Carl Schuricht

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Carl Schuricht (around 1910)
Carl Schuricht's signature

Carl Adolph Schuricht (born July 3, 1880 in Danzig ; † January 7, 1967 in Corseaux -sur- Vevey , Canton of Vaud ) was a German composer and one of the most important orchestral conductors of the 20th century.

From 1923 to 1944 he was general music director in Wiesbaden, where he achieved international renown through his interpretation of the works of Gustav Mahler . He was also chief conductor of the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra (1931–1933) and the Dresden Philharmonic (1944) and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic Choir (1933–1934). Before the end of the war he left Germany and settled in Switzerland .

From then on Schuricht worked as a guest conductor, among others with the Concertgebouw Orchestra , the Orchester de la Suisse Romande and the Berlin Philharmonic . He cultivated particularly close relationships with the Vienna Philharmonic , whose Honorary Conductor he was appointed in 1960. He appeared with them several times at the Salzburg Festival and celebrated international success on tours abroad.

He was considered an important interpreter of the works of the Viennese Classic and the symphonies of Anton Bruckner .

Live and act

Origin and studies

Carl Adolph Schuricht was born in Gdansk in 1880, the son of the organist and organ builder Carl Conrad Schuricht (January 27, 1856– June 9, 1880) and the Polish oratorio singer and pianist Amanda Ludowika Alwine Schuricht, née Wusinowska (December 11, 1847–1935) . He became a citizen of the Free City of Gdansk at birth . The grandfather Carl Gotthilf Schuricht was an organ builder with whom Carl Adolph's father worked. He drowned three weeks before his son was born when he was trying to rescue an assistant who had fallen from the ship while transporting instruments across the Baltic Sea. Since the mother did not remarry, the boy was raised by his uncle.

Schuricht attended the Friedrichs Realgymnasium in Berlin from 1886 and the Royal Realgymnasium in Wiesbaden from 1892 . He was interested in the poets Joseph von Eichendorff and Adalbert Stifter . Schuricht learned violin and piano from the age of six , composed his first pieces at the age of eleven (and wrote the libretti for two operas) and began conducting at the age of fifteen. His first teacher was the Wiesbaden court conductor Franz Mannstädt .

In 1902 he received the composition prize of the Kuszynski Foundation and a scholarship from Franz von Mendelssohn (nephew of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy ). From 1901 to 1903 he studied piano with Ernst Rudorff and composition with Engelbert Humperdinck and Heinrich van Eyken at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. Further studies followed with Max Reger in Leipzig. He was also in close contact with the violinist Henri Marteau and the writer Friedrich Lienhard .

Professional background

General music director in Wiesbaden

In the 1901/02 season, Schuricht was a répétiteur at the Mainz State Theater . From 1904 to 1906 he could not go about his work due to illness. For one season in 1906 he was the conductor of the Dortmund Philharmonic on behalf of Georg Hüttner . In 1907/08 Schuricht worked as operetta conductor at the Zwickau City Theater . This was followed by a position as a conductor with the Bad Kreuznach spa orchestra and the direction of the oratorio and male choir concerts in Goslar . Among other things, he campaigned for the distribution of the works of Frederick Delius in Germany.

Kurhaus Wiesbaden

In 1909, Carl Schuricht succeeded Siegfried Ochs as choirmaster of the Rühl'schen Oratorienverein in Frankfurt am Main . From 1912 to 1944 he was music director (from 1922 general music director) of Wiesbaden. From 1928 to 1933 Schuricht lived in the Hotel Oranien . Between 1930 and 1939 he directed the Municipal Orchestra at its cycle and symphony concerts in the Wiesbaden Kurhaus . Schuricht put classical, romantic and modern music by Alban Berg , Claude Debussy , Paul Hindemith , Maurice Ravel , Max Reger, Arnold Schönberg and Igor Stravinski on the program. His first performance of Mahler's 8th Symphony in Wiesbaden made him famous throughout Germany in 1913 .

A year later he made his debut with Brahms Symphony No. 1 in the Queen's Hall in London and in the Teatro alla Scala in Milan (again several times in the 1940s). He conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time in 1921 , and from 1925 onwards he conducted their subscription concerts with Bruno Walter . Mahler's 6th Symphony was on the program . In the summer of 1921 he conducted two out of four concerts (together with Wilhelm Furtwängler ) at the 4th Brahms Festival in Wiesbaden. He was a conductor at the First German Mahler Festival in Wiesbaden in 1923. In 1927 he made a guest appearance with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in the USA. In the summer of 1929 he gave conducting courses in Charlottenburg Palace for the German Music Institute for Foreigners under the protectorate of the Prussian Ministry of Science, Art and Education . From 1930 to 1939 he conducted the summer concerts in Scheveningen in the Netherlands and was closely associated with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Residentie Orkest Den Haag .

