Hans Knappertsbusch

Biography

Born: March 13, 1888; Elberfeld, Germany   Died: October 25, 1965; Munich, Germany  
Hans Knappertsbusch was one of the most renowned and beloved conductors of the German Romantic repertoire in the middle twentieth century. Although he grew up playing and loving music, his parents objected to the notion of a musical career. Thus Knappertsbusch studied philosophy at Bonn University. In 1908, however, he entered the Cologne Conservatory and took conducting courses with Fritz Steinbach.

Knappertsbusch began his career as a
Read more staff conductor at the Mülheim-Ruhr Theater (1910-1912) and then as opera director in his home town of Elberfeld. Equally important to his development were his forays into the temple of Wagnerism. He spent several summers as an assistant to director Siegfried Wagner and conductor Hans Richter at the Bayreuth Festival and took part in the Netherlands Wagner Festivals in 1913 and 1914. After the end of World War I Knappertsbusch worked in Dessau and Leipzig, and in 1922 he was asked to succeed Bruno Walter as music director of the Munich Opera.

Knappertsbusch's personality was easygoing; he was notably free of the restlessness and undue ambition that often attended a rising career such as his. He was content mainly to stay in Munich, with the result that he never became as well-known as many of his colleagues. In any case, Munich fully appreciated Knappertsbusch's talents, and he was named conductor for life. However, he refused several demands made by the Nazis and was fired from his lifetime post in 1936. He conducted a memorable Salome in Covent Garden in 1936 and 1937, and made some guest appearances elsewhere in Germany, but was content to maintain a low profile during the Nazi regime. He left Germany after the Munich debacle, settling in Vienna where he frequently conducted the Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera. Knappertsbusch's career was again affected by the Nazis when Germany took over Austria over in 1938, but he was mostly able to steer clear of trouble.

Knappertsbusch gained a reputation for broad, magisteral performances of Bruckner and, more and more, seemed emerge as the representative of the traditional style of unhurried Wagner performances. He was famous for disliking rehearsals, often cutting them short; his orchestral players maintained that this was not the result of laziness, but of complete security in his interpretation and trust of the players. His performances were therefore not rigidly preconceived, but instead had a remarkable freshness and spontaneity.

When the Bayreuth Festival reopened in 1951, Knappertsbusch worked closely with Wieland Wagner on orchestral matters (though the conductor was known to dislike the director's spare, revolutionary stage productions). Perhaps Knappertsbusch's most notable recording is his stereo account of Wagner's Parsifal from the Bayreuth stage. Read less
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Knappertsbusch, Klose, Braun, Treptow, Frantz
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Andromeda  
Catalog: 9011   Number of Discs: 3
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Richard Wagner: Die Walkure / Knappertsbusch, Bayreuth
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Walhall  
Catalog: 247   Number of Discs: 3
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Wagner: Das Rheingold (Bayreuth 1958) / Knappertsbusch, Hotter, Grummer, Konya
Release Date: 01/13/2015   Label: Walhall  
Catalog: 246   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Götterdammerung / Knappertsbusch, Nilsson, Et Al
Release Date: 03/06/1995   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 356944   Number of Discs: 4
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Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Knappertsbusch, Bavarian State Opera
Release Date: 03/06/1995   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 355943   Number of Discs: 3
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Browse 1-25 of 106 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 901162 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 2.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 3.
    Decca Sound: 55 Great Vocal Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002495002 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco,  Pierre Mollet,  Guido Agosti,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 4.
    A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109212 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Claire Watson,  Fritz Uhl,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 5.
    A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109213 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Claire Watson,  Fritz Uhl,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 6.
    Wagner: Lohengrin / Knappertsbusch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 900153 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Astrid Varnay,  Ingrid Bjoner,  Hans Gunther Nocker,  Kurt Böhme  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
    CD: $54.49
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  • 7.
    Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg / Knappertsbusch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 917154 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 8.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Knappertsbusch, Hotter, Mool, Vinay, (Bayreuth 1956)
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 192 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 9.
    Richard Wagner: Parsifal (Bayreuth, 1957)
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 215 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 10.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 11.
    Richard Wagner: Gotterdammerung (Bayreuth 1958)
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 249 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Josef Greindl,  Astrid Varnay,  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 12.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold (Bayreuth 1958) / Knappertsbusch, Hotter, Grummer, Konya
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 246 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Hans Hotter,  Rita Gorr,  Frans Andersson  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Wagner: Siegried (Bayreuth, 1958)  / Knappersbusch, Varnay, Hotter, Windgassen
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 248 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gerhard Stolze,  Frans Andersson,  Astrid Varnay,  Hans Hotter  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Richard Wagner: Siegfried
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 218 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 15.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 216 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 16.
    Wagner: Die Walkure
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 217 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 17.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung (Bayreuth, 1957)
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 219 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 18.
    Richard Wagner: Die Walkure / Knappertsbusch, Bayreuth
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 247 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Astrid Varnay,  Hans Hotter,  Jon Vickers,  Leonie Rysanek  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Operatic Recital
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002109302 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Paul [Baritone Vocal] Schoeffler,  Maria Reining,  Hilde Gueden,  Günther Treptow  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Heinrich Hollreiser
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Wagner: Parsifal
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5166 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 21.
    Most Wanted Recitals - George London On Broadway
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002065402 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Frederick Loewe,  Kurt Weill,  Jerome Kern  ... 
    Performer:  George London
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 22.
    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Knappertsbusch, Klose, Braun, Treptow, Frantz
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Albrecht Peter,  Helena Braun,  Ferdinand Frantz,  Paul Schöffler  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus
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  • 23.
    Knappertsbusch Conducts Mozart & Beethoven
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6684 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wolfgang Schloder
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    CD: $14.99
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  • 24.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $119.98
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  • 25.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Knappertsbusch, Modl, Windgassen, London
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5161 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde,  Ludwig Weber,  George London,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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