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Hermann Achenbach (Conductor, Bass-Baritone)

Born: November 20, 1899 - Straßburg (Strasbourg), Germany
Died: 1982

The German conductor and bass, Hermann Achenbach, which founded and was of many years director/conductor of the Tübinger Kantatenchor, was no Tübinger, but he is, also by his marriage with a native one, Trudel Klein, became more and more one.

Before his life work connected itself closely with the university town at Neckar, Hermann Achenbach went through different stations. He was trained in Nagold as a the teacher, for a while he was also active in this occupation. Soon he discovered his voice and studied in Stuttgart with Professors Ludwig Feuerlein, Johannes Willy and Albrecht Thausing. His bass-bariton was not suitable for the opera, but in the area of the oratorio Achenbach became fast an interpreter in demand.

Not only in Tübingen, where Hermann Achenbach followed to study also music-science, but and more and more also in the centers of the Bach tradition, Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin, he was in looked for, particularly in the role of Christ in the great Passions. Achenbach was also a renowned interpreter of Cantata BWV 56 by J.S. Bach, which was always located in the center of his activities. Achenbach did not stop meanwhile with the oratorios from the Baroque and Romantic eras; He expanded his repertoire range and dedicated himself to the Lieder completely and intensively. Franz Schubert attracted him in particular, and he sang numerous times den Kranz schauerlicher Lieder from Winterreise. With his own earnest delivery his representations always left a deep impression.

Apart from his concert tours Hermann Achenbach dedicated himself also to teaching, first privately and then also at the Colleges of Music in Kassel and in Graz. After the 2nd World War he returned again to Tübingen, and in the year 1947 the uncommonly fruitful idea came to create the choir Oratorienchor, which developed as Tübinger Kantatenchor. Rapidly the stated to perform important choral works, and partially also to neglected choir works. Now Achenbach could bring in his rich experiences as a singer, whhich enabled him becoming in a time of the departure an expert in questions of the interpretatation authenticity. In the course of the years the performed works by George Frideric Handel and J.S. Bach, through Mozart, Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn and Bruckner up to compositions from the 20th century, such as Arthur Honeggers Roi David and Igor Stravinskys Mass.

Hermann Achenbach, on the occasion of his 50th Birthday with the professor title excellently, was everything but a businessman. Straight one then, if he dared something, for he strove, to breathe "air of other planets" more or less left his concert visitors in the pass. J.S. Bachs Weihnachts Oratorium (BWV 248) had to then hold to fill the cashes a little.

The increasing fame of the Tübinger Kantatenchor and its conductor led to invitations abroad, to Switzerland and to France (Straßburg, Paris and Aix-en-Provence). Surprisingly Achenbach could care for his choir until a short time before his death. That in Hanns-Friedrich Kunz, singer and conductor as him, a successor for the choir arose, who could resume his work breakless, was a lucky coincidence.

Source: Bach-Chor Tübingen Website (Author: Helga Böhmer in the Schwäbischen Tagblatt on the occasion of 100. Birthday on 20 November 1999), English translation by Aryeh Oron (September 2003)
Contributed by
Alex Riedlmayer (September 2003)

Hermann Achenbach: Short Biography | Tübinger Kantatenchor | Recordings of Vocal Works
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Last update: April 24, 2012 10:45:01