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MUSICAL EVENTS (July 1963)

Teutonic Week

Last week's most out-of-the-ordinary event was the appearance in Carnegie Hall in Monday night, of the NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg ... under the baton of Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, a conductor of unusual skill and profound feeling for tradition ...

In the Brandenburg concerto, which opened the concert, Mr. Schmidt-Isserstedt had his four soloists - trumpet, flute, oboe, and violin - stand in front of the orchestra to perform their parts. Of the four, the unquestionable hero was Adolf Scherbaum, a remarkable specialist in the kind of stratospheric Bach trumpet-playing that this work calls for, and that often entails a considerable amount of obvious strain on the part of the musician. Mr. Scherbaum tackled his high-flying passages with no strain whatever, and one could appreciate the esteem in which he is held in Europe, where he is regarded as a sort of world's champion in this art. Indeed, according to some of the publicity literature I received before the concert, Mr. Scherbaum's accomplishments as a formidable pneumatic phenomenon once led a number of Swiss physicians to examine him while he was blowing a C above high C, and to conclude that the pressure inside his body exceeded the twenty-four pounds per square inch that is found in a well-blown-up automobile tire. This is truly an arresting statistic, but one that does not convey at all the suavity and brilliance with which Mr. Scherbaum utilizes his tremendous ability to compress air. (...)