MARX: Orchestral Songs: Hat dich die Liebe berührt, Sommerlied, Maienblüten, Waldseligkeit, Marienlied, Zigeuner, Selige Nacht, Piemontesisches Volkslied, Ständchen, Der bescheidene Schäfer, Barkarole, Jugend und Alter, Die Liebste spricht, Sendung, Japanisches Regenlied, Venetianisches Wiegenlied, Erinnerung, Ein Abschied, Dezember, Lieder, In meiner Träume Heimat, Auf der Campagna.
Angela Maria Blasi, soprano; Stella Doufexis, mezzo-soprano; Bochum Symphony Orch/Steven Sloane, cond.
ASV CDA 1164 (F) (DDD) TT: 56:35

Arias from The Marriage of Figaro, Idomeneo, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Don Giovanni, Fidelio, Abu Hassan, Das Rheingold, Der Rosenkavalier, Die tote Stadt, Messiah.
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano; various orchestras and conductors
GOLDEN MELODRAM GM 7.0000 (F) (ADD) TT: 71:32

Arias from I Puritani, Norma, I Capuleti e i Monttecchi, Attila, The Barber of Seville, Roberto Devereux, The Abduction from the Seraglio, La traviata, Manon, Robert le diable, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Giuditta, The Ballad of Baby Doe; music of Mozart, Richard Strauss and Sieczynski
Beverly Sills, soprano; various orchestras and conductors
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON B 0002469 (2 CDs) (ADD)` TT: 58:29 & 63:22

MAHLER: Early lieder recordings
Ich ging mit Lust/Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht? (Grete Stuckgold with orchestra, 1921). Urlicht from Symphony No. 2 (Emmi Leisner/Berlin State Opera Orch/Oscar Fried, cond., 1924). Kindertotenlieder (Heinrich Rehkemper/Berlin State Opera Orch/Jascha Horenstein, cond., 1928). Urlicht from Symphony No. 2. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (Sara Jane Charles-Cahier/Berlin State Opera Orch/Selmar Meyrowitz, cond., 1930?). Rheinlegendchen. Der Tambourg'sell. (Berlin State Opera Orch/Hermann Weigert, cond., 1931). Ich atmet' einen Lindenduft (sung in English) (Charles Kullman/Orch/Malcolm Sargent, 1938). Das irdische Leben (Karen Branzell, with piano. 1949(?). Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Eugenia Zareska/London Philharmonic Orch/Eduard van Beinum, cond. 1946).
SYMPOSIUM 1337 (F) (mono) (ADD) TT: 78:41

ASV continues their admirable series of recordings of music by Josef Marx (1882-1964) with this release containing 22 of his 150 songs. During his heyday Marx's music was very popular with leading sopranos of the time. Elisabeth Schumann recorded Marienlied in 1928 (available on Preiser 89031), Luise Miller recorded Japanisches Regenlied and Windräder in 1937 (Preiser 89177), and Ljuba Welisch recorded Hat dich die Liebe Behrüht and Valse de Chopin in 1950 (Preiser 90476). In subsequent years Arlene Auger recorded Selige nacht, which also was recorded about four years ago by Renée Fleming along with Nachtgebet. With so few recordings currently available, this ASV collection is more than welcome. Marx arranged 20 of his songs for orchestra or string accompaniment and these are what is heard on this CD. With the exception of Marienlied (recorded by Elisabeth Schumann) , none of these have previouisly been recorded in their orchestral version. The music is lush Romanticism, and could easily be mistaken for Strauss or Korngold. Angela Maria Blasi and Stella Doufexis are fine soloists (although one could wish for Welitsch or Fleming), and Steven Sloane offers superb accompaniments. Complete texts in German and English are provided.

Golden Melodram's Schwarzkopf CD replicates previously issued LPs, all live performances from broadcasts or concerts dating from 1941 to 1952. Conductors are Wilhelm Schüchter, Herbert von Karajan, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Artur Rother, Rudolf Moralt and Leopold Ludwig. This period represents the German soprano at her finest and, for me, the CD is worth owning just for Marietta's Lied from Korngold's Die Tote Stadt, which she never recorded commercially. No texts, timings or CD notes, but there is a listing of dates for each recording.

The Beverly Sills collection is welcome as it does not duplicate anything in the previous similarly-priced (two for the price of one) DG set (REVIEW). Like its predecessor, it's a combination of early and late recordings by the famous American soprano, the earliest from 1959, the latest from 1975. In her prime Sills was a spectacular coloratura, evidenced from the arias from I Puritani, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Robert le diable and Die Entführung aus dem Serail—really extraordinary performances by one of America's finest artists. As the years passed and she began to assume more demanding roles, the Sills voice lost some of its ease of production and agility, but she remained a superb artist. It's unfortunate the Millenium CD issued about four years ago of her earlier recordings is no longer available(REVIEW).

Mahler collectors surely will wish to investigate Symposium's CD of early recordings of the composer's vocal music. Some of the performers had close ties to Mahler and his music. Sarah Jane Charles-Cahier sang in the premiere of Das Lied von der Erde in Munich in 1911 with Bruno Walter conducting, Charles Kullman in the historic 1936 Vienna recording of the same work, also conducted by Walter. Conductor Oscar Fried made the first recording of a Mahler Symphony (No. 2) in 1924 (REVIEW) from which Urlicht is extracted. Jascha Horenstein, a major Mahler interpreter of the 20th Century, made this famous recording of Kindertotenlieder with baritone Heinrich Rehkemper in 1928. For me the most important item here is the first appearance of CD of Eduard van Beinum's recording of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, made in London in 1946 with Eugenia Zareska who is perhaps best known for her splendid Marina in the 1952 EMI recording of Boris Godunov. The Dutch conductor would make a second recording two decades later in Amsterdam with Nan Merriman, but this earlier recording shows his affinity for the composer's music continuing the Mahler tradition started in Amsterdam by Willem Mengelberg. Symposium's transfers throughout are excellent. No texts, but somewhat extensive program notes.

R.E.B. (August 2004)