Memories of a maestro pair

At this time of year, my thoughts drift back to Klaus Tennstedt, a transforming conductor who died in January 1998. His widow, Inge, lived on until August 2011. Not many outside their inner circle realised how quintessential Inge was to the magic Klaus made.

A reader, Radcliffe Bond, has sent us these pics he took of the pair at his Boston home after a 1983 concert. It’s exactly as I remember them.

klaus and inge 2  klaus and inge 1

(c) Radcliffe Bond/Slipped Disc

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  • Thank you for posting those, Norman. I appreciate your efforts in keeping Tennstedt’s memory alive as a unique interpreter and musical figure, and for guiding me to his incomparable late live recordings of the Mahler Fifth, and especially Six and Seven. It’s unfortunate that the live series didn’t extend to the Ninth; despite having heard his 1980s Ninths from Philadelphia (great in conception but not in execution) and New York (absolutely stupendous), I wish I had a live one in my library. But we have to be grateful for what there is. Please continue to write about Klaus from time to time!

  • Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, March 21 1984 (sadly, his only appearance in this city) – Tennstedt and the LPO’s exhilarating, transcendental, Mahler 5 still burns bright in my memory thirty years later, more than any other performance I have attended over the last half century.

  • The only things I remember about Tennstedt from the party were that somebody had to run out and get him more Gitanes cigarettes and that he insisted on German beer since American beer tasted like horse piss!

    • That is very true, Radcliffe, but unfortunately, the German import versions for the US market also taste like horse piss…interesting to hear that back then, you could actually buy Gitanes in the US. Those days are long gone, too…

  • On the positive scale of one to ten of artist’s spouses, Inge was at least a 12. Utterly selfless, a great sense of humour and appreciation of the ridiculous. She had to put up with far more of her fair share of slings and arrows than a wife should expect, but her husband, for all his quirks and foibles, was a ‘Professor Brainstorm-like’ Genius and he would certainly have made far fewer appearances, had Inge not been at his side.
    May they both rest in peace.

  • Tennstedt is pretty much the only major conductor active in the last decades of the last century who I never got to see in concert. Every time he was scheduled to conduct in Berlin and I wanted to go, he canceled at short notice for health reasons.

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