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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Elena Gerhardt sings Brahms great lied "Von Ewiger Liebe"

Elena Gerhardt may not be a name well recognized today except by record collectors.  However, at one point in time, she was the most beloved concert mezzo-soprano on the concert stage.  Her lieder concerts were an event that were awaited with great anticipation on three continents.  She was trained at the Leipzig Conservatory, where the legendary conductor Artur Nikisch took her under his wing and promoted her career from the very start, even accompanying her in her debut recital.  Some of her most collected records have the conductor at the piano.  What is not well know about Gerhardt is that she had a Jewish husband who was in charge of the radio network system in Germany. In 1933 he was dismissed by the Nazi's and brought up on trumped up charges.  Gerhardt who had left for England with the understanding her husband would soon follow, had to go back to Germany which was a very dangerous thing to do for a spouse married to a Jewish suspect in a criminal case.  She pleaded and was able to obtain his release for England only after the Nazi's had finished prosecuting him.  Gerhardt had a flourishing career in England and once the War was over, the United States and the rest of the World.

This 1925 early electric recording is a true document of vocal history. My sound engineer worked wonders on this very difficult record.  There are a few over-modulation points when she takes the higher register, however, that is the fault of the early microphone and not her own. Enjoy!

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