Chief conductor of the Leipzig Radio Orchestra and guest conductor

In the early 1930s, Schuricht competed in Leipzig with Günther Ramin , who later became the Thomaskantor , for chief conductor of the radio orchestra. From 1931 to 1933 he was chief conductor of the Leipzig Radio Orchestra . His predecessor Alfred Szendrei had previously been forced out of office by the radio because of his Jewish origins. Under Schuricht's direction, the orchestra rose to be the best radio orchestra in Germany. Then he was a candidate for the office of Gewandhaus Kapellmeister , with whose orchestra he made several guest appearances. The Gewandhaus directorate decided in 1934 in favor of Hermann Abendroth .

In 1933 Schuricht took over the Berlin Philharmonic Choir from Otto Klemperer , which he directed until 1934. Him were incumbent the premieres of Poots Allégro sinfonique and Blacher Concertante Music (Blacher's big break) and Blacher's Hamlet and Höller's Violin Concerto in the Berlin Philharmonic . In 1934 he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time . Between 1937 and 1944 he was also the first guest conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra . With the Orchester National de France he made guest appearances in 1942 and 1943 in occupied Paris.

After Paul van Kempen left , he was the first guest conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic from 1943 to 1944 . In the final phase of the Second World War (August 1944) he was included in the list of the most important conductors who had been gifted by God, approved by Adolf Hitler , which saved him from serving in the war, including on the home front . On October 1, 1944, he became chief conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic. The music critic Karl Laux wrote a euphoric commentary on Carl Schuricht in the Dresdner Zeitung in July of that year . He saw him as one of the "very first conductors of our time" and attested that he had sufficient knowledge of Dresden's musical culture.

Emigration and Swiss years

Schuricht was no longer able to exercise the office in Dresden, also because many musicians were called up for military service. In the 1940s, the differences to the National Socialist regime increased, so he supported his Jewish ex-wife, from whom he had divorced in September 1933 under political pressure, to emigrate abroad. Schuricht was supposed to be sent to a camp in 1944, but was warned beforehand by a Gestapo soldier he knew and left Germany in November 1944. The music writer Fred Hamel spoke of being expelled from Germany. The publicist Thomas Keilberth assessed Schuricht's attitude towards the regime as internal emigration and the historian Marianne Buder drew a comparison with the “difficult time conditions” of the Thomas cantor Günther Ramin . The musicologist Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt was even able to see resistance in Schuricht's conductors as "undesirable composers". The music historian Fred K. Prieberg, on the other hand, viewed Carl Schuricht's career more critically, as he believed he had benefited from the conditions in the Nazi system until 1944.

Schuricht moved to Switzerland and settled in Crans-Montana in the canton of Valais at the end of 1944 . He married the Swiss Maria Martha Banz in Zurich , whom he had previously met at the Lucerne Festival . He accepted an invitation from Ernest Ansermet to the Orchester de la Suisse Romande , with whom he worked for several years in over 60 concerts. His commitment to Mahler and Bruckner earned him criticism from conservative local musicology.

Collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic

Furtwängler Memorial Concert

On the occasion of the reopening of the Salzburg Festival in 1946, Schuricht performed works by Beethoven , Brahms, Bruckner and Mozart with the Vienna Philharmonic . He was a guest again at the Salzburg Festival in 1960, 1961, 1964 and 1965. In 1956 and 1968 he conducted the Furtwängler Memorial Concert at the Wiener Musikverein and the Salzburg Mozart Weeks . It was only during this time that he achieved international fame.

After the death of Erich Kleiber , he toured with André Cluytens with the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time after the war through the USA and Canada (such as DAR Constitution Hall in Washington and Carnegie Hall in New York). Beethoven, Berg, Bruckner, Haydn , Mendelssohn , Mozart, Strauss and Weber were heard . On the occasion of Human Rights Day on December 10th, he appeared before the General Assembly of the United Nations . Schuricht opened the Philharmonic Ball in 1957 with Johann Strauss's waltz On the Beautiful Blue Danube , and in 1958 he appeared again with the Viennese at concerts in Switzerland, France , Austria and Spain .

