2. The Golden Era
No other conductor in the early history of the Vienna Philharmonic left a longer lasting impression on the orchestra as Hans Richter (1843 - 1916), the legendary conductor of the premiere of Wagner's tetralogy, The Ring of the Nibelungen, in Bayreuth. This is not only an appraisal in hindsight, but was also the predominant opinion of the musicians of that time. Richter conducted at least 243 concerts and presided over the organization with a one-year interruption from 1875 - 1898.
The partnership between Richter and the Philharmonic was characterized by artistic intensity. The era of Hans Richter, which is referred to as the 'Golden Era' was not a time of static complacency, but rather the constant give-and-take between a headstrong group of musicians and an outstanding conductor, who was in fact a member of the ensemble as the first among equals.
Under Hans Richter the ensemble attained the status of a world class orchestra with an incomparable tradition. Also contributing to this aura were encounters with Wagner, Verdi, Bruckner, Brahms, Liszt and others who performed with the orchestra as conductors and soloists. During the 'Golden Era' of Hans Richter Brahms' 2nd and 3rd Symphonies, Anton Bruckner's 4th and 8th Symphonies as well as the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto were premiered.