Gerhard Taschner

July 12, 2008 at 10:12 PM · What does everybody here think of Gerhard Taschner, the German violinist? Have you heard of him/what do you think of his playing?

Replies (26)

July 13, 2008 at 12:27 PM · Yes, I've several recordings by him. including a

very rare Archipel CD with Brahm's third and Franck with Gieseking. Very good technique, rather sharp sound. He was concertino of the Berlin S.O during the war. He was the only one who accept the Speer's offer to run away from the russians.All the rest choose to stay and ended as POW. He recorded some rare works like v.c. of Wolfgang Fortner and Pfitzner.

July 13, 2008 at 10:37 PM · Greetings,

I`m a litlte bit of a fan. I have a boxed set and the palying is certainly very beautiful, movign and neat. One of those cocnertmasters who could step in a play a major cocnerto on one days notice without batting an eyelid. Just that slight extra spark that distinguihes the great from true inspired genius missing.Well worth getting to know



July 14, 2008 at 09:07 AM · Taschner had been a student of Huberman and of Adolf Baks at the Vienna Conservatory in the middle of the 30th, but while Huberman refused to continue working with Furtwaengler after 1933, Taschner his pupil was admitted to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1941, Furtwaengler made him their Concertmaster, till 1945. On April 11, 45 T. played the Beethoven Concerto for Speer in a privat concert, the last BPO war concert. Since he was not a NS he received playing permission after the war as a soloist, touring with Böhm, Solti, Keilberth and Schuricht, also playing legendary chamber music sessions with Walter Gieseking and cellist Ludwig Hoelscher. In 1948 he played the Dvorak Vc. in Vienna under Leonard Bernstein, who told him he would rather not invite him to the US at that time. And since he underestimated the significance of records ("If they want to hear me they should attend my concerts") an international carreer was out of the reach for him.

Now gradually radio stations open their archives with rare yet excellent recordings. Recently the German newspaper FAZ (writer Eleonore Büning) reviewed three of these (Sibelius Vc, Kölner RSO; Khatchaturian Vc with NDR SO. under Schmidt-Isserstedt, and Sarasate, Carmen-Fantasie with Bamberger Symphoniker, Fritz Lehmann, all issued by Dabringhaus and Grimm (MDG6421508-Codaex), comparing the Khatcha. with the debut album of this concert by Julia Fischer. Ms. Büning puts Taschner on a level with Heifetz, Huberman, Milstein and Ginette Neveu when it comes to intensity of expression and richness in soundcolors.


July 14, 2008 at 11:57 AM · I´ve been teached by a former student of Taschner. In his later years, he was professor at the Berlin music university and became a strong alcoholic; very sad.

T. played often too sharp, perhaps because of a high internal tension.

He had a very innovative ergonomic chinrest, which was quite high and in form of a banana (sorry, this is the shortest description); thus it follows the form of the lower jaw, that has the advantage, that it doesn´t cut the jawbone. I´ve reconstructed the chinrest for me and don´t have any problems with the skin anymore.

Greetings, Martin

July 14, 2008 at 09:35 PM · Equaling Taschner with those monsters is

totally wrong. He was a good violinist,and that's all.

July 14, 2008 at 10:16 PM · Greetings,

absolutely. One only has to put the Tachner set of beautifully played shorter pieces against more or less the same works played by Milstein and the difference in level is very clear. Prejudiced crtiics really are silly at times. But I will always be glad to havbe and listen to Taschner`s recordings.



July 15, 2008 at 09:42 AM · []

provides additional background information by german researcher Burkhard Braach who was referred to in the recent Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article under the headline Ritter vom Rosenholzton, alluding to Taschner's sound.

Maybe Mrs. Büning went a little too far ranking Taschner among "the monsters", but anyway I'm looking forward to get some of his recordings soon.

Tschüss, Hansjürgen

July 16, 2008 at 01:50 AM · Hansjürgen Kohlhaas (above) wrote (on July 14):

"On April 11, 1945 Taschner played the Beethoven Concerto for Speer in a private concert, the last BPO war concert."

It must've been a good concert with that good violinist playing for that good architect.

That's all.

July 16, 2008 at 03:23 AM · with good beer and popcorn, one assumes.

July 16, 2008 at 05:06 PM · Und mit the sound of nicht so gut Russkie artillery booms replacing the initial drumbeats in das perfect kadence, jah?

July 16, 2008 at 05:46 PM · There's a famous recording of Scarlatti's sonatas

by Landowska,in London in the 40s. On one track you

can heard clearly the far sound of bombing. She

didn't stop at all.

And I've a recording by the Schneiderhann SQ of a

LvB SQ made in Wienn,on 3/29/45. A few days later.

Ivan was there.

July 16, 2008 at 06:52 PM · Carlos, weren't these sonatas recorded in Paris instead? I don't think Landowska was in London at any time during the war, she managed to escape from France to the US..

About Taschner, Tahra has issued quite a number of his live and studio recordings (including the Fanck and Brahms that Archipel copied...shame on them). Try to get Bruch's VC, live under Abendroth sparkling!! Also look out for his Sarasate and Dvorak recordings.

