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Fritz Wunderlich - A Poet among Tenors
CD 1: German songs and arias [67:22]
CD 2: German opera and operetta by Flotow, Cornelius, J. Strauss, Jr., Millöcker, and Kienzl [47:03]
CD 3: Operetta favourites by Lehár, Fall, Kálmán, and Künnecke [76:16]
CD 4: Lyric opera roles by Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, and Puccini [75:45]
CD 5: French, Czech, and Russian Opera by Boieldieu, Thomas, Massenet, Smetana, and Tchaikovsky [74:05]
CD 6: Lieder by Schubert, Wolf, R. Strauss, Mahler, Neumeyer, Neuendorff, and Heins [67:17]
Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) with various other soloists, accompanists, orchestras and conductors. Full tracklist at end of review
Texts not included
EMI CLASSICS ICON 6295252 [6 CDs: 533:27]

Experience Classicsonline

What an attractively presented, artfully balanced and comprehensively programmed package this bargain box set is - a cornucopia of fine singing for fans of this great, lamented German tenor. If I have any complaint, it is that there is a preponderance of German operetta in the first three discs, but like Björling, Wunderlich’s silvery voice was especially apt for this art-form and he recorded a lot of it, so the inclusion of so much accurately reflects his output. If I find that Lortzing’s invention flags and that some of his melodies border on the banal, there is ample compensation in listening to the sheer beauty and commitment of Wunderlich’s delivery, while the excerpts from more celebrated operettas by the likes of Strauss, Millöcker and Lehár are absolute gems of the genre; Wunderlich and his co-singers are wholly immersed in the tradition, permitting the best possible advocacy of such delightful, insouciant music.

Yet this anthology reminds us that Wunderlich was by no means daunted or compromised by the demands of weightier music and might conceivably, as Richard Stokes’ liner notes suggest, have developed into a Wagnerian tenor had he lived. We must be content with what we have, and in his relatively short recording career Wunderlich embraced a surprisingly wide variety of genres, from medieval to modern song, from Bach to Puccini, from Lieder to Grand Opera. He had all the virtues: beautiful, unforced tone, crystalline diction; innate musicality and, above all, an ease of vocal production that permitted him to sing music normally beyond the capacity of a fundamentally lyric instrument. For instance, I have it on good authority that despite my suspicions that his amplitude of voice in his recording of “Das Lied von der Erde” had been artificially boosted by the EMI engineers, he was in fact apparently able to be heard live above Mahlerian orchestration; no wonder that some have speculated that he could ultimately have sung much heavier roles.

His voice is nothing like that of a Heldentenor such as today’s German Wunderkind, Jonas Kaufmann; comparison between them is wholly inappropriate and redundant. In timbre, talent and Fach he is much more akin to Peter Anders. In addition to his manifold talents, Wunderlich’s sunny nature and evident delight in singing were in a sense given apotheosis by the melancholy fact of his early demise just before his 36th birthday, as a result of falling down the stairs in a hunting lodge.

Working my way through these six discs, I reacquainted myself with interpretations of certain arias that I realise are classed with the very finest - despite the fact that they are mostly in German, rather than the original language, as was still the custom in the Germany of Wunderlich’s era. I know of very few accounts of Lensky’s aria as searingly plangent; few versions of “Ombra mai fu” (thankfully in Italian) so poised and noble; no recording of Tamino’s “Dies Bildnis” so elegant, refined, yet impassioned. There are surprises here, too, even for the seasoned collector: I wonder how many are familiar with those fifteenth century German songs or the charming, faux-archaic, yet still identifiably modern, little song-cycle written in 1923 by Wunderlich’s older friend, Fritz Neumeyer? Had we forgotten that he sang Smetana’s operas to perfection? Or that his Lionel in Flotow’s “Martha” is unsurpassed? They are here, at super-bargain price, to remind you. It is true that it is still hard not to wish that he had recorded Verdi and Puccini in Italian and that a certain callow restraint in his singing of Schubert, Strauss and Wolf reminds us that he had yet to mature into the complete Lieder singer, but how much pleasure that inimitable voice affords us simply as sheer sound.

