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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Craig Sheppard's latest cd release

For those of you who follow my blog, Craig Sheppard was the pianist who gave the true first performance of the Brahms Album Leaf, many months before the Hogwood dust-up. For those who love the Romantic piano works of the 19th Century, the works of Franz Liszt, or specifically Les Annees de Pelerinage by Franz Liszt, we have a treat to tell you about. 

Craig has just released a 2 cd set on the Romeo Records label of the complete cycle, recorded live at the Meany Theater in Seattle on the 20th and 21st of October, 2011.  The playing is first rate, both sensitive and masterful as this cycle requires.  He demonstrates he is a true keyboard virtuoso in his interpretation.  For those who are concerned about such things, the sound engineering is also of the highest quality.  Craig has also written the liner notes concerning the history of the cycle.

You may order below, he also has sound files which you may preview.

Harmonie Autographs and Music, Inc. is not compensated in any way for this endorsement

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Emanuel List Sings a Rumbling Patriotic Song

Emanuel List (1888-1967) was one of the most important German basses at the Metropolitan Opera during the WWII period, chalking up 449 performances in the house between 1933 and 1950.  A Jewish son of a tailor and born in Vienna, his real name was Emanual Fleissig.  He learned to sing in the synagogues of Vienna and joined the chorus of the Theater an der Wien in his teens.  He next joined a quartet which toured Europe, Australia and New Zealand, winding up in New York studying with the vocal pedagogue Josiah Zuro.  To make ends meet, he sung in the local movie theatres during the showing of silent films.  He returned to Austria in 1921 and made his debut at the Vienna Volksoper in 1922.  The following year, he was hired by the Berlin Staditsche Oper and the Berlin Staatsoper in 1924.  He stayed as house bass at the Staatsoper until 1933 and interestingly he sung at the Bayreuth Festspiele that Summer.  He left Germany for America with a contract to sing at the Metropolitan Opera which was to be his srtistic home until 1950.  The bass also was a great favorite as a guest in Vienna, London, Paris, Buenos Aires and Chicago during his long career.  After his return to his beloved Vienna, and in the final years of his career, List sung lieder concerts in Germany and Austria through 1952.  He is buried in the Jewish section of the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.

The recording you are about to hear is interesting, as it was utilized as a patriotic rallying song during WWI in Austria.  The lied is entitled "Andreas Hofer" and it concerns the real life rebel of the same name, Tirolean innkeeper who rebelled against Napoleon's army.  Knebelsberger also wrote a march of the same name which was used through WWII, substantially different from the lied.  List was fiercely loyal to Austria and when he had a choice whether to retire in the United States, or Austria, he returned home.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Suzanne Sten sings Mahler, a rather rare recording

Moving along with our project presenting previously unreleased in digital format recordings of Jewish singers of the Holocaust era, I present the beautiful mezzo-soprano Suzanne Sten singing Mahler's "Ich atmet 'einen linden duft" the first of the Ruckert lieder.  This recording beautifully sung is from a 1940's Columbia record with Leo Taubmann at the piano.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hermann Weil sings Robert Schumann's most militaristic lied!

As Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro

Weil is an interesting character in the World of Opera.  He was a student of Wagner disciple Felix Mottl, a great Wagnerian conductor.  He spent most of his early career in Stuttgardt, where he made a big name for himself and was brought to Bayreuth where he assumed the heldbaritone fach roles.  In 1911 he came to New York to sing with the Metropolitan Opera, where he stayed for 6 seasons, leaving the company towards the end of the War in 1917.  He returned in the 1920's with a German touring company and stayed long enough to get his citzenship. A smart move, as a Jew, he was able to leave Europe in 1939 for the United States.  He died in a boating accident in upstate New York in 1949.

This 1916 Columbia recording of Weil singing Schumann's Die beiden Grenadiere is not a great recording, it is a good, competent recording in my opinion.  Listen carefully to his exquisite diction and rolling r's!  As much as I admire Feodor Chaliapin, it's a better recording of the lied than his, far less strained, so if you like the Chaliapin recording you should love this.  I am presenting this video which has also been launched for the first time in digital format.  I have also included an English language translation of the lied on the video post on YouTube.

Herbert Janssen sings Richard Strauss, first time in digital format

Most people who remember Janssen think of him as as the mighty Wotan, Amfortas, or Kurvenaal.  What most do not realize is unlike other heldenbaritones of his generation, Janssen prior to his vocal burn-out from singing those roles had one of the most mellow baritones in the business.  We offer this recording of Richard Strauss's 1885 lied Die Nacht for the first time in digital format.  One of the most touching renditions of this work typically performed by sopranos.  This is a recording to savor!


Gelb's Latest Controversy

Updated 6/4/2012 at 8:02 est

Max Bialystock

After Mr. Gelb was called out for complaining and influencing the withdrawal of a well written piece by a WQXR blog critic a month ago, one would think he would have stopped his attempts to censor criticism of his product and tenure. Obviously not.  Thin of skin and now most probably concerned about his job with the cost of the Ring Cycle coming in at least double the original $16.0 million he still touts to the press, he continues on his censorship crusade. The New York Times broke a story today that Peter Gelb has been "collaborative" with the Metropolitan Opera Guild regarding ending their criticism of the Metropolitan Opera in Opera News Magazine.  The rub here is, the Managing Director of the Guild, Stewart Pearce is a Gelb appointee, approved by a Board he controls, so much for "collaboration."  Perhaps Mr. Gelb should spend more time in "little old lady land" and not worry about what is said of him.  Insiders tell me he needs money fast to cover his deficits.  So without further ado, here is the New York Times article by Dan Wakin followed by links to various arts, philanthropy and informational blogs from throughout the World.  We will continue to update this page as the critiques of this action come in! 

