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Marko Rothmüller
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Così fan tutte; Drama giocoso in two acts K.588 - Donne mie, la fate a tanti (1789-90) [3:02]
Die Zauberflöte K 620 -Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen (1791) [4:25]
Richard WAGNER (1813-83)
Tannhäuser - Blick' ich umher in diesem edlen Kreise (1845) [4:29]
Tannhäuser - Wie Todesahnung Dämm'rung deckt die Lande (1845) [4:45]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Rigoletto - Operatic melodramma in three acts - Pari siamo (1851) [4:11]
Rigoletto - Cortigiani vil razza dannata [4:30]
Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948)
Andrea Chénier - Nemico della patria (1896) [4:35]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Tosca - Tre sbirri, una carrozza (1900) [3:52]
Tosca - Gia! mi dicon venal (1900) [3:40] *
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
An die Leier (D. 737 Nr.56, 2) [4:25]
Erlkönig (D. 328 Nr.1) [4:15]
Rastlose Liebe (D. 138  Nr.5, 1) [1:33]
Sei mir gegrüsst (D. 741 Nr.20, 1) [4:20]
Du bist die Ruh (D. 776 Nr.59, 3) [4:22]
Die Stadt (D. 957, 11) [3:00]
Der Doppelgänger (D. 957, 13) [4:45]
Aufenthalt (D. 957,11) [3:31]
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Wiegenlied [4:54]
Ständchen [4:44]
Marko Rothmüller (baritone)
Franca Sacchi (soprano) *
Philharmonia Orchestra/James Robertson (Mozart)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Alberto Erede (Wagner, Verdi)
Orchestra/Alberto Erede (Puccini)
Suzanne Gyr (piano)
rec. 1943-50
PREISER 89705 [77:30]


Experience Classicsonline

Though none of these 1943-50 sides is new to the CD discography they make for good programming in Preiser’s intelligently ordered selection. Rothmüller was apt to be taken for granted in his day and he still seems to be rather under-estimated even now. Maybe the lack of obvious charisma or of histrionic declamation saw to that. But his was the kind of voice that served music with great honesty and simplicity. It was a light baritone, even of production and even throughout the scale. It was well supported and rose effortlessly, though there was nothing florid about his singing. It was eminently musical, thoroughly sane, with fine diction, and if that sounds just a touch dull, well, let me add that it wasn’t at all.

His Mozart, with the now forgotten James Robertson conducting the Philharmonia in 1950, is elegant and fluent, rhythmically buoyant. True there was never too much sheer electricity in his Magic Flute but maybe the actual weight of the voice counts against him here. What’s not really in doubt is the sheer elegance of his legato. His Wagner is shaped with care, with considerable attention being paid to the paragraphal curve of the line and to an acute verbal awareness. This regard for textual matters is typical of him – unforced, unmannered, expressive within limits. And as he shows in the second of the two extracts from Tannhäuser this is conveyed with a winning simplicity and a rapt directness that doesn’t exclude an interiorised theatrical impersonation. It’s the art that hides art – a subtlety that he frequently exudes.

His Pari siamo shows something of the vocal heft he could summon when required but the second Rigoletto extract whilst sensitively done is arguably rather undernourished. His singing of Schubert doesn’t subject the texts the kind of scrutiny that Fischer-Dieskau did nor does it begin to match the histrionic impersonations of, say, Ludwig Suthaus  – whom I mention because Preiser has a live Moscow Schubert recital by him on their books. Rothmüller prefers a more equable middle-way, elegant, refined, synchronising the three voices in Erlkönig where others can tend to exaggerate them. His Schubert then is predicated on strong musical values, care for the text and expression, subtle shifting vocal weight and shading. But he can reach deep down as well – try the stark Der Doppelgänger. To end we have a couple of lovely Mussorgsky songs in one of which, ‘Germanned’ to Wiegenlied, he gently croons a child to sleep.

The fine transfers complement an intelligent selection of sides. This disc and his Winterreise, which is on Symposium 1098/99, give a penetrating insight into the art of this fine and important baritone.

Jonathan Woolf



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