9. Januar 2008

Remembering the Era Karl Richter in Munich: Year 1951 [EN]

In October 1950, Theodor Heckel was appointed superintendent of the Markuskirche and for Munich. His organist and cantor, Michael Schneider was appointed to Detmold in 1951 and it was time to find a replacement for him.

It so happened that the Thomaner-Choir of Leipzig came to Munich to give a concert.

Karl Richter as choir prefect at the Kreuzschule Dresden 1946

Superintendent Heckel spoke to the Thomas Cantor of that time, Guenther Ramin about the vacant position at the Markuskirche, upon which Ramin, as Heckel writes in his memoirs, spontaneously replied, "I can recommend Karl Richter, my Thomas-Organist" and added explicitly "He knows more than I do!"

Karl Richter as organist at the Thomas church in Leipzig 1949

Karl Heckel remembers:

"One day at breakfast my father asked me to be on hand at 11 o’clock because the Thomas-organist, Karl Richter would be coming to play the organ. I was to show him the organ and the essential tones as he did not have much time and had to find his way around as quickly as possible, something I could do very well as I used to play the organ all the time."

Karl Heckel as theology student on the Positive organ at the Markuskirche

"At 11 o’clock a medium sized person in a white smock arrived and was introduced to me as Karl Richter. We met one another for the first time at the positive organ in the Marcus church. I showed him the various works and tone combinations that he could use and he said, "You know this organ very well, I would have done it just as you say." Then he played his Program pieces and called me when he needed to know which register I would have used at such and such a point and everything worked out splendidly."

Pastor Karl Heckel during the Interview On December 8, 2004 in Heroldsberg

"I can’t remember all the pieces he played, but I do know that he played the Toccata in d-minor, a piece that even today leaves a tremendous impression on it’s listeners. There was the Schübler-Choral— Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, played very solemnly, and then Reger’s great
B A C H works."

Despite a number of objections to 'such a young cantor', the 25 year old Karl Richter was appointed as successor to Michael Schneider at the Marcus church, and at the same time Prof. Robert Heger, President of the Music Academy Munich offered Richter a teaching position for organ and choral music as well as the conductorship of the Academy choir.

After only a few weeks, on 25th Nov.1951, Karl Richter gave his first concert at the St Marcus Church with the Heinrich-Schuetz-Kreis with a program including Motets arranged for several voices and pieces for the organ.