Text Box: Conductor autographs


Price: $125.00

Autographed one page Carnegie Hall program excerpt, April 7, 1981.  The concert was the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder” and the 1st Symphony, Benjamin Luxon was the baritone soloist.  The concert was Tennstedt’s Carnegie Hall debut.  We offer with an 8” x 10” glossy original press photograph.

Tennstedt (1926-1998) described his life as “complicated”.  He did not discover Mahler until after he escaped from East Germany and was the head of the Kiel Opera during the years 1972-1976.  By that point he was in his mid 40’s.  He gravitated towards Mahler when he was trying to decide where to go with his new free life.  Which in interviews he would describe as his “zasur moment”. The time where he decided he wanted an international conducting career rather than the quiet life of a German provincial town Generalmusikdirektor.  A cult of personality always revolved around Tennstedt once he began conducting major orchestras in the mid 1970’s.  Almost a religious experience as with a Mitropoulos.  His repertoire was not as large as some conductors and he tended to focus on the German Romantics, though he would stray into performances of a few composers of a slightly later time including, Richard Strauss, Prokofiev and Kodaly.  While he was revered in his readings of Beethoven and Wagner in particular, his Mahler was unique.  He generally took his concert performances at a faster speed than most.  His readings of the 6th, 7th and 8th symphonies are particularly revered, especially the 8th, where his 1986 recording of “The Symphony of a Thousand” with the London Philharmonic is considered one of the greatest on record not just for the sound engineering, but Tennstedt’s intense reading and the performance he elicited from the orchestra, soloists and chorus.

Donal Henanhan of the “New York Times” had the following to say about Tennstedt’s reading of the “Titan” Symphony during this concert, Mr. Tennstedt, no doubt about it, had titanic aims in mind on this occasion, driving the score along with a fierce energy that verged on outright frenzy, particularly in the bristling first and last movements. The grand intention was evident from the start, and was driven home when Mr. Tennstedt took the big first-movement repeat that so many Mahler conductors regard as expendable….This was a throat-grabbing performance of the sort that strips the skin away from the sonorous surface, exposing the disturbed psyche that already was beginning to appear in Mahler's music….None of this interested Mr. Tennstedt, who reveled in the bizarre and drove the work to the edge of craziness in a way that reminded one more of Mahler's middle symphonies than his first. He was not as kind to the soloist Luxon, but praised the orchestra and Tennstedt, However, it simply did not sound or feel like ''Kindertotenlieder'' to this listener, despite some splendid playing by the Philadelphians, who hung on each phrase lovingly in the intense manner that an orchestra must cultivate if it is to sound the echt-Viennese, truly idiomatic Mahler note.

It would appear Tennstedt was not fond of signing autographs as they do not appear nearly as often as his major contemporaries; one could call them rare.

Perfect for display with the photograph!



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