RICHARD STRAUSS: Historic Early
This is a fine compilation of some of the earliest recordings of excerpts from Strauss operas, with CD notes that give a basic if rather cursory history of acoustic and early electric recordings of Strauss operas. They mention a 1907 Berlin recording of excerpts from Salome with Emmy Destinn but do not mention the recording made the following year of a 2-minute excerpt with Johanna Gadski.
There are many riches here, most available previously on CD here conveniently gathered together. Lotte Lehmann's Ariadne aria is famous as is Maria Ivogün's dazzling Zerbinetta from the same opera; she sang the role in the 1916 premiere of the revised version of the opera. Rose Pauly's brilliant singing of two arias from Die ”gyptische Helena is very welcomewhat a spectacular singer she was! Known for her Elektra, Dyer's Wife and other Strauss roles, she also sang Verdi and on occasion Carmen. American tenor Charles Kullman is perhaps best-known for his participation in Bruno Walter's 1936 recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (with Kirsten Thorborg and the Vienna Philharmonic). A long time before his distinguished career at the Met he made this recording of the brief tenor aria from Rosenkavalier.
German soprano Barbara Kemp (1881-1959) was an extraordinary artist who had the misfortune of performing during an era when other more flamboyant sopranos stole the limelight. She was known for her Strauss; her 1921 version of a truncated Salome final scene is one of the finest. On this new Preiser CD we have her as the Marschallin in Rosenkavalier. Other excerpts from this opera feature Richard Mayr as Baron Ochs, his most famous role, along with excerpts featuring Viorica Ursuleac, Erna Berger, Tiana Lemnitz and Margarete Teschemacher. Lemnitz also can be heard in two excerpts from Arabella. The CD ends with the Salome finale sung by Liselotte Enck recorded in 1943 which Preiser states is "the first complete recording of this scene sung in German." Not trueit is not completethere is a small cut. Lines omitted are:
"Ich dürste nach deiner Sch–nheit. Ich hungere nach deinem Leib. Nicht Wein noch äpfel k–nnen mein Verlangen stillen...Was sol ich jetzt tun, Jochanaan? Nicht die Fluten, noch die grossen Wasser k–nnen dieses brünstige Begehren l–schen.."
It is only about a half-minute of singing with a skillful edit. The final few orchestral chords also are omitted, obviously done on purpose. Strange the cut in text was made as the performance occupied four 78 rpm sides with a total playing time of 13:40. There was plenty of space on the disks for the complete final scene. Perhaps it is an editing error in the transfer to CD? Enck is a fine Salome. Unfortunately Preiser doesn't give information about her.
All in all, this is a fascinating glimpse into Strauss performers of the past. Transfers from original 78s have been well accomplished. Considering the scope of the production, there should be more than a single page of notes. Information provided is about previous artists who recorded music of Strauss.It would have been far more appropriate to have information about singers on the CD. No timings are provided, and no texts. Still, this CD is a way to hear some outstanding Strauss specialists of the past.
R.E.B (Nov. 2000)