Gustav Neidlinger (bass-baritone)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
La Finta Giