The world of music is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth with performances everywhere. But I doubt that there will be any performances of Siegfried’s Funeral March from Goetterdaemmerung to match the one on this video. This performance was given by the London Philharmonic conducted by Klaus Tennstedt in Tokyo in 1988. It is remarkable for its breadth and nobility. And the members of the LPO respond to Tennstedt as if their lives depended on it. At one point there is a loud crash. It could have been one of the musicians falling off his (or her) chair.
Tennstedt spent most of his career in East Germany at a time when there were few exchanges between East and West. When he finally got the opportunity to come to the West and conduct some of the major orchestras, managers and audiences realized that Tennstedt was an exceptional conductor. He made his North American debut in 1974, with the Toronto Symphony. Thanks to Walter Homburger, managing director of the Toronto Symphony, Tennstedt conducted often in Toronto. His major position in the West was as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic and he made many excellent recordings with them.
Due to ill health Tennstedt retired from conducting in 1994 at the age of 68. He passed away in 1998.
Paul E. Robinson