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Hilde Güden Arias and Songs

NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI 7952-3 [78:48 + 78:58]

Experience Classicsonline

CD 1
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791)

Don Giovanni:
1. Batti, batti, o bel Masetto [3:43]
2. Vedrai carino [3:46]
Die Zauberflöte:
3. Ach, ich fühl’s [4:53]
Le nozze di Figaro:
4. Venite, inginocchiatevi [3:18]
5. Giunse alfin il momento … Deh vieni, non tardar [4:25]
6. Se il padre perdei [5:01]
Il re pastore:
7. L’amerò, sarò costante [5:15]
8. Exsultate, jubilate, motel K 165 [14:25]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901)

La traviata:
9. Ah! Fors’è lui … Sempre libera [6:48]
10. Caro nome [6:17]
11. Tutte le feste … Si vendetta [10:31]
12. Sul fil d’un soffio etesio [3:33]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924)

La bohème:
13. Quando me’n vo’ …finale, act 2 [6:53]
CD 2

1. Signore, ascolta [2:17]
2. Tu che di gel sei cinta [2:46]
Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)

Der Rosenkavalier:
3. Act 3 final trio and duet [11:36]
4. Einerlei, Op. 69 No. 3 [2:31]
5. Säusle, liebe Myrte, Op. 68 No. 3 [3:53]
6. Der Stern, Op. 69 No. 1 [1:40]
7. Schlechtes Wetter, Op. 69 No. 5 [2:05]
8. Ich wollt’ ein Sträusslein binden, Op. 68 No. 2 [2:40]
9. Als mir dein Lied erklang, Op. 68 No. 4 [3:03]
10. Freundliche Vision, Op. 48 No. 1 [2:40]
11. Schlagende Herzen, Op. 29 No. 2 [2:07]
12. Heimkehr, Op. 15 No. 5 [1:57]
13. Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4 [3:57]
14. Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3 [2:18]
15. Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten, Op. 19 No. 4 [1:40]
16. Meinem Kinde, Op. 37 No. 3 [2:13]
Noel COWARD (1899 – 1973)

Bitter Sweet:
17. Ill see you again [3:00]
18. Zigeuner [3:06]
Private Lives:
19. Someday I’ll find you [2:45]
Conversation Piece:
20. I’ll follow my secret heart [2:20]
Ivor NOVELLO (1893 – 1951)

Glamorous Night:
21. Glamorous night [3:16]
Careless Rapture:
22. Music in May [3:17]
The Dancing Years:
23. The waltz of my heart [3:07]
24. I can give you the starlight [2:26]
King’s Rhapsody:
25. Someday my heart will awake [2:31]
26. The violin began to play [3:47]
Hilde Güden (soprano)
Aldo Protti (baritone)(CD 1, tr. 11); Giacinto Prandelli (tenor), Giovanni Inghilleri (baritone), Fernando Corena (bass), Raffaele Arie (bass), Melchiorre Luise (bass), Renata Tebaldi (soprano)(CD 1, tr. 13); Maria Reining (soprano), Sena Jurinac (soprano), Alfred Poell (baritone)(CD 2 tr. 3); The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Josef Krips (CD 1, tr. 1, 2), Karl Böhm (CD 1, tr. 3), Erich Kleiber (CD 1, tr. 4, 5; CD 2 tr. 3), Clemens Krauss (CD 1, tr. 6), Alberto Erede (CD 1, tr. 7, 8); Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Alberto Erede (CD 1, tr. 9-13, CD 2, tr. 1, 2); Friedrich Gulda (piano) (CD 2, tr. 4-16); Stanley Black and his Chorus and Orchestra (CD 2, tr. 17-26)
rec. September 1952 (CD 1, tr. 1-3, 6), June 1955 (CD 1, tr. 4, 5), May 1952 (CD 1, tr. 7, 8), July 1954 (CD 1, tr. 9-12; CD 2, tr. 1, 2), July 1951 (CD 1, tr. 13), June 1954 (CD 2, tr. 3), September 1956 (CD 2, tr. 4-16), November 1957 (CD 2, tr. 17-26). ADD

The Viennese soprano Hilde Güden (1917–1988) was one of the loveliest lyric singers during the post-war years, even before that, since she made her debut in an operetta at the Volksoper in 1938 and sang her first operatic role, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro in Zürich, the following year. It was however after she became a member of the Vienna State Opera that she rose to fame. She made recordings as early as 1942 and on Preiser recordings made between 1942 and 1951 have been available (I couldn’t find the disc in the present catalogue), so this 2 CD set hooks on where the Preiser stopped.

