Berlin Phil mourns a great horn

Gerd Seifert died last week, aged 88.

Hamburg born, he played in the Düsseldorf city orchestra from 1949, winning the ARD competition in 1956. In 1964, Herbert von Karajan recruited him as first horn into the Berlin Philharmonic, where he played until 1996. Summers, he was a fixture in Bayreuth.

After leaving he Berlin Phil, he played two seasons as first horn at the Liceu in Barcelona, as well as a stint in a Lloyd Webber musical in Berlin. He was formidable.

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  • Great playing on the clip. And nice that he was able to continue his performing career after his mandatory retirement from the BPO.

  • Way back in the early 80s, I was fortunate to hear Gerd Seifert playing the Schumann Konzertstück here in Kassel (with Wallendorf, Jezierski and Klier — Woldemar Nelsson conducting). After the first run-through in the dress rehearsal, they decided that they wanted to try out a different standing position, so they played the whole thing through again. That evening, Gerd Seifert’s performance was not only technically flawless, but he effortlessly powered out those top “E”s (which most horn players find quite challenging) so that they rang around the concert hall in a way that made people’s jaw drop. (mine included!) A few years later, I sat up close in the same concert hall as he played the Schubert octet, hoping to learn something by looking. Hopeless! He just put the horn on his lips and there was nothing to see — but this amazing sound came out of his instrument and every note was sheer perfection. RIP Gerd Seifert, one of my horn heroes.

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