never became as well-known as many of his colleagues. In any case, Munich fully appreciated Knappertsbusch's talents, and he was named conductor for life. However, he refused several demands made by the Nazis and was fired from his lifetime post in 1936. He conducted a memorable SALOME in Covent Garden in 1936 and 1937, and made some guest appearances elsewhere in Germany, but was content to maintain a low profile during the Nazi regime. He left Germany after the Munich debacle, settling in Vienna where he frequently conducted the Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera. Knappertsbusch's career was again affected by the Nazis when Germany took over Austria over in 1938, but he was mostly able to steer clear of trouble.
Knappertsbusch gained a reputation for broad, magisterial performances of Bruckner, and more and more seemed to emerge as the representative of the traditional style of unhurried Wagner performances. He was famous for disliking rehearsals, often cutting them short; his orchestral players maintained that this was not the result of laziness, but of complete security in his interpretation and trust of the players. His performances were therefore not rigidly preconceived, but instead had a remarkable freshness and spontaneity.
When the Bayreuth Festival reopened in 1951, Knappertsbusch worked closely with Wieland Wagner on orchestral matters (though the conductor was known to dislike the director's spare, revolutionary stage productions). Perhaps Knappertsbusch's most notable recording is his stereo account of Wagner's PARSIFAL from the Bayreuth stage."
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“After an early career in provincial opera companies, Knappertsbusch succeeded Bruno Walter as conductor of the Munich Opera in 1922. Although he was fervently nationalistic and conservative, Hitler considered Knappertsbusch inept both as an opera manager and as an operatic conductor and in 1936 prohibited him from conducting anywhere in Germany. After several years as conductor at the Vienna Opera and the Salzburg Festival, he and Nazi-party authorities were reconciled. Hitler dismissed him as a ‘military bandleader’ but permitted him to conduct several times at the Nuremberg party rallies and at the celebration of his birthday. Knappertsbusch also conducted in occupied countries, once in Cracow at the invitation of the notorious Hans Frank, Governor of the rump state of Poland. After the war Knappertsbusch returned to Munich. He was known for his interpretations of Wagner and Bruckner and was a leading conductor at Bayreuth between 1951 and 1964, famed for his PARSIFAL performances.”
- Frederic Spotts, Great Conductors of the Third Reich
"Wolfgang Schneiderhan was born on 28 May, 1915 in Vienna as the son of the actor Theodor Schneiderhan, and received his first violin lessons from his mother, the prominent zither virtuoso Emma Schneider-Fallmann. He performed in public for the first time as a child prodigy in 1920. He then studied with Julius Winkler in Vienna, and supplemented his training through studies with Otakar Sevcik in Pisek, as did his brother Walther, who later became concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony. By the end of the 1920s Wolfgang Schneiderhan's international career had begun, which would lead him to important centers of music and festivals worldwide. In addition to this, he developed a very successful orchestral career, becoming concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony in 1933 before taking up the same position with the Vienna State Opera on 1 September, 1937.
Shortly thereafter, together with Otto Strasser, Ernst Morawec und Richard Krotschak, he founded the Schneiderhan Quartet, an ensemble which existed until 1951. By then, Wolfgang Schneiderhan had already left the Philharmonic. His solo career was not compatible with work in the orchestra, and despite great efforts on the part of then chairman Rudolf Hanzl, he relinquished his orchestral duties on 31 May, 1949, although in the following years never did he lose contact with the orchestra. Even after parting with the string quartet he did not turn away completely from chamber music activities, as he continued to play piano trio with Edwin Fischer and Enrico Mainardi and violin sonatas with Carl Seemann. In September 1952 he made his benchmark Deutsche Grammophon recordings of all ten Beethoven violin sonatas with Wilhelm Kempff in the Konzerthaus, Mozartsaal, Vienna.
As successor to Georg Kulenkampf he directed master classes in violin at the International Music Festival in Lucerne, an institution which provided him a musical home for many decades. He was co-founder, together with Rudolf Baumgartner, of the renowned Festival Strings Lucerne in 1956. Schneiderhan's professorships at the Salzburg Mozarteum and Vienna College of Music are indicative of his lifelong activities as pedagogue, which he complemented through his endeavors as editor and publisher of numerous classical violin compositions, and articles and lectures pertaining thereto, which continued up until his death.
Wolfgang Schneiderhan was concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic for only 12 years; he appeared 80 times with the Vienna Philharmonic as soloist. The solo repertoire which he performed with the Philharmonic was predominantly made up of the violin concerti of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvorák, as well as Mozart's Sinfonia concertante, Beethoven's 'Triple' Concerto, violin romances, and the 'Double' Concerto of Brahms. He also performed works by Arcangelo Corelli, Joseph Haydn, Giovanni Battista Viotti, Niccolo Paganini, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Edward Elgar, Edouard Lalo and Igor Stravinsky. Schneiderhan appeared with his wife, Irmgard Seefried, who sang Mozart's soprano aria 'Non temer, amato bene', KV 490, while he played the violin obbligato. The time span of Schneiderhan's appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic was longer than most musicians' entire professional career.
Wolfgang Schneiderhan performed with the most prominent musicians of the 20th century: Géza Anda, Karl Böhm, Edwin Fischer, Pierre Fournier, Ferenc Fricsay, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Gerhart Hetzel, Herbert von Karajan, Istvan Kertész, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Richard Krotschak, Enrico Mainardi, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, and Janos Starker. The most prominent admirer of his artistic ability was none other than Richard Strauss, who conducted concertmaster Schneiderhan in both of the legendary concerts on the occasion of the master's 75th and 80th birthdays in 1939 and again in 1944. For Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Schneiderhan was the measure of all things relating to the violin."
- Vienna Philharmonic