The colleagues who feature in the recordings here include some of the finest, mostly German, singers of that generation: Prey, Rothenberger, Mathis, Frick and Pilar Lorengar. The recordings are clean, balanced and digitally re-mastered. I urge every lover of the tenor to buy this set; it offers nearly seven hours of one of the most beautiful, natural, refined and unforced tenor voices we have ever heard.

Ralph Moore

CD 1:
Heinrich FINCK (1444/5?-1527)
1 O schönes Weib [1:55]
Heinrich ISAAC (c. 1450-1517)
2 Mein Freud allein [3:11]
Adam KRIEGER (1634-1666)
3 Amanda, darf man dich wohl küssen (Aria aus "Liederbuch des Studenten Clodius")
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cantata BWV208 “Was mir behagt ist nur die muntre Jagd” [2:80]
4 Recitative: Wie, schönste Göttin? wie?
5 Aria: Willst du dich nicht mehr ergötzen?
6 Recitative: Ich liebe dich zwar noch!
7 Duet: Entzücket uns beide, ihr Strahlen der Freude
Georg Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759)
8 Ombra mai fu (Largo) (aus "Xerxes/Serse")
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) [3:10]
9 Konstanze, dich wiederzusehen (Belmonte / "Die Entführung aus dem Serail") [5:11]
10 Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (Tamino / "Die Zauberflöte")l [4:50]
Albert LORTZING (1801-51)
12 Bleiben soll ich - Aus dem Parke erklingen die lieblichen Töne (Der Wildschütz: Baron Kronthal - Baronin Freimann - Gräfin, 2.Akt) [2:55]
13 Ihr Weib? - Mein teures Weib! (Der Wildschütz: Baronin - Baron, 2.Akt) [6:37]
14 Komm, liebes Gretchen (Baron - Gretchen - Baculus / "Der Wildschütz") [4:42]
Otto NICOLAI (1810-1849)
15 Eure Tochter - Meine Tochter (Fenton - Reich /"Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor") [5:42]
17 Fenton! - Mein Mädchen (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor: Anna - Fenton, 2.Akt)
[6:11]
CD 2:
Friedrich FLOTOW (1812-1883)
1 Martha: Wie das schnattert - Ja, seit früher Kindheit Tagen Plumkett - Lyonel, 1.Akt) [5:15]
2 Martha: Warte nur, das sollst du büßen! - Mitternacht (Plumkett - Nancy - Lady - Lyonel, 2.Akt) [4:21][
3 Martha: Ach, so fromm (Lyonel, 3.Akt) [2:46]
4 Martha (Ausschnitte): Jetzt, ihr Freunde, jung und alt (Nancy - Plumkett - Lyonel - Lady - Chor, 3.Akt)
Peter CORNELIUS (1824-1874) [3:31]
5 So leb' ich noch - Vor deinem Fenster die Blumen (Der Barbier von Bagdad: Nureddin, 1.Akt)
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) [6:52]
6 Willkommen - Annina! Caramello! (Eine Nacht in Venedig: Caramello - Chor - Annina, 1.Akt) [4:45]
7 Eine Nacht in Venedig: Komm' in die Gondel (Caramello - Herzog) [2:54]
8 Eine Nacht in Venedig: Ach, wie so herrlich zu schau'n (Caramello) [3:44]
Carl MILLOECKER (1842-1899)
9 Die Welt hat das genialste Streben (Der Bettelstudent: Symon - Jan) [1:42]
10 Durch diesen Kuß sei unser Bund geweiht (Der Bettelstudent: Jan - Bronislawa, 2.Akt)
Wilhelm KIENZL (1857-1941) [4:00]
11 Selig sind, die Verfolgung leiden (Der Evangleimann: Mathias - Kinderchor, 2.Akt) [6:34]

