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Hans Reinmar (1895-1961)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Don Giovanni – Treibt der Champagner
Don Giovanni – Feinsliebchen, komm ans Fenster
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

Un ballo in maschera – Ja, nur du hast dies Herz
Simon Boccanegra – Adel, Plebejer, Genaus Volk
Don Carlos – Schon she ich den Tag erscheinen
Otello – Ich glaube an einen Gott
Otello – Es war zur Nachzeit with Marcel Wittrisch
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880)

The Tales of Hoffmann – leuchte, heller Spiegel
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)

L’Africaine – Dir, Königin, bin ich ergeben
L’Africaine – Wie hat mein Herz geschlagen
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)

Carmen – Euren Toast
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)

Tannhäuser – Als du in kühmen Sange
Tannhäuser – Blick’ ich umher
Tannhäuser – O du mein holder Abendstern
Heinrich August MARSCHNER (1795-1861)

Hans Heiling – An jenem Tag
Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921)

Königskinder – Verdorben-gestorben
Victor NESSLER (1890-1939)

Der Trompeter von Säckingen – Behüt’ dich Gott
Franz ABT (1819-1893)

Wenn man beim Wein sitzt Soldatenart
Hans Reinmar (baritone) with
Orchester der Staatsoper/Hermann Weigert
Orchester der Staatsoper/Frieder Weissmann
Berlin Philharmonic/Selmar Meyrowitz
Berlin Philharmonic/Wilhelm Franz Reuss
Berlin Philharmonic/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
Orchester der Städtischen Oper, Berlin/Leo Borchert
Recorded 1927-35
PREISER 89112 [75.23]


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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Hans Reinmar was a formidably equipped Viennese baritone. After a false start as an architect he determined to become a conductor, via vocal studies in Milan, but the unpropitious economic circumstances of post-War Austria and Germany made that a daunting prospect. He turned back to singing and began his career with some provincial appointments, slowly learning his craft at the Municipal Theatre in Olomouc (or Olmütz as Reinmar would doubtless still have known it) and the opera company in Nuremberg. He then moved to Zurich and back, prestigiously, to Berlin after small stints in Dresden and Hamburg. Although he was heard in Bayreuth and in Salzburg, Berlin remained his base for the rest of his career. When one thinks of the contemporary competition – Bockelmann, Rode, Janssen, Schlusnus, Domgraf-Fassbaender and Hüsch among them - one realises that Reinmar had to have carved out his roles with considerable distinction and had the voice and the stamina to survive such strong colleagues. He sang much of the expected repertoire but also Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler and von Einem’s Dantons Tod (both after the War) and Boris Godunov (he was reputed to have been excellent) and, much earlier in his career, Kurt Weill. One of his last important roles was in Robert Kurka’s splendid opera The Good Soldier Schweik and it was a melancholy coincidence that he died, in February 1961, two days after his final appearance in Kurka’s opera.

He was a lauded Mozartian and a noted Verdi baritone and we have ample evidence to support the admiration of his contemporaries. That said I would characterise him as more a character baritone than one with a beautiful voice per se. There are a number of apparently unissued Odeons here – the Don Giovanni arias, one from Meyerbeer’s Die Afrikanerin (to give it the full German translation – collectors should note that the unissued side is Wie hat mein Herz geschlagen), and the Bizet Carmen aria. All derive from two sessions, a month apart, in 1928 and all have survived in fine shape. His Mozart is full of bluff drama – and there’s nothing much wrong with the singing of the Champagne aria but the accompanying strings of the Staatsoper Orchestra had clearly left discretion back in the locale because slither and slide is the name of the game. In the other aria he is rather strained at the top and delivery is a mite uneven, so I can understand withholding the sides at the time. He hasn’t quite got the downward extension for Verdi’s Masked Ball aria but although there are relatively limited tone colours in the Don Carlos extract (and he tends to overstress the sibilants) there’s also great expressive depth to the singing. In fact declamatory power was what Reinmar had, and a great deal of it, a strong sense of involvement and characterisation and frequently an ardent impersonation (his Marschner is particularly telling in this respect and the copy used by Preiser is strikingly fine and immediate). At times this could lead him to overstatement – he certainly can tend toward over emphatic projection in his Verdi – but his Wagner is unusually poetic and convincing and his Abt, with which the recital ends, shows he could lighten and winnow his tone. Not for nothing did Reinmar work at the Komische Oper in Berlin.

The unissued items make this an engrossing issue. Transfers are careful, pitching is good, copies are clean – first class in fact – and the note by Einhard Luther lays out the biographical material lucidly. Reinmar’s is not the first name that springs to mind from amongst the plethora of baritonal talent in Germany in the 1930s and 40s but this issue brings his artistry to deserved light once again.

Jonathan Woolf



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