Boston: Once-in-a-lifetime music

Just six months after his North American debut in Toronto, Tennstedt was offered a series of seven concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the top five orchestras in the USA. When the maestro was asked what he would like to conduct, and he replied incredulously, "You mean I get to choose?”

He did, and he chose Johannes Brahms' Fourth Symphony, preceded by his Academic Festival Overture and the Brahms Violin Concerto (soloist: Miriam Fried). The Brahms concerts would be in mid-December, with Bruckner’s Eighth a short time later. A highly romantic program with one of the best orchestras in the world!

Tennstedt arrived in Boston with a pounding heart. Would it go well? The pressure gradually became unbearable. Suddenly he was overcome by the weight of expectation and wanted nothing more than to go home. "Inge, I can't do it," he cried on the phone. “I’m coming home.” Whereupon: "I exploded on the phone," said his wife. "Get in there and conduct!"

"If I had a dollar" said Boston Globe critic Michael Steinberg, "for each time someone has asked me, ‘Who is Klaus Tennstedt?' I could take a week off. His name is as good as unknown here."

Read more in the book.

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