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
Browse 1-25 of 116 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Myra Hess  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    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! $149.98
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Beethoven By Knappertsbusch
    Label: Tahra   Catalog: 762 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Géza Anda
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 8.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 9.
    My Wagner Album / Christian Thielemann
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001884102 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Paul Schöffler,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Thomas Stewart,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Christian Thielemann,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 10.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4202 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 11.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22271 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ludwig [Bass Vocal] Weber,  Josef Traxel,  Astrid Varnay,  Hermann Uhde  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 12.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22316 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Maria von Ilosvay,  Hans Hotter,  Josef Greindl,  Georgine von Milinkovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    On sale! $35.98
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  • 13.
    Great Wagner Conductors [4-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826202 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Eugen Jochum,  Victor De Sabata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $26.98
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  • 14.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  George London,  Christa [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Ludwig
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 15.
    Hans Knappertsbusch Conducts The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra: Berlioz, Schubert, Strauss
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2386 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Otto Nicolai,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Karel Komzak II  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 16.
    Clifford Curzon Edition - Complete Recordings [23 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728400 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Irmgard Seefried,  Horst Günther,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  George Szell,  Benjamin Britten,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    Kirsten Flagstad Edition - The Decca Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001683102 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner,  Jean Sibelius,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Sigvart Fotland,  Edwin McArthur
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Oivin Fjeldstad,  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $69.98
    CD: $62.99
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  • 18.
    Schmidt: Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln / Mitropoulos, Dermota, Berry
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9067 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schmidt
    Performer:  Anton Dermota,  Walter Berry,  Hilde Gueden,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    On sale! $27.99
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  • 19.
    Brahms: Complete Symphonies / Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5066 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Lucretia West
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 20.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0111 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Otto Edelmann,  Lisa Della Casa,  Heinrich Pflanzl,  Gerhard Unger  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 21.
    Bruckner: Symphonies / Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1256 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 22.
    Hans Knappertsbusch At The Wiener Festwochen, 1962 / Nilsson, Backhaus
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107347 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Birgit Nilsson
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    Birgit Nilsson Sings Wagner
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4803550 Release Date: 08/02/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Helge Brilioth,  Norman Bailey,  Grace Hoffman
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam,  Sir Colin Davis,  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Fidelio / Knappertsbusch, Jurinac, Peerce, Stader
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 118 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Jan Peerce,  Frederick Guthrie,  Gustav Neidlinger  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 25.
    Strauss Collection - Early Recordings On 78s (1901-1951)
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 1006/13 Release Date: 04/12/2011   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Spoken Word,  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Sr.
    Performer:  Irene Eisinger,  Dajos Bela,  Barnabas Von Geczy,  Marcella Sembrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Howard Barlow,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Harry Horlick  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kölner Klavier-Trio
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    On sale! $126.98
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