Rudolf Kempe

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Rudolf Kempe (1961)

Rudolf Kempe (born June 14, 1910 in Dresden ; † May 12, 1976 in Zurich ) was a German conductor .

He was considered a specialist in the late romantic German-Austrian repertoire, especially Richard Wagner , Anton Bruckner , Johannes Brahms 'and, even more, Richard Strauss '.

Live and act

Kempe studied at the orchestral school in Dresden and began as an oboist in Dortmund in 1928 . From 1929 to 1936 he was the first oboist and pianist at the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra , where he began his conducting career at the age of 27. From 1945 to 1948 he worked as general music director in Chemnitz . In 1949 he became general music director in Dresden , and in 1951 also director of the Saxon State Opera there. From 1952 to 1954 he was GMD of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich , in the 1960s he directed the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and was one of the world's most sought-after conductors during this time (New York, Buenos Aires, Milan, Salzburg) . His untimely death prevented a longer collaboration with the Munich Philharmonic , whose GMD he had become in 1967. His successor was Sergiu Celibidache .

Kempe was a self-controlled conductor who put his great technical skills entirely at the service of the orchestras, musicians and singers. He saw and experienced music less as a public event, but rather from the perspective of the people making music together. Therefore, he was also a fan of ensemble theater. His clear signs supported his structuralist style of interpretation, which can be easily recognized by the fact that he made the chamber music qualities, the secondary voices and the fine tonal shades audible, especially in the great late romantic scores.

He was buried in the Bogenhausen cemetery in Munich. The urn was established in March 2007 after Stratford-upon-Avon spent his widow Cordula Kempe, who works there in the Rudolf Kempe Society. The tombstone has been removed.

In 2000 he was voted one of the “100 Dresdeners of the 20th Century” in the daily newspaper “ Dresdner Latest News ”.

Working method

He was an outspoken “team worker” when working together and also took advice from colleagues. Hans Rudolf Zöbeley (1931–2007) directed the Philharmonic Choir during his tenure. He reported the following - very significant - incident to his students at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in the 1970s:

"The other day I Kempe, the Glagolitic Mass of Leos Janacek rehearsed. The piece is full of alternating measures (⅝, ⅞) and so on. Very uncomfortable for the choir. In any case, in the first rehearsal with Kempe, the so-called 'acceptance', a lot went wrong over and over again. Then I said to Kempe: 'Mr Kempe, here I hit the five like that, here the seventh like that, and so on.' He replied nicely: 'It's good that you say that. Let's take a little break now, show me how you did it - and then I'll take care of it. I can easily adjust, but the choir can't. '

There was a little pause; Kempe talked to Zöbeley, took over his rehearsal, and the rehearsal went on without 'bad breath'. Zöbeley then commented on the students: 'I should have said that to Fritz Rieger or Rafael Kubelík ! They would certainly have snapped at me: “Do you want to give me conducting lessons now!” That was Kempe, and that's how you, my young conductors, should be too. Always accept the good advice of experienced colleagues. '"

Choice discography

Web links

Commons : Rudolf Kempe  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Portrait sketches of Swiss sound artists
  2. ^ English website of the Rudolf Kempe Society
  3. 100 Dresden residents of the 20th century . In: Dresdner Latest News . Dresdner Nachrichten GmbH & Co. KG, Dresden December 31, 1999, p. 22 .
  4. Report by Joseph Kanz, at the time a student of HR Zöbeley