CD 3:
Franz LEHAR (1870-1948)
1 Allein, wieder allein - Es steht ein Soldat am Wolgastrand (Der Zarewitsch: Zarewitsch, 1.Akt) [4:52]
2 Hab' nur dich allein (Der Zarewitsch: Zarewitsch - Sonja, 2.Akt) [3:52]
3 Mädel, wonniges Mädel - Komm' und mach' mich glücklich - Warum hat jeder Frühling, ach, nur einen mai (Der Zarewitsch: Zarewitsch - Sonjy) [6:15]
4 Das Land des Lächelns (Auszüge): Introduktion (Orchester) - Ich trete ins Zimmer - Immer nur lächeln (Sou-Chong) [5:43]
5 Das Land des Lächelns (Auszüge): Bei einem Tee en deux (Sou-Chong - Lisa) [1:47]
6 Von Apfelblüten einen Kranz (Das Land des Lächelns: Sou-Chong, 1.Akt) [4:30]
7 Das Land des Lächelns (Auszüge): Wer hat die Liebe uns ins Herz gesenkt (Sou-Chong - Lisa) [1:53]
8 Das Land des Lächelns (Auszüge): Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (Sou-Chong) [3:48]
9 Freunde, das Leben ist lebenswert (Giuditta: Octavio) [3:20]
Leo FALL (1873-1925)
10 Kleinen Kindern - O frag' mich nicht, mein süßer Schatz (Der fidele Bauer: Stefan, 2.Akt) [3:11]
11 Man sagt uns nach - O Rose von Stambul (Die Rose von Stambul: Achmed, 1.Akt) [3:54]
12 Ihr stillen, süßen Frau'n (Die Rose von Stambul: Achmed, 2.Akt) [2:47]
13 Sie glauben, mein Herr - Das ist das Glück nach der Mode (Die Rose von Stambul: Kondja - Achmed) [2:20]
14 Willst du an die Welt vergessen - Ein Walzerv muß es sein (Die Rose von Stambul: Achemd - Kondja, 2.Akt) [3:57]
15 Zwei Augen, die wollen mir nicht aus dem Sinn (Die Rose von Stambul: Achmed, 3.Akt) [3:50]
16 Wenn sich ein Mädchen stolz dir zeigt - O Rose von Stambul (Die Rose von Stambul: Achmed, 3.Akt)
Emmerich KALMAN (1882-1953) [2:27]
17 Gräfin Mariza (Auszüge): Wenn es Abend wird - Grüß mir mein Wien (Tassilo) [4:45]
18 Gräfin Mariza (Auszüge): Auch ich war einst ein feiner Csardáskavalier - Komm, Zigány (Tassilo) [4:40]
19 Zwei Märchenaugen (Die Zirkusprinzessin: Mister X) [3:22]
Eduard KUENNEKE (1885-1953)
20 Das Lied vom Leben des Schrenk (Die große Sünderin: Johann Georg) [4:14]

CD 4:
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
1 Welch ein graunvolles Bild - Flieh, Verräter (Fuggi, Crudele) (Don Giovanni: Donna Anna - Don Ottavio. 1.Akt) [6:57]
3 Folget der Heißgeliebten (Il mio tesoro) (Don Giovanni: Don Ottavio, 2.Akt) [4:21]
4 Der Odem der Liebe (Un aura amorosa) (Ferrando / "Così fan tutte") [4:22]
5 Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Welche Huld und welche Reize (Quanto è bella, quanto è cara) (Der Liebestrank/L'Elisir d'amore: Nemorino, 1.Akt)
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
[2:31]
7 Freundlich blick' ich (Questa o quella) (Rigoletto: Herzog, 3.Akt) [1:50]
8 O wie so trügerisch (La donna è mobile) (Rigoletto: Herzog, 3.Akt) [2:90]
11 Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
O du süßestes Mädchen (O soave fanciulla) (La Bohème, Rudolf - Mimi, 1.akt)
[3:50]
12 Lebt wohl, ihr süßen Stunden (Addio, dolce svegliare) (Mimì - Rudolf - Musette - Marcel / "La Bohème") [5:40]
13 In einem Wagen? - Ach Geliebte, nie kehrst du mir wieder (In un coupé?) (La Bohème, Rudolf - Marcel, 4.Akt) [4:33]
14 Im weiten Weltall - Ob's echte Liebe, möcht' ich mich fragen (Dovunque al mondo - Amore e grillo ...) (Pinkerton - Sharpless / "Madame Butterfly") [6:42]
15 Ja, es ward Abend - Mädchen, in deinen Augen liegt ein Zauber (Viene la sera - Bimba dagli occhi) (Madame Butterfly, Linkerton - Butterfly - Suzuki, 1.Akt) [13:14]
16 Leb wohl, mein Blütenreich (Addio, fiorito asil) (Madame Butterfly, Linkerton - Sharpless, 3.Akt) [2:80]

CD 5:
François Adrien BOIELDIEU (1775-1834)
1 Komm, o holde Dame (Viens, gentille Dame) (George Brown / "Die weiße Dame / La Dame blanche") [5:45]
2 Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896)
Leb' wohl, Mignon (Adieu Mignon, courage) (Mignon: Wilhelm Meister, 2.Akt)
[4:36]
3 Wo bin ich? - Wie strahlt das Glück auf mich herab (Où suis-je? - Je suis heureuse) (Mignon: Mignon - Wilhelm Meister, 3.Akt) [6:17]
4 Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Ich schloß die Augen (En fermant les yeux) (Des Grieux / "Manon")
[2:48]
5 Friedrich (Bedrich) SMETANA (1824-1884)
Mit der Mutter sank zu Grabe (Hans - Marie / "Die verkaufte Braut")
[6:43]
6 Komm' mein Söhnchen, auf ein Wort (Die verkaufte Braut: Kezal - Hans, 2.Akt) [7:58]
8 So find' ich dich - Mein lieber Schatz, nun aufgepaßt (Die verkaufte Braut: Hans - Marie, 3.Akt)
Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) [4:37]
10 Mein Feind! Mein Feind! Wie konnte es geschehen (Eugen Onegin: Lenski - Onegin, 2.Akt) [3:23]
11 Voll Unruh' ist mein Sehnen - Ich muß Sie sprechen (Pique Dame: Lisa - Hermann, 1.Akt) [12:37]
12 Wenn mir der Glockenschlag Gewißheit gibt (Lisa - Hermann / "Pique Dame") [8:80]

CD 6:
1 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Ständchen D.889 (Horch, horch', die Lerch' im Ätherblau)
[3:54]
2 Ihr Bild D.957 Nr.9 (ich stand in dunklen Träumen) [2:32]
Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)
3 Fußreise (Am frisch geschnitt'nen Wanderstab) [2:49]
4 Nimmersatte Liebe (So ist die Lieb') [2:16]
5 Der Musikant (Wandern lieb' ich für mein Leben) [1:47]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
6 Zueignung op.10 Nr.1 (Ja, du weißt es, liebe Seele) [1:47]
7 Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten op.19 Nr.4 [1:41]
8 Heimliche Aufforderung op.27 Nr.3 (Auf, hebe die funkelnde Schale) [3:90]
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
9 Das Lied von der Erde, 'Song of the Earth' (Hans Bethge): I. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde (ten) [8:70]
10 Das Lied von der Erde, 'Song of the Earth' (Hans Bethge): III. Von der Jugend (ten) [3:43]
11 Das Lied von der Erde, 'Song of the Earth' (Hans Bethge): V. Der Trunkene im Frühling (ten)
Fritz NEUMEYER (1900-1983) [4:39]
12 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Ein Maienlob (Text: Gedicht aus d. 17. Jh.) [1:38]
13 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Tanzlied (Text: Gedicht aus d. 17. Jh.) [0:56]
14 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Auf den anbrechenden Morgen (Text: Gedicht aus d. 17. Jh.) [2:26]
15 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Vergebliche Wacht (Text: Gedicht aus d. 17. Jh.) [3:10]
16 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Abendsegen (Text: B. Neukirch) [2:35]
17 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Auf die Liebe (Text: B. Neukirch) [1:41]
18 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Wo sind die Stunden (Text: Hoffmann von Hoffmannswaldau) [2:53]
19 Studentenlieder · 8 Gesänge für eine Singstimme und Streicher: Fast nach dem Holländischen (Text: Martin Opitz)
Adolf NEUENDORFF (1843-1897) [5:22]
20 Der Rattenfänger (Wandern, ach wandern) [4:20]
Carl HEINS (1859-1923)
21 Zwei dunkle Augen (Lied) [5:25]



 


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