C0135. HANS ROSBAUD conducts Maria Bergmann, Werner Grabinger, Erich Seiler, Ivry Gitlis & Hans Rosbaud (Pf.): Schönberg, Hindemith & Bartok. Music & Arts CD-627, with Program notes by Roger Dettmer. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy!
“Hans Rosbaud, internationally acclaimed conductor, was born in Graz, Austria on July 22, 1895. A superb musician and possessor of an unimpeachable personal integrity, Rosbaud managed to survive the Nazi era and World War II to emerge as one of the most respected musicians of the post-war international music scene. Rosbaud's earliest musical training was with his mother, herself an accomplished pianist. After completion of his academic education, which emphasized the study of classical languages and culture, Rosbaud entered Dr. Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main and distinguished himself as a pianist, composer and conductor. His teachers were Bernhard Sekles (Composition) and Alfred Hoehn (Piano). Paul Hindemith was one of his fellow students at the Conservatory.
In 1921 Rosbaud began his professional career in Mainz, having been chosen as the youngest from a field of 80 candidates to become the director of the newly-formed municipal School of Music and conductor of the municipal symphony concerts. Within a few years the School of Music developed an excellent reputation in Germany and eventually became an Academy of Music. Rosbaud became musical director and principal conductor of the orchestra of Radio Frankfurt in 1928. His extensive activity in Frankfurt and the consistent quality of his conducting broadened his sphere of influence and increased his renown. Of particular significance was his fostering of contemporary music, which soon made Frankfurt a center for activity in this field. The great masters of new music- Alban Berg, Arnold Schönberg, Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern and Paul Hindemith - were regular participants in the Radio Frankfurt concerts at this time. Rosbaud conducted the premieres of the Bartok Second Piano Concerto (with the composer as soloist), Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Hindemith's Concerto for Brass and Strings and Schoenberg's Variations Op. 31, among many other works.
With the establishment of the fascist regime in Germany, his persistent efforts on behalf of members of his orchestra who suffered persecution by the authorities won him the respect and support of the population. Rosbaud was the first conductor from Germany to be invited to France after the war, and he was warmly received on that occasion. In 1944/1945 he held the position of conductor with the Radio Orchestra Munich at Bayreuth.
After the war, in 1945, the U.S. Military Government in Germany asked Rosbaud to assume the position of conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. Thanks to his inexhaustible energy and unfailing devotion to his work, and despite the unbelievable circumstances he faced in a nearly-destroyed city, he succeeded in building a musical life in Munich whose vitality and high quality were unexcelled in Germany at that time. In accomplishing this he was given fullest support by the U.S. authorities.
In 1948 Rosbaud left Munich to become general music director and first conductor of the Suedwestfunk Orchestra in Baden-Baden. In 1950 he also became conductor of the well-known Tonhalle Orchestra of Zürich and the Zürich Opera. His successes with the Suedwestfunk (SWF) in particular put his career on an international basis. Rosbaud's activities as a champion of contemporary music won him international recognition, and his ensemble participated regularly in the Donaueschingen Festival of Contemporary Music to considerable acclaim. Rosbaud was annually invited to conduct at the prestigious Aix-en-Provence Festival as well. Rosbaud established himself as a regular guest conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Hans Rosbaud was considered by some to be the outstanding conductor of his generation. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors in recognition of his unique contribution to the world of music. One of his most sensational successes was in conducting the world premiere of Arnold Schönberg's formidable opera-oratorio MOSES UND ARON in Hamburg in 1954, a feat he undertook on only eight days notice."
- Washington State University Libraries
“No musician of Rosbaud’s generation did more to canonize its avant-garde. Igor Stravinsky offered a letter of recommendation for ‘this high-minded musician, this aristocrat among conductors’. Paul Hindemith was a classmate and lifelong friend. Anton Webern was a house guest.
Quiet and scholarly, this ‘grim, Lincolnesque’ man, as a writer once described him, seemed to be the antithesis of a celebrity maestro. His major positions were not with big-name symphonies, but less-prominent radio ensembles. He made few commercial records, superb though those few were. He had no interest in fame. Few conductors, then, have more to gain from an opening of the vaults. More than 700 of Rosbaud’s performances have been languishing in archives, most of them at SWR, the successor to Southwest German Radio in Baden-Baden, his artistic home after 1948.
Claudia Cassidy put her pen on Rosbaud’s typical style in 1962. ‘Rosbaud gave us a blueprint’, this ordinarily truculent Chicago Tribune critic wrote after hearing him lead Stravinsky’s RITE OF SPRING. ‘Not the kind that lies inert on the drafting table, but the kind that sets skyscrapers soaring, flings bridges into space and sends imagination spinning into orbit’.
Rosbaud despised Nazism…and endeared himself to the Alsatians, speaking French, protecting the musicians and acting with sufficient decency that even Charles Munch, the fiercely antifascist Strasbourgian conductor, thought him beyond reproach. Despite Rosbaud’s work in occupied territory, the American military rushed to clear him in denazification proceedings. Shorn of any unfortunate ideological associations in either his politics or his aesthetics, he was general music director in Munich before 1945 was over.
The joys of what SWR has unearthed are subtle, not sensational. Those who need grand statements in their Beethoven might be disappointed, whatever the grinding insistence of his Fifth Symphony, the liquid flow of his Sixth, the effervescence of his Eighth. Those who want bombast in their Tchaikovsky will doubt his unmissable Fifth, so full of dark psychological shadows that it is almost redolent of Mahler. And in Mahler, Rosbaud’s early advocacy for whom was characteristic of a conductor so often half a beat ahead of his time, he comes close to ideal.
The Chicago Symphony, where Rosbaud had long spells as a guest conductor between 1959 and 1962, considered him to succeed Fritz Reiner as music director. But Chicago was not to be. Rosbaud died on Dec. 29, 1962."
- David Allen, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 13 Jan., 2022