Appointment to the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra
Adolf Rebner remembered Hindemith's appointment to the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra as follows: « [...] the conductors Ludwig Rottenberg and Egon Pollack [heard] of the young violinist and asked me about his abilities – this in view of the open position of 1st concertmaster of the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Society Orchestra. I was able to tell these gentlemen with conviction that congratulations would be in order not only for the young Hindemith himself but also for the director of the opera.»
So that the 19-year-old Hindemith (still a minor) could sign the contract, his father, who was fighting on the Front, had to send him power of attorney: «I hereby gladly authorise my son Paul, upon request, to sign contracts etc. in his name and that this signature should have the same legally valid authority as if Paul were of full age.» Hindemith was first engaged as 1st violinist, then as 2nd concertmaster for two years. In this position, which signified a considerable social advance at the same time, Hindemith was able to secure the livelihood of his family, which was fatherless beginning in September 1915.
In March 1916 he became 1st concertmaster. He wrote to friends: «They made the audition very difficult for me. First I was sent to the director without at all knowing what I should do. I played the 1st movements of the Brahms and Beethoven concertos for the director and both conductors completely without preparation, the entire Mendelssohn concerto as well as the Chaconne, which was of course a big surprise for the gentlemen. I played another audition on the following Thursday at which, in addition to the aforementioned gentlemen, the Amsterdam conductor Willem Mengelberg (the director of the Museum concerts here) and a lot of our orchestral members were present. [...] Everything went well; Mengelberg [...] however, absolutely did not want to grant me the position because I was much too young, but I heard that he already had another violinist up his sleeve. However, when I had to play extremely difficult passages from Salome (that I had never seen before) and sight-read them smoothly, he could no longer make any objections.»