In the 1950s and 1960s Schuricht conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra several times . He also played with the NDR Symphony Orchestra , the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . In 1957 he was a guest conductor at the Ravinia Festival of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Highland Park , Illinois and the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Tanglewood , Massachusetts. He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1963 and 1965 .

Since 1943 Schuricht owned a villa in Corseaux-sur-Vevey on Lake Geneva . He died on January 7, 1967 in a Swiss hospital. In 2011 his urn was transferred to a grave of honor in the north cemetery in Wiesbaden.


Schuricht had a wide repertoire. He dedicated himself in particular to the Viennese Classic and Late Romanticism , and was not very enthusiastic about the works of Richard Wagner . He felt great musical devotion to Gustav Mahler. The lively cooperation with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras during the Salzburg Festival made him world famous. The international press named him in a row with Bruno Walter and Wilhelm Furtwängler , but also with Clemens Krauss , Arturo Toscanini and Otto Klemperer . As a conductor he stood for objectivity. The Stuttgart music editor Götz Thieme compared the clarity of his punch with that of Pierre Boulez . Schuricht's motto was always: “To serve a cause is better than to use it.” The musicologist Bernard Gavoty described the conductor as faithful , measured and flexible. In 1955 he gave a positive verdict on Schuricht in the series The Great Interpreters . He counted him among the "three or four greatest conductors of our time" with the ability to address all sensory levels of the listener. The musicologists Richard Schaal and Willy Tapolet spoke of the “tendency towards a strong spiritualization of interpretation”. The musicologist Matthias Meyer called his interpretations "balanced and perfectly formed". And the opera director Rudolf Schulz-Dornburg said of Schuricht: "The work and music-making of the stately little man was characterized by an artistic modesty that made him step back completely from the work of a composer."

In contrast to the younger Herbert von Karajan , his recordings were manageable due to the lack of a permanent orchestra. However, important recordings have been made with the Vienna Philharmonic (Bruckner symphonies) and the Orchester de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire ( Beethoven symphonies ). The musicologist Fritz Oeser interpreted his Beethoven recordings as those in which “the strictest male objectivity is paired with an immense obsession”.



Further appreciation

The city of Wiesbaden honored him with a Carl-Schuricht-Strasse . In the Kurhaus Wiesbaden there is a Carl Schuricht salon and a memorial in front of the Christian-Zais-Saal .

Works (compositions)

Schuricht composed chamber music, songs, orchestral works and sonatas. The following works have been published by Drei-Lilien-Verlag in Wiesbaden:

  • Sonata in F minor Op. 1 for piano
  • Autumn Pieces Op. 2 for piano and orchestra
  • Five songs Op. 3
  • Three Preludes Op. 4 for piano


  • Song reminder
  • Nordic fantasy for orchestra (movements: storm on the rocky coast; northern lights / winter night; mountain freedom)
  • Prelude to the drama "Heinrich von Ofterdingen" by Fritz Lienhard. Performed ao March 23, 1905 in Danzig, revised March 16, 1906 in Danzig

Family and inheritance dispute

In his will from 1955, Carl Schuricht bequeathed his entire fortune to his fourth wife (since 1944) Martha Schuricht née. Banz (1916-2011). Helmut Weisbach, geb. Johannes Schuricht (born 1916; later called himself Helmut Schuricht), son from the years of marriage between 1908 and 1922 with Frederike Heinemann and the adopted child of Hans Weisbach .

Schuricht always had doubts about the fatherhood of the child and limited himself to a welfare benefit totaling 30,000 Swiss francs to his daughter-in-law and grandchildren during his lifetime. The Civil Chamber of the Cantonal Court of Vaud ruled in 1969 in favor of the plaintiff. Martha Schuricht appealed against the decision, which was rejected by the Swiss Federal Court in 1971 on the following grounds: "The money that a father pays the divorced woman and the children of his son in order to support them is not subject to compensation." ( BGE 97 II 209)


  • From my life, lecture on December 16, 1954 in Geneva, room of the Athenaeum (manuscript in the possession of Willy Tappolet)


Discography (selection)

  • Schuricht - Maestro Agile [10 CD Box] (Documents, 2003)
  • Schuricht Decca Recordings 1949–1956 [5 CD Box] (Decca, 2004)
  • Schuricht conducts the Dresden Philharmonic (Berlin Classics, 2005)
  • Carl Schuricht Collection [20 CD Box] (Hänssler, 2007)
  • schuricht (BBC Legends, 2007)
  • Symphonies 8 & 9 / Bruckner (EMI Classics, 2012)


  • Carl Schuricht - Portrait of a Life . Documentary, FRG 1956–1958, directors: Rolf Unkel, Dieter Ertel .

