S0575. GERHARD TASCHNER & WALTER GIESEKING (Pf.): Sonata #3 in d (Brahms); Sonata in A (Franck), Broadcast Performances, 10 April, 1947; w.Hubert Giesen (Pf.): Il Trillo del Diavolo Sonata in g (Tartini), Broadcast Performance, 27 March, 1949; Zigeunerweisen (Sarasate), Broadcast Performance, 4 July, 1943. (Germany) Archipel 0035. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 7640104000358
“Interest in Gerhard Taschner has grown in recent years. Born in Jagerndorf in 1922 his early training was fascinating – early studies with his grandfather were followed by two years with Hubay in Budapest (from 1930-32) and then time in Vienna with Huberman. He’d already given his début in Prague in 1929 as a wunderkind seven year old, playing a Mozart Concerto. In 1932 at the age of ten he gave a full-scale standard prodigy trio of concerti, assisted by a doubtless wary Felix Weingartner and the Vienna Symphony. Unusually peripatetic, he went briefly to America to chance his arm but returned to Germany and thence to Brno where he took a position at the second desk in the Theatre Orchestra. Here, aged seventeen, he was heard by Hermann Abendroth who was duly impressed, and later on by Furtwängler who encouraged him to stay in Berlin. During the War it was Taschner who, along with Siegfried Borries (the Philharmonic’s previous leader) and Erich Rohn, provided the leader-soloists to promote the concerto literature – supporting such acknowledged stars as Georg Kulenkampff. Taschner had some significant successes during these years, not least in the dedication of Fortner’s Concerto, but in later years he turned more to teaching, chamber music and jury serving. He formed duos with Gieseking and Edith Fernadi and was a member of the Taschner-Hoelscher-Gieseking trio. He died prematurely in 1976 at the age of fifty-four.”
- Jonathan Woolf
“Taschner was born in Krnov, Czechoslovakia, of Moravian origins. After studying with his grandfather, he played Mozart's Fifth Violin Concerto at his début in Prague, when aged only 7. He studied with Jeno Hubay in Budapest 1930-32, and with Bronislaw Huberman and Adolf Bak in Vienna. At age 10, he played three concertos with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Felix Weingartner. By age 17, having undertaken tours in the United States and Germany, he was concertmaster at the City Theatre of Brno. In 1941, still aged only 19, he was chosen by Wilhelm Furtwängler as Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, while also forging a solo career. He attracted immediate attention, and his portrait was used on advertisements for the orchestra's upcoming programs. In the dying days of the Second World War, the sacked German munitions minister Albert Speer devised a plan to protect the players of the Berlin Philharmonic from the invading Soviet forces. They would play a concert under Robert Heger and then be whisked away to a safe location out of Berlin. Gerhard Taschner played the Beethoven Violin Concerto. At the end of the concert, however, the players voted to remain in Berlin, in solidarity with their patrons, who were unable to escape. However, Taschner left in a car driven by Speer's chauffeur, taking with him his wife, two children, and the daughter of another musician. They took refuge in Thurnau. From 1946 to 1950 he lived in Rüdesheim am Rhein.
After the War he joined the pianist Walter Gieseking and the cellist Ludwig Hoelscher in a celebrated piano trio. He also played the violin-piano repertoire with Gieseking and Edith Fernadi and the concerto repertoire under conductors such as Karl Böhm, Georg Solti, Joseph Keilberth and Carl Schuricht. He was mainly responsible for making Khachaturian's Violin Concerto in D minor known in Germany, having had the score made available to him by the Soviets. In 1947 he made only the third recording of the work, after its dedicatée David Oistrakh in 1944 and Louis Kaufman in 1946. Wolfgang Fortner dedicated his Violin Concerto to Gerhard Taschner. He premièred it in 1947 and went on to become its greatest champion. Fortner also dedicated his Violin Sonata to Taschner. In 1948 Taschner played the Dvorák Violin Concerto in Vienna under Leonard Bernstein, who declined to invite him to the United States at that time.
His personal nature was difficult and uncompromising, often leading to irreparable rifts with students, peers and others. He had very strong and inflexible ideas which sometimes put him at odds with conductors and composers. In 1944 he suggested to Jean Sibelius that the final movement of his Violin Concerto in d be played more slowly than the composer had indicated; a suggestion not taken up by Sibelius. During a rehearsal in the late 1940s, he and the conductor Herbert von Karajan were unable to agree on some matters of artistic interpretation, which led to Taschner storming out of the rehearsal and refusing to play the concert; the two never played together again. In 1950 Taschner was appointed a professor at the Musikhochschule in Berlin. He also concertised internationally; in South America he was dubbed ‘the Manolete of the violin’. In Europe, he was seen as the successor to Adolf Busch, Huberman and Fritz Kreisler.
A back condition caused his withdrawal from the concert platform in the early 1960s when still aged only 40. He continued to teach and play chamber music, and served on various competition juries such as the 1957 Henryk Wieniawski Competition in Poznan; the 1957 and 1959 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, the 1960 Paganini Competition in Genoa and the 1963 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Gerhard Taschner died in Berlin in 1976, aged 54.”
- Zillah D. Akron