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Price: $165.00

FINE CONDITION

GUNTHER RAMIN - ORGANIST

Typed letter signed to the Jewish, German born, Argentine concert manager and promoter Gerard Uhlfelder, Leipzig, November 15, 1955.  In addition we add a vintage Hartmann of Leipzig photographic postcard of Ramin at the harpsichord in 1940.

 

Leipzig, 15.11.55

 

Dear Mr. Uhfelder,

 

I would like to thank you very much for your letter. I really do not know how to deal with the dentist's problem from here, a transfer of corresponding amounts from here is technically quite impossible, even if we wanted to burden the parents of the boys with it. In this connection, I would like to say to you that the return journey through the bad luck of the railway strike in France caused several thousand Westmark expenses because we were forced to rent from Le Havre to Frankfurt AM a bus while we had the railway tickets in our currency from Leipzig.  So we had to spend this enormous sum on some travel through further concerts. At first Mr. Schmidtke in Kassel was so amiable, and has forwarded us the whole sum. When I was present at the Ministry in Berlin, I was told:

 

"The enormously high number of tourists from Germany, from which one can see the entire appreciation of the chorus, has all the financial questions which are initially available in the South American contracting parties.  In the case of an average concert visit of more than 1,000 visitors per concert, it cannot be considered as a matter of having to pay the additional costs incurred on the return journey from the receivers, since we cannot provide more than the amount so far provided."

 

With the best regards, and in the hope that your concert directorate is developing well under the new circumstances, I am.

 

Your,

Gunther Ramin

Ramin, as Thomaskantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, then a part of the recently formed East Germany decided took his Boys Choir to Russia twice in 1953 and 1954 and then to further increase the prestige of the Choir took them in 1955 on a tour of South America. He employed the German émigré concert promoter Gerard Uhlfelder to manage the tour.  As travel during that time was more difficult and less reliable, they encountered over-runs.  In addition it appears there was a dentistry issue with one of the boys and a dentists bill went unpaid.  It took a loan from a certain Mr. Schmidtke to sure up their return travel.  Ramin went to the East German government to seek some financial relief and as one can see in the letter was given a bureaucratic run-around. Westmark’s were the name for the West German currency of the time.  An interesting look at the aftermath of a large concert tour!

The legendary German organist, (1898-1956) was originally a member of the choir of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, also attending the school there for choirboys.  He was conscripted into the Germans army during World War I, his mentor Karl Straube, the Reger disciple and Thomaskantor at the time helped leave the army by having him elected organist of the Thomaskirche.  Once released, he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Teichmuller and Krehl and became Straube’s assistant.  In 1920 he was appointed organist of the Gewandhaus orchestra and was named organ professor at the Leipzig Conservatory.  From 1933-1942 he was also the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Chorus.  From 1945-1951 he was the Chorus Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.  In 1940 he was appointed Kantor of the Thomaskirche, (Johann Sebastian Bach held the same position.) upon the retirement of his mentor Karl Straube. It was the single most prestigious organ post in the German speaking World. In addition, Ramin maintained a solo career, both organ and harpsichord and was known as one of the greatest improvisationists in the World.   His solo tours took him throughout Europe and the Americas, after World War II, those tours were confined to the Communist block Countries.  In 1955, Ramin took the Thomaschor on a South American tour and Gerard Uhlfelder was his manager for the tour.  He died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage in 1956 at the age of 58.

Gerard Uhlfelder, a German-Jewish concert manager and promoter left Germany in 1938 for Buenos Aires, where he established Organización de Conciertos Gérard in 1948. He quickly became the leading promoter of Classical concerts throughout South America, catering to the large population of Europeans living in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Uruguay and other Countries on the Continent. He managed the tours of among others; Maurice Abravanel & the Utah Symphony, Wilhelm Kempff, Ruggiero Ricci, Joseph Szigeti and many others.

A rare and important organist autograph!