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Helmut Kretschmar (Tenor)

Born: February 3, 1928 - Kleve (Niederrhein), Germany

The German tenor, Helmut Kretschmar, studied first in Frankfurt a.M. with Kurt Thomas and Hans Emge, then at the Musikhochschule of Detmold with Fred Husler. In 1953 he received the 1st Prize with the singing competition of the Deutschen Musikhochschulen (German Colleges of Music), and in 1958 the Big Art Prize of the Country North-Westphalia.

In 1954 Helmut Kretschmar worked in Hamburg Broadcast in the premiere of Arnold Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron. In 1960 he became lecturer at the Musikhochschule Detmold, since 1961 served there as a Professor. In 1953 he began his career as concert and oratorio singer, which led soon to beautiful successes. At the Berlin Festival Weeks and at the Bach Festivals of Lüneburg and Heidelberg of the years 1960-1962 he showed himself as a great J.S. Bach interpreter. He participated in the Göttingen Händel Festival and undertook concert tours all over the world. Thus he could be heard in concert halls in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Köln, Paris, Madrid, London, Bombay, in cities of India, Korea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Helmut Kretschmar concentrated his artistic work primarily on the work of J.S. Bach, but was successful in oratorios of George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, J. Haydn and in works of modern masters. He became a Lieder singer by his wife, the pianist Renate Fischer, who likewise was a Professor at the Musikhochschule Detmold, and accompanied him in Lieder recitals. They performed, among other things, Lieder of Schubert, R. Schumann, Hugo Wolf and Debussy.

Helmut Kretschmar was admired for his rich tenor voice, the artistic expression and the fine intimate style. He can be heard on numerous records of Marken Columbia, Decca, DGG, L'Oiseau Lyre, Vox, Philips, Discophiles Français and Edition Schwann. Among them are also some opera recordings (Fidelio, Moses und Aron by A. Schoenberg), although he did not make an operatic career. In the first place however stand works stand like Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244), Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248) and the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by J.S. Bach, Missa Solemnis by L.v. Beethoven, Die Jahreszeiten by Haydn and the Mass in A flat major by Schubert.


Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (April 2004)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2004)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Friedrich Bihn


BWV 248

Fritz Münch


BWV 232

Karl Richter


BWV 70 [1st]

Karl Ristenpart


Radio: BWV 6, BWV 55 [2nd], BWV 85

Kurt Thomas


BWV 70, BWV 147
BWV 232, BWV 244 [1st recording, 1952]

Max Thurn


Radio: BWV 16, BWV 18, BWV 20, BWV 31 [1st], BWV 40, BWV 43, BWV 46, BWV 62, BWV 85, BWV 86, BWV 90, BWV 91, BWV 92, BWV 94, BWV 107, BWV 126, BWV 127, BWV 131, BWV 135, BWV 137, BWV 140, BWV 146, BWV 181, BWV 190

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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 09:23