Hannes Richter

Hans Fantel (1922-2006)

Hannes Richter

Hans Fantel was a veteran writer for the New York Times on consumer electronics from the 1970s to the 1990s. He was also a founding editor of Stereo Review, a touchstone for stereophiles. His prolific writings covered a broad range of subjects, including his life in prewar Vienna. Born in Vienna in 1922, Hans Fantel was the son of an engineer who had designed one of the first phonographs. He was sixteen when his father was arrested and executed by the Nazis. Shortly after his father’s arrest, authorities discovered that Hans was Jewish and he was expelled from school. He subsequently fled to Czechoslovakia, where he served in the underground before making his way to Tunis. There the American Consul, a classical music lover, helped him get to New York in 1941. Fantel’s focus was classical music and sound recording. In one column, he wrote of receiving a compact disc of a concert he had attended fifty years before with his father. It was of the Vienna Philharmonic playing Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the orchestra’s last concert before Hitler’s annexation. He added, “In the perennial rebirth of music through recordings, something of life itself steps over the normal limits of time.” Hans Fantel died in May and is survived by his wife, Shea Fantel.