Death of a Klemperer soprano, aged 95

Death of a Klemperer soprano, aged 95


norman lebrecht

May 04, 2017

The German soprano Agnes Giebel, whose career began late in 1947, quickly became a fixture with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Otto Klemperer and the Leipzig Thomanerchor with Günter Ramin.

Admired as a Bach recitalist of rare purity and precision, she also explored the music of Schoenberg, Hindemith and Henze and continued singing up to 1990.

The family today announced news of her death, in Cologne, on April 24.




  • David says:

    Agnes Giebel! The finest Bach and oratorio soprano ueberhaupt…

    In an interview with August Everding to be found on you tube she tells of being rushed through Bach (‘tempo, Madame, tempo’!) by conductor Hermann Scherchen, after which she made herself unavailable whenever he requested her services.

    She made many recordings, all first rate, to say the least with such as Klemperer, Keilberth, Ansermet, Leonhardt, Ristenpart, Mauersberger,
    Richter et al. Ach, gone are the days….

  • Abel Asch says:

    Estas obscuridades dramáticas, nos hacer recordar con añoranza momentos de luz donde la música es transportadora de nuestros sentimientos sublimes.

  • Yehuda says:

    Yes, an exquisitely splendid singer, indeed.

    Thankfully, there is a grand selection of her recordings on youtube,
    with, in addition to those conductors named above, Jochum, Ancerl,
    Celibedache, Schuricht, Thomas, Rother, Sawallisch, Ramin, Forster…and with the likes of Wunderlich and Fischer Dieskau. Such treasures!

  • klemperer85 says:

    I own quite a lot of records with her as singer, whatever I can find. Even not so well known ones (an album with traditional christmas songs for example^^). A huge Klemperer admirer myself, I always regretted a bit that not more works of both artists together were released on LP or later on CD. Well, there was the famous Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Walter Legge. I admire Agnes Giebel very, very much, and wrote to her some 6-7 years ago. At the time she was severely ill already. An unforgettable voice! Once she said “My Bach might seem to you a Bach of the past, but let me tell you, he might be the Bach of the future!”.

    She also appeared on a Video with Klemperer after Legge had dissolved of the Philharmonia in 1964. It was one of the very very few Videos Klemperer allowed (he refused all of the time) – a Beethoven 9. Lotte Klemperer herself sent me the VHS tape. I am still very proud! , ( I had a bit of a letters exchange with Lotte Klemperer as a student because Otto Klemperer meant so much to me). To Agnes Giebel! Once asked which conductors she liked best (and she was very fond of Klemperer) – she answered – well, Hellmann and others were really good enough for me. She must have been a wonderful woman, so open-minded, like Klemperer lacking the “Allüren” totally (she didn’t ‘put on such airs and graces’).
    There is no month in which I would not listen to her voice (and, it has to be said, to the one of Elisabeth Grümmer, who once, 1956 in Cologne, sang in the Brahms requiem with Klemperer).