Hilde Güden was a versatile singer within her Fach, singing Lieder, operetta and other light music but it was in opera that she first and foremost made her mark, especially as a Mozart and Richard Strauss singer. They are also the dominating composers on this set. In connection with the Mozart year 1956 she took part in complete recordings for Decca of Le nozze di Figaro (Erich Kleiber), Don Giovanni (Josef Krips) and Die Zauberflöte (Karl Böhm). Two arias from the Kleiber Figaro are included here but the Don Giovanni arias (with Krips) and Pamina’s aria from Zauberflöte (with Böhm) don’t seem to be from the complete sets, since they were recorded several years earlier, if the information in the booklet is correct. A highlights LP from Figaro and an EP from Zauberflöte were early favourites in my record collection and it’s nice to have them here, though I miss the stereo sound in Figaro.

I used the word ‘lovely’ in the first sentence of the review and I can’t think of a better word to characterize Hilde Güden’s singing. Her Zerlina is pure-toned and she sings the arias simply and unaffectedly to depict the innocent peasant girl. Pamina’s aria is restrained with wonderful pianissimo singing but very slow, and Susanna is glittering. Later in her career she sang the Countess and I remember a TV broadcast of Le nozze di Figaro from Salzburg in the mid-1960s where she was partnered by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s overbearing Count Almaviva. The rest of the Mozart arias are just as lovely and Exsultate, jubilate is technically assured.

But Hilde Güden was also splendid in the Italian repertoire, which is demonstrated here in the fluent rendering of Violetta’s act I aria and a superb Caro nome from Rigoletto, preceded by the recitative Gualtier Maldé though the header doesn’t say so. This is from the complete Decca recording, from which we also get the Gilda-Rigoletto scene that concludes act 2. Here we meet Aldo Protti, big-voiced but particularly subtle. He was a reliable and honest singer, however, not indulging in excessive histrionics and Si vendetta is powerful and dramatic. This scene also starts a bit earlier than the track-list says, at Parla, siam soli. Güden is a vulnerable Gilda and in the aria from Falstaff an ethereal Nanetta. She also sings a lovely Musetta, warmer than most and in the final ensemble of the act she is joined by some of the leading Italian singers of the day.

Her Liù is enchanting and as Sophie in the final scene from Der Rosenkavalier she is again among the loveliest on any recording. This Kleiber conducted set is by the way one of the truly great recordings of the opera, though it has tended to be overshadowed by the Karajan set that arrived two years later and it was later also issued in stereo, which more or less ruled out the Kleiber recording. Maria Reining is a superb Marschallin and Sena Jurinac’s Octavian has few competitors. A decade after this complete set Güden was Sophie once again on a highlights disc conducted by Silvio Varviso with Regine Crespin as Marschallin and Elisabeth Söderström as Octavian. It’s a pity they didn’t record it complete since those three sopranos are truly great in their roles.

There is more Strauss in a baker’s dozen of songs, not all the obvious ones but several songs from Opus 68 and 69 composed in 1918. Hilde Güden was deeply admired by the composer and hearing these recordings it is easy to understand why. Her light unforced singing is a pleasure from beginning to end within her lyrical scope she is suitably expressive with exquisite shadings and she changes vocal colours when needed, notably in Schlechtes Wetter. Her inward and beautiful version of Freundliche Vision is arguably the best thing here but there is so much to admire all through the programme and there is a special bonus to have the self-willed but brilliant Friedrich Gulda at the piano. In this case he subordinates himself to the singer and avoids all eccentricities.

In a lighter vein Hilde Güden offers delectable readings of songs by Noel Coward and Ivor Novello. She has a light touch and doesn’t sound unduly operatic but adds some delicious decorations. The accompaniments by Stanley Black’s unabashedly sweet toned strings is a pleasure to listen to and the arrangements are mostly less soupy than Mantovani’s used to be. In this 1957 recital there are however some signs of aging in her voice. It is still pure but there is some widening of the vibrato, though not so much as to mar the enjoyment of the songs.

With a total playing time of more than 2˝ hours this is an excellent tribute to one of the loveliest sopranos of the post-war era.


Göran Forsling


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