July 16, 2008 at 08:42 PM · There was a recording made of the private concert he gave for Albert Speer marred by the entrance of invading Russian troops. You can actually hear Speer say, "I was only following orders," and Taschner's "I was only following tempo markings."

July 17, 2008 at 04:57 PM · Poor Speer, he was only an architect, and only

wont to build the biggest buildings in the world.

But mad Adolf forced him to became Minister of

Armaments, and as a close and old friend, he couldn't say no. But in the end, he tried to kill

Adolf. And even he stoped Adolf in his orders to destroy Berlin. Traitor!.

July 17, 2008 at 10:33 PM · at least he had a gum named after him..

July 17, 2008 at 10:57 PM · Chewing gum?

July 18, 2008 at 12:49 AM · Albert Speermint Gum, "Good Enough for you to Deny the Whole Cost."

As an actually accurate aside, Speer denied that he was aware of the killing of millions of Jews in concentration camps. He claimed that he was an "unwitting collaborator" in the horror.

Of course, in 1971 he wrote a letter to Hélène Jeanty, the widow of a Belgian resistance leader, that he knew of Himmler's plans to exterminate all the Jews. In the letter he says, "There is no doubt - I was present as Himmler announced on 6 October 1943 that all Jews would be killed".

And of course there is utterly no evidence beyond rumor that he ever tried to have Hitler killed.

On the positive side, there is also no evidence that, unlike Speers wartime projects, Albert Speermint Chewing Gum is made by slave labor or that it embodies total disregard for human life.

In fact, it's current ad camplaign shows a doctored photograph of Albert in a black caftan saying, "Vun Good Chew deserves Ein Other!"

July 18, 2008 at 10:19 PM · At his trial at Nuremberg, Speer said that in 45

he was convinced that Adolf must be eliminated to save Germany, and got the idea of poison him

with gas through the bunker´s ventilation sistem. But could'n do it because at the last minute the sistem was modify and to introduce the gas became

impossible. Of course,he didn't tell anybody of this plan,end we have only his word about it, But

the judges believed him, and gave him 20 years

instead of hanging. If I were one of the judges,

i would have vote for death sentence.

July 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM · it started with a nice Taschner revival and ended posthume with Speer death sentance...

July 22, 2008 at 01:54 PM · Maybe because you brought the subject of the "private concert for Speer"...

July 22, 2008 at 03:20 PM · And we can discuss the abilities of that nice

guy Reinhold Heydrich as a violinist?

September 13, 2011 at 11:37 PM ·

In evaluating (or maybe simply enjoying ) an artist's musicianship it would be nice to do so by separating it from political circumstances surrounding.

As a German of the younger generation whose mother and grandmother survived a concentration camp I will never promote to forget that part of history, but we do need to learn to not bring everything that happened in the 30ies and 40ies in context with Hitler. 

It would be nice if discussion about Taschner's playing would focus on just that: his musicianship. I don't even believe in the necessity to discuss wether he is "as good as"  or  "in the same league as" xyz or not. As for my part I have to say that I admire his honest and sincere musicianship and can appreciate a lot of his music-making.

in regards of the political circumstances: let's check in with ourselves and our souls once in a while and try to find an honest answer to what we would have done back in the day. As musicians. As being threatened with life. I think none of us would be able to give a definate answer- we might think we are able to but I doubt that can be true. So: let's move on, let's learn from the past, keep our eyes open and not have history repeat itself  (and it's damn close all the time all around us in the so called 1st world and elsewhere...) -- and let's try to appreciate beauty as it is.


September 14, 2011 at 12:36 AM ·

 for all German readers: you might want to check this out. It might put any attempt to politicize Taschner at rest (and let's not forget: he was 22/23 yrs old at the time of the "Speer-concert"):


September 15, 2011 at 04:01 PM ·

For those who are interested and read German there is a book-length biography of Taschner:

Weiler, Klaus. Gerhard Taschner - Das Vergessene Genie. (Augsburg): Wißner, 2004.

Best wishes,


September 15, 2011 at 05:36 PM ·

I just listend to his second and third movements of hte Bruch violin concerto I - I must admit that its beautifully played but frankly, I find the expression to be insincere.  Not my favorite..



Unfortunately the quality of recording/upload of the latter movement is not the best, the violin sounds muted.

September 18, 2011 at 10:26 PM ·

There is another book on Taschner by Walter Gerstberger: Taschner der legendäre Geiger. I also am working on a biograhy of Taschner. For the past seven years I'm trying to get a picture of what happened in Germany during WW2; why acted people the way they did, what did they know, what did they want to know?  The famous private concert for Speer is mentioned by historians such as Cornelius Ryan, Antony Beevor and Speer himself. Speer wanted to rescue the members of the Berlin Philharmonic by providing them with transportation to Bavaria that was soon going to be liberated by the Americans, anything better than being  in the Volkssturm and perish in a fight against the Red Army (which was what Hitler and Goebbels wanted) The orchestra stayed, some of them got killed indeed. Taschner, his family and the 18 year old daughter of a fellow violinist made use of Speers offer and were liberated by the Americans two days later. Nice detail: at the exit of the concerthall (or what was left of it) members of the Hitler Youth were handing out cyanide capsules. Situations like these are beyond the comprehension of most of us. 

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