(15 October 1926 – 15 February 1981)
He was born in Plauen and studied first in Dresden, where he was a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor and later in Leipzig, where he received his degree in 1949. He studied with Günther Ramin, Carl Straube and Rudolf Mauersberger. In the same year, he became organist at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, where Johann Sebastian Bach once held the position as Musical Director. In 1951, he moved to Munich, where he taught at the conservatory and was cantor and organist at St. Mark's Church. He also conducted the Münchener Bach-Chor starting in 1954 and the Münchener Bach-Orchester. In the 1960s and 1970s, he did a great deal of recording and undertook tours to Japan, the United States, Canada, Latin-America, Eastern Europe including the Soviet Union. He conducted a wide range of music (sacred music from Heinrich Schütz to Max Reger, as well as the symphonic and concerto repertoire of the Classical and Romantic period, including Bruckner symphonies) but is best remembered today for his interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach's and Händel's music. Karl Richter avoided the fluctuations in tempo that were then characteristic of the prevailing Romantic manner of conducting Bach, but did not incorporate period instruments and performing techniques into his performances, innovations in Baroque performance practice which had not yet fully blossomed during Richter's career. As well as a conductor, Karl Richter is also remembered as an excellent organist. His performances of Bach's organ pieces are known for their imposing registrations and favorable pace. While staying in a hotel in Munich in 1981, Karl Richter died from a heart attack. He was buried in the Enzenbühl cemetery in Zurich 8 days later.
Evelyn Lear Thomas Stewart
German Requiem, Op. 45
Evelyn Lear, soprano
Thomas Stewart, bass
ORTF National Orchestra and Chorus
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