Web links

Commons : Carl Schuricht  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Frank Wohlfahrt: The portrait. Carl Schuricht . In: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 118 (1957), p. 226 f.
  2. Carl Dahlhaus , Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht , Kurt Oehl (ed.): Brockhaus-Riemann Music Lexicon . Volume 4, Mainz 1995, p. 9538.
  3. Carl Gotthilf Julius Schuricht Gedanopedia (Polish)
  4. a b c Stephan Hörner: Schuricht, Carl Adolph. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Berlin 2007, p. 761.
  5. Werner Renkewitz , Jan Janca , Hermann Fischer : History of the art of organ building in East and West Prussia from 1333 to 1944. Volume II, 2. From Johann Preuss to E. Kemper & Sohn, Lübeck / Bartenstein. Siebenquart Verlag, Cologne 2015. p. 249.
  6. a b c d Tony Canstatt: Our artists. Karl Schuricht . In: Neue Musik-Zeitung 12 (1912), p. 257 f.
  7. Kurt Buchholz: He shaped Wiesbaden's reputation as a city of music - 40 years ago the conductor and honorary citizen of the city Carl Schuricht died. Last resting place in the north cemetery . In: Wiesbadener Tagblatt from July 3, 2007.
  8. ^ Bernard Gavoty: The great interpreters. Carl Schuricht. Geneva 1955, p. 24.
  9. a b c Wolfgang Schreiber: Great conductors. Munich 2007, p. 360.
  10. ^ Jörg Hofmann: Street stories . In: Wiesbadener Tagblatt from September 12, 2008.
  11. ^ Schuricht, Carl Adolph in the German biography
  12. Ulf Scharlau:  Schuricht, Carl. In: Ludwig Finscher (Hrsg.): The music in past and present . Second edition, personal section, volume 15 (Schoof - Stranz). Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel et al. 2006, ISBN 3-7618-1135-7  ( online edition , subscription required for full access)
  13. a b c d e f g Pierre Gorjat: Carl Schuricht: vingt ans après ... In: Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande 4 (1987), 192 ff.
  14. a b c Stephan Hörner: Schuricht, Carl Adolph. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Berlin 2007, p. 762.
  15. a b c Wolfgang Schreiber: Great conductors. Munich 2007, p. 361.
  16. a b c Bernard Gavoty: The great interpreters. Carl Schuricht. Geneva 1955, p. 25.
  17. Jörg Clemen; Steffen Lieberwirth: Central German radio. The history of the symphony orchestra . Altenburg 1999, p. 49.
  18. Die Musik , Volume 26, 1933.
  19. ^ Thomas Höpel: From art to cultural policy. Urban cultural policy in Germany and France 1918–1939 . Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2007.
  20. ^ Peter Muck : One Hundred Years of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra . 2nd volume, Hans Schneider, Tutzing 1982, ISBN 3-7952-0340-6 , p. 108.
  21. Boris Blacher grave of honor ,
  22. ^ Fred K. Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 . CD-ROM Lexicon, Kiel 2004, p. 6455.
  23. a b Fred Hamel: Carl Schuricht 70 years . In: Musica 9 (1950), 362 f.
  24. ^ Alfred Sous : An orchestra for the radio. The Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra . Kramer, Frankfurt 1998.
  25. ^ Carl Schuricht in Paris . In: Pariser Zeitung , November 24, 1942.
  26. Oliver Rathkolb : Loyal to the Führer and God-Grace. Artist elite in the Third Reich . Österreichischer Bundesverlag, Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-215-07490-7 .
  27. ^ Ernst Klee : The culture lexicon for the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5 .
  28. Cf. “It is with great satisfaction that Dresden music lovers will take note of Carl Schuricht's appointment to the head of the Dresden Philharmonic. The musical life of our city has thus been given a new, powerful impulse that will have many effects. [...] Not only is Carl Schuricht one of the very first conductors of our time, the solution can also be called particularly happy and promising, as Schuricht has long since grown very closely with the orchestra and the Dresden audience. Lately one could almost speak of 'Schuricht Concerts' by the Dresden Philharmonic. The enthusiastic response they found in the audience is proof of how at home Schuricht is in Dresden. ”( Dieter Härtwig : Die Dresdner Philharmonie. A Chronicle of the Orchestra 1870 to 1970. VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1970, p 105.)
