C1838. HERMANN ABENDROTH Cond. Gewandhaus Orch.: Mazeppa (Liszt), Broadcast Performance, 1944; w. Günther Ramin (Organ): Festlisches Präludium (Strauss), Live Performance, 5 March, 1940, Leipzig; HERMANN ABENDROTH Cond. Berlin Rundfunk S.O., w.NINA EMELYANOVA: Piano Concerto #3 in d (Rachmaninoff), Live Performance, 15 Nov., 1953, Berlin. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-1086. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“FESTLICHES PRÄLUDIUM is a contemporary of the ALPENSINFONIE, with which it has more than a passing resemblance. Strauss had already written his main orchestral works by 1913 when he was asked to write a piece for the opening of the Wiener Konzerthaus. This circumstance suggests a parallel with Beethoven's CONSECRATION OF THE HOUSE, written for the opening of a theatre, at a date when he had written all his symphonies. If Beethoven came up with a Handelian overture, Strauss wrote a solemn work, based on hymn-like tunes, celebratory fanfares and majestic organ chords, in all their diatonic grandeur. The piece opens with a thoroughly Straussian succession of organ chords, immediately followed by a brass fanfare. The reply of the strings has somewhat of an Elgarian pensiveness. Mutual replies between this motive and the opening chord succession subside in preparation for the main theme, which is as diatonic as it possibly could: An ascending fourth, a broken major triad and the first five notes of an ascending scale. This theme is developed into a climax that sounds like a passage of the ALPENSINFONIE, and then another which calls for the whole power of the brass. The final section, based on the main theme with a timpani repeating the interval of a fourth reminds of the coda of Mahler's Sixth Symphony, after which the organ closes with a reprise of the opening page.”
- Hector Bellman, allmusic.com
“Hermann Abendroth (1883–1956) deserves a greater reputation than he has. His neglect is largely due to the fact that he was active in a generation of giants, being a contemporary of Furtwängler, Klemperer, Toscanini, Stokowski, Walter, Beecham, Mravinsky, and Mengelberg, to single out just some of the leading lights. He held the post of Kapellmeister of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne from 1914 to 1934 but was removed by the Nazi authorities because he was found to be too sympathetic to Jews. However, he subsequently had a thriving career. He was appointed Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, to replace the Jewish Bruno Walter, and he remained there through the Third Reich while regularly conducting the Berlin Philharmonic and appearing at Bayreuth in 1943 and 1944. After the war Abendroth found himself in East Germany, and because of his Nazi associations he was briefly barred from conducting. He protested that he had never attended any political rally or meeting, which ultimately led to his name being cleared. The Communists appointed him as head of the Radio Orchestra in Leipzig. The bulk of his late career was spent in Communist-controlled countries, including Russia and Czechoslovakia, but also Scandinavia."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
"...[Abendroth] was a bright star in the constellation of German musicians. His recordings are less rare than little known, especially in the West. Though most are late, they are all in the old manner and warrant attention from anyone with an interest in musical traditions."
- David Radcliffe, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan./Feb., 1996
"Perhaps not a household name except to followers of exceptional, tradition-oriented conductors, Hermann Abendroth was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1883, the year of Wagner 's death, and he studied in Munich, where one of his teachers was Felix Mottl, the legendary conductor and former pupil of Anton Bruckner. His artistic life centered around Cologne and Leipzig. After being conductor of the Cologne Gurzenich Orchestra from 1915 to 1934, he spent eleven years as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He also directed the Cologne Conservatory and had a hand in forming the College of Music. His conducting was marked by his unpretentious objectivity, and this attitude corresponded with the way he pursued his career - straightforwardly and always thinking far ahead. He was an artist with roots to his home and his institution. Just months after World War II he was appointed musical director in Weimar, where he felt at home up to the time of his death in 1956. In 1949 he had also assumed the direction of the Leipzig Radio Symphony, and four years later of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. What all of his interpretations share is the sense of architecture and dramatic structure which always places the parts of a movement in the larger context. For Hermann Abendroth, interpreting meant performing a work to the best of one's knowledge, not distorting it whatever the cost with a reading of one's own."
- Zillah D. Akron