Curt Gerhard Westphal, stage name Gert Westphal, (5 October 1920 – 10 November 2002) was a German-Swiss actor, audiobook narrator, recitator and director, one of the best-known audiobook narrators and speakers in German, described as "König der Vorleser" (king of recitators)[1] and "der Caruso der Vorleser" (the Caruso among recitators).[2] After his reading of her husband's works, Katia Mann called him "des Dichters oberster Mund" (the poet's principal voice).[3] The literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki said he was probably the best reciter of German.[4]

Gert Westphal
Born
Curt Gerhard Westphal

(1920-10-05)5 October 1920
Dresden, Germany
Died10 November 2002(2002-11-10) (aged 82)
Zürich, Switzerland
EducationStaatsschauspiel Dresden
Occupation
  • Actor
  • Recitator
  • Audio director
  • Radio manager
Organization
Awards

CareerEdit

 
Katia and Thomas Mann

Born in Dresden as the son of a culturally interested factory director,[1] Westphal attended the Realgymnasium in Blasewitz, graduating with the Abitur.[5] He trained in acting with Paul Hoffmann at the Dresdner Staatsschauspielhaus, where he made his stage debut in 1940 in a minor role in Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen. He was then drafted for military service and later became a prisoner of war. In 1946 he moved to Bremen, where he was both a member of the Kammerspiele Bremen [de] and a speaker for Radio Bremen.[1] From 1948, he headed the broadcaster's audio play division. In 1953, he took the same position with Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden where he remained until 1959. He was in contact with authors such as Alfred Andersch, Ingeborg Bachmann, Gottfried Benn, Max Frisch and Carl Zuckmayer. He commissioned new audio plays and collaborated with Max Ophüls, Will Quadflieg, Hans Paetsch, Oskar Werner, Walter Jens and Joachim Fest.[5]

As a recitator and audiobook narrator, Westphal recorded major works by German authors and also translations of writers such as Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo, Henry James and Thornton Wilder, with a focus on Russian literature by Chinghiz Aitmatov, Fjodor Dostojewski, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Goncharov, Maxim Gorki, Nikolai Leskov, Vladimir Nabokov, Leo Tolstoi and Anton Checkov, among others. In 1994, he performed a series of readings of correspondences with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, such as Hofmannsthal and Strauss, and Zelter and Goethe.[6]

 
Westphal's grave next to that of the Thomas Mann family

He died in Zürich and was buried in Kilchberg, next to the family grave of Thomas Mann.[7]

AwardsEdit

Awards for recordingsEdit

Awards for audio playsEdit

LiteratureEdit

  • Andreas Kotte, ed. (2005). "Gert Westphal". Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer [Theater Dictionary of Switzerland]. 3. Zürich: Chronos. pp. 2084–2085. ISBN 978-3-0340-0715-3. LCCN 2007423414. OCLC 62309181.
  • Oliver W. Grabow: Gert Westphal. Gesamtverzeichnis seiner Arbeiten von 1940 bis 2002. Arethousa Verlag, München 2013, ISBN 978-3-934207-22-6.[18]
  • Katrin Krämer: Vorlesen ist ein Liebesakt. Gert Westphal – Die Stimme der Literatur, biographic feature, Radio Bremen 2000, aired 22 November 2015

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Die Stimme der Klassiker. / Gert Westphal, Sprecher, Rezitator und Schauspieler, starb im Alter von 82 Jahren ungekuerzte-lesung.de
  2. ^ Solothurner Nachrichten, 8 July 1989, article by Kurt Steinmann
  3. ^ Bernd M. Kraske (ed.): Des Dichters oberster Mund – Gert Westphal zum 70. Geburtstag. Böckel Verlag, 1990, ISBN 3-923793-12-X.
  4. ^ Peter Lückemeier (22 January 2018), "Eine Stimme, die Welten erschafft", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German), Frankfurt, p. 10
  5. ^ a b Zemke, Klaus (18 October 2011). "1985: Interview mit Gert Westphal / "Glücklich bin ich immer, wenn ich Goethe lesen darf" – Gert Westphal über seine Tätigkeit als Rezitator" (in German). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  6. ^ "1994". mwolf.de (in German). Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  7. ^ Der Friedhof / Gemeinde Kilchberg Kilchberg
  8. ^ a b "Gert Westphal" (in German). Der Audio Verlag. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  9. ^ * Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg: Senator-Biermann-Ratjen-Medaille Hamburg
  10. ^ Complete list of Ehrenpreis recipients 1968–2011, p. 3
  11. ^ Hörbuch / Ingeborg Bachmann: Das dreißigste Jahr Schallplattenkritik
  12. ^ Hörbuch / Thomas Mann: Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull. Gelesen von Gert Westphal. Schallplattenkritik
  13. ^ Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden Akustische Spielformen – Von der Hörspielmusik zur Radiokunst – Der Karl-Sczuka-Preis 1955–2005 Bund der Kriesblinden
  14. ^ a b [1] SWR
  15. ^ Bremer Rundfunk-Chronik / 1950–1960: Das Jahrzehnt des Hörspiels Radio Bremen
  16. ^ Anders Bodelsen / A hard day's night hoerspiele.dra.de
  17. ^ Udo, der Stählerne goetz-naleppa.de
  18. ^ Schaffensbilanz. (review) Neue Zürcher Zeitung 16 July 2013, retrieved 16 August 2013

External linksEdit