  29. Ulrich Drüner (Ed.): 1907 to 1957. 50 years of music in Germany. (PDF; 3.3 MB) Supplementary list to Catalog 64, Stuttgart 2009, p. 34 f.
  30. Stefan Jaeger (ed.): The Atlantis Book of Conductors: An Encyclopedia. Zurich 1985, p. 336.
  31. Thomas Keilberth (Ed.): Joseph Keilberth. A conductor's life in the 20th century. Vienna 2007, p. 72.
  32. ^ Marianne Buder (Ed.): Hans Chemin-Petit. Consideration of a lifetime achievement. Festschrift for his 75th birthday on July 24, 1977. Berlin 1977, p. 114.
  33. ^ A b Fred K. Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 . CD-ROM lexicon, Kiel 2004, p. 6456 f.
  34. a b Martha Schuricht's urn should go to Wiesbaden . In: Wiesbadener Kurier , June 25, 2011.
  35. ^ The Saturday Review , Nov. 24, 1956.
  36. Irving Kolodin : Schuricht and Egk at Tanglewood . In: The Saturday Review , August 17, 1957.
  37. Dieter Härtwig: Carl Schuricht and the Dresden Philharmonic - For the 125th birthday of the great conductor . In: Dresdner Latest News from July 15, 2005, p. 10.
  38. Götz Thieme: Further episodes of the Hänssler series show: the conductor Carl Schuricht is an inspired trustee of the score - a great one in the shadow of greats . In: Stuttgarter Zeitung of August 31, 2005, p. 26.
  39. Wolfgang Schreiber: Great conductors. Munich 2007, p. 362.
  40. ^ JL: Mort du chef d'orchestre Karl Schuricht . In: Le Monde , 8./9. January 1967.
  41. Götz Thieme: A DVD commemorates the great conductor Carl Schuricht - Luzider Sachwalter . In: Stuttgarter Zeitung of March 1, 2006, p. 30.
  42. ^ Bernard Gavoty: The great interpreters. Carl Schuricht. Geneva 1955, p. 6.
  43. Cf. “Why do we love Carl Schuricht? Why do we without hesitation count him among the three or four greatest conductors of our time? Because this wonderful artist has only given us unforgettable performances for a long time. Because Schuricht on the podium means a joy for the ears, heart and eyes. Because he is a painter, sculptor, poet and musician at the same time, a great one among the great. [...] “(Bernard Gavoty: The Great Interpreters. Carl Schuricht. Geneva 1955, p. 3.)
  44. ^ Richard Schaal, Willy Tappolet: Schuricht, Carl. In: Friedrich Blume (Hrsg.): Music in past and present (MGG). Volume 12, Bärenreiter, Kassel 1965, p. 328.
  45. ^ Matthias Meyer: Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. 1923-1998. Radio orchestras and choirs, Berlin 1998, p. 60.
  46. Gabriele Jung: Carl Schuricht rediscovered for today. A CD box, a book and an exhibition commemorate the outstanding conductor . In: Aar-Bote from February 21, 2004.
  47. ^ Fritz Oeser: Carl Schuricht . In: Zeitschrift für Musik 101 (1934), p. 610 ff.
  48. ^ Fred K. Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 . CD-ROM Lexicon, Kiel 2004, p. 6453.
  49. Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 118 (1957), p. 571.
  50. The golden Mahler Medal (accessed October 29, 2014)
  51. ^ Inscription Deutschordenshof, Singerstraße: Carl Schuricht 1961 (accessed June 10, 2014)
  52. Carl Schuricht was wanted . In: Main-Taunus-Kurier from August 15, 2007.
  53. Danziger Zeitung 1905, No. 142 (March 24), Danziger Latest News 1905, No. 71 (March 24), Danziger Latest News 1906, No. 65 (March 17)
  54. Martha Schuricht's urn is supposed to go to Wiesbaden - EHRENGRAB conductor's widow died in Switzerland . In: Wiesbadener Tagblatt from June 25, 2011.
  55. Jörg Clemen; Steffen Lieberwirth: Central German radio. The history of the symphony orchestra . Altenburg 1999, p. 69.
  56. BGE 97 II 209
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