Tennstedt started work as general music director in Kiel on 15 September 1972. His contract would run for four years with a monthly salary of 3,500 D-marks, which today would correspond to about 7-8,000 Euros. For such a large theater and opera house, this was at the lower end of the salary scale. Almost from the beginning, the new music director caused problems. Kiel trombonist Dieter Reuland described the mood in the orchestra:

Dieter Reuland: Klaus Tennstedt was emotional, volatile, sometimes even irascible. He took the four operas from Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen and conducted them in his own way: not so homogeneous, but exciting. Then his rehearsals of Salome and Othello were highly interesting. Anyone who thought he didn't listen very carefully was quickly proven wrong. Often he didn’t make corrections straight away, but discussed them after the rehearsals. There, Tennstedt was an open, very sociable type. But sometimes he had a kind of restlessness about him.          

Robert König: Tenno, as he was called, completely dominated the orchestra. Every rehearsal was like a performance. We did about ten rehearsals and performances a week at that time. If we had been on duty on Sunday and he was asked at the rehearsal on Monday if we could work a little less hard, he would freak out, and an argument would ensue. Unfortunately that happened quite often.

According to Gerda Angermann, he hadn’t changed at all:

Gerda Angermann: The mood in the orchestra was often tense, there were some discussions. Especially about the way he expresses something. He did not struggle for words, but just blurted out everything that came to his mind. The music was the most important thing. And because he was obsessed with music, he was also very emotional. Not everyone could stand that.

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