New York Times Article

Norman Lebrecht's Slipped Disc Blog

Parterre Box Blog 1

Parterre Box Blog 2

The Atlantic Wire

Philanthropy Today

Lisa Hirsch's Iron Tongue Blog

Musical Toronto Blog

Sketchy Details Blog

Philip Kennicott Blog

Nico Devilliers Blog

RSS News Desk

John's Opera Ramblings Blog

Grapeful Blog

Helsingin Sanormat: (Finnish)

Forum Opera Blog (French)

Tim's Smith's colum on the Baltimore Sun Blog

Terry Teachout's About Last Night Blog

David Stabler on the Oregon Live Blog

Orf Blog (German language Austrian Blog)

A Liberal's Libretto Blog

Old West Arts Blog

Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise Blog

Anne Midgette on the Washington Post Blog

Justin Davidson Vulture Blog

Likely Impossibilities Opera Blog

On Opera Blog

Carolines Blog

Sounds and Fury Opera Blog

Poynter Blog

Super-Conductor Blog

Salazar's Opera Family Circle Blog

Classical Life Blog

The Omniscient Mussel Blog

Real Clear Arts Blog

Well Sung Blog

The PR Verdict Blog

Richmond Times Dispatch Blog

Flack's Revenge Blog

Cricket Toes Blog

Lieto Fine London Blog

Perfectly Rational Dog Blog

Solgerd Islav Blog (Swedish)

Index on Censorship Blog

New Yorker Magazine, Alex Ross

New York Times letter to the editor

Boise State Public Radio Blog Blog

AM New York Blog

Greg Sandow's Blog

Berkshire Fine Arts Blog

Latinos Post Blog

Live 2.0 Blog

Opera Pulse Blog

Boston Lyric Opera Blog

Schleppy Nabucco's Blog

Codex Flores Blog (German)

NPR Blog

Huffington Post

Price Walden Blog

A Beast In a Jungle Blog

Phyllis Chesler Blog

WNO blog

Ion Arts Blog

New York Magazine

Bill Madison Blog

The Daily Astorian on-line

NZZ on-line (Switzerland-German)

El Espectador on-line (Spanish)

Colin Eatock Blog

Opera Cast Blog

Mark J. Golden Blog

Adaptistration Blog

Blog Pong Blog (German)

Das Wochenmagazin On-Line

Update!!!!! 5:15 PM 5/22/12

Gelb backtracks.  Read Norman Lebrecht's account of the weak statement hurriedly issued by the Metropolitan Opera today reversing their ill advised censorship of Opera News Magazine.

Norman's Article on the MET Backtrack

The New York Times recap on the back track

New York Times article on Gelb's Backtrack

The LA Times on the back track

LA Times back track story

The Atlantic Wire on the back track

Atlantic Wire on the back track

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jarmila Novotna's first record at the age of 19!

The soprano "In memory of my first concert" 1940
From a private collection, formerly property of Harmonie Autographs

Jarmila Novotna (1907-1994) was one of the finest singing actresses of her generation.  Czech by birth, she studied with the legendary Emmy Destinn and made her operatic debut at the National Theatre in Prague in 1925.  Her debut was in the Bartered Bride, however, it was her follow-up performance as Violetta in La Traviata which was a senational hit.  Violetta was the role most closely associated with her for the rest of her career, recordings of the third act letter scene are still thought today to be among the finest ever made.

Our recording uploaded to YouTube today was made less than a year after her debut in opera.  The 1926 acoustic is her only record of this type.  The piece is an aria, more of a lullaby from the rarely heard Czech opera, Psohlavci, or the Dog Heads by Karel Kovarovic.  In this charming recording, one can still hear the young girl with the Czech accent, which disappeared over time.

We have included Madame Novotna along with our cycle of Jewish singers, not because she was Jewish, but a conscientous objector.  With the advice and help of Maestro Arturo Toscanini, she left Europe interestingly she always noted that the day she arrived in the United States, the German army marched into Prague.  Later, after the war, she portrayed a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz looking for her son in the 1948 film, The Search.

I hope you enjoy this most historical recording, Novotna's very first!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Richard Tauber sings Strauss's Morgen 1922 in Glorious Sound

Richard Tauber with Franz Lehar and the cast of "Wo die Lerch Singt"

It is our privilege to bring you unusual recordings of Jewish singers of the Holocaust era.  While Tauber was half Jewish, he was forced to flee after the Anschluss.  Once the single most popular tenor in the German speaking World, then personna non grata in the lands where he gave his all.  In 1922 on one of his early records, Tauber made a spectacular recording complete with violin obligato of Richard Strauss's lied, "Morgen" one of the most touching of all Strauss's songs. It was written with a group of lieder as a wedding present for his authoritarian wife Pauline de Ahna.  Tauber recorded the song several times, perhaps the 1932 version is the best known and most published as it is an electric and the sound after decent restoration makes it very immediate. While the recording we present is acoustic, the work my friend, Seth Winner did with the original source is nothing short of spectacular and I invite you to enjoy the video.  There is another example up on Youtube which does not remotely compare.  I have also added a number of images of Tauber during his career, portraits, operetta and with others we either have in our inventory, or have sold over the years to supplement the video, enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Next in our Jewish singers of the Holocaust era series, Leonardo Aramesco sings Di Rigori Armato from Der Rosenkavlier

We offer a scarce one of a kind recording by the Romanian tenor (1898-1946) of his very first recording, Berlin, 1929.  This is from a one-of-a-kind test pressing by HMV which was never published.  Not a perfect recording of the tenor's aria from Der Rosenkavalier, but elegant and truly heartfelt!  This is the first time this recording has been digitally transfered to our knowledge.