Thomas Brandis, Former 1st Concertmaster of Berlin Philharmonic

Beethoven Mass in D (Missa Solemnis) – Watch on YouTube

Between the years 1962-1983 and under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, Thomas Brandis was 1st concertmaster for the BerlinPhilharmonic. In noting Brandis’s death on the orchestra’s website, board member Knut Weber said: “Thomas Brandis’s extraordinary musicality has been documented in many recordings, from Mozart’s Haffner Serenade to Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra. His playing gives a condensed account of the qualities of the Karajan era: a rich, singing tone and an unerring sense of musical dramaturgy.”

In 1976 Brandis founded the Brandis Quartet, an ensemble that lasted for 25 years. He taught at Berlin University of Arts, the University of Music Lübeck and at the Royal Academy of Music, to name a few.

“The concertmaster must prepare bowings for everyone, and then they all shout at you, ‘This down bow is terrible.’ Orchestras are not easy…” –Thomas Brandis

Thomas Brandis,  1935-March 30, 2017

Schubert String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major on Spotify

Kurt Moll, Basso Profondo Who Could Hit A Low C

“Da Lieg Ich” from Der Rosenkavalier – Watch on YouTube

A “basso profondo” is an especially low bass voice.  While a typical bass can hit E2 (the second E below Middle C), Kurt Moll (April 11, 1938-March 5, 2017) could drop his voice to a Low C, two full steps lower. (This is what it sounds like on a piano.)

The boorish Baron Ochs from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier is a role that calls for its singer to hit Low C., and Moll performed it frequently. He made seven complete recordings as Ochs, including a 1984 album with Herbert von Karajan, which Moll was particularly fond of. Through the 1960s, he performed with various German companies and became a regular on European and U.S. stages in the 1970s.

“…an exceptional basso profondo that proved as remarkable for its easy production as for its velvet timbre.” – Opera News

“Mein Lieber, Hippolyte” from Der Rosenkavalier on Spotify

(Listen for the Low C.)

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Rainer Bloss, Electronic Music Keyboardist

“Lovely Hitchhiker” Video, 1986

Rainer Bloss was a German electronic music keyboard player who released a number of albums with composer Klaus Schulze in the 1980s.

Rainer Bloss and Klaus Schulze, Gent, Belgium, 1982

The duo produced Audentity (1983), Aprhica (1984) and three versions of Drive Inn (1984, 1986, 1998), as well as a live album, Dziekuje Poland Live ’83.

“PanAmericana” from Drive Inn 2

It’s hard to find much on Bloss, including his actual birthdate (1946-December 10, 2015). Schulze is much better known, having been part of the band Tangerine Dream and the supergroup Go with Steve Windwood.