“May the practising musician rediscover the hidden truths within the music, that is to say, find and name those concrete pictorial ideas which were at one time, perhaps, alive in the creative consciousness of the composer. In any case, that is what was expected in the 18th century. If a conductor does make such a find, he owns the means with which to fashion a vivid sound out of the barren ciphers of the score, a sound which breathes and moves as if it were alive. Thus it is that the crucial step of not simply reproducing sounds but also of conveying their meaning – allowing the audience to comprehend their content – is facilitated. Notation ‘enciphers’ pictures and psychological processes, and there are performances which make audible the realities contained within those ciphers.”
The conductor Herman Max began his career in the baroque oratorio repertoire. Soon, though, Max started to enrich different musical genres by means of his critical approach. It was he, too, who was in part responsible for reintroducing into our musical consciousness the romantic oratorio – a terra incognita in today’s musical landscape – regardless of whether it concerned editions of Bach’s Passions arranged by Mendelssohn and Schumann, or the unknown masterpieces of Ferdinand Ries, Andreas Romberg, Nepomuk Hummel, Antonio Zingarelli or Max Bruch. In relation to this, his own ensembles – Das Kleine Konzert and Rheinische Kantorei – deserve as much attention as classical symphony orchestras with whom Hermann Max enjoys working. He takes particular care not to become an inhabitant of the early music ‘ghetto’. The performance of contemporary music, such as Gil Shohats ‘Song of Songs’, makes this as evident as the world premiere of a new piece by Bernd Franke, which forms part of his 2010 repertoire. Most recently, Hermann Max also confirmed his potential as an opera conductor at the Styriarte Festival in Graz with performances of Melanis L’Europe and Purcell’s King Arthur.
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