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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923-2013): RIP

  The music world suffered a significant loss on Friday, February 22, with the passing of the German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch. He was 89. His resume is beyond reproach. He is likely best known in the US through his 10 years as the Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (he succeeded Riccardo Muti and was subsequently succeeded by Christoph Eschenbach). His remarkable career covered more than half a century. The New York Times described Sawallisch thusly: "One of the last of the old-school German conductors."

In 2006, I produced a program devoted to several of Maestro Sawallisch's recordings. Here are a few excerpts from that program.

A select Sawallisch discography would include his Brahms Symphonies with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Philips 438757), the Schumann Symphonies with the Staatskapelle Dresden (EMI 67771), plus the essential collaboration with Dennis Brain on the two Horn Concerti by Richard Strauss (EMI 47834). Any of the recordings from his 10 years with the Philadelphia Orchestra would also be vital to appreciation of Sawallisch. He also recorded lieder, accompanying from the piano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Hermann Prey. Any of this would also fall into the recommended class.

Finally, a few last words about Wolfgang Sawallisch by one of his friends and professional associates, Peter Alward and this obituary from The Guardian.

James first introduced himself to KPAC listeners at midnight on April 8, 1993, presenting Dvorak's 7th Symphony played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Soon after, he became the regular overnight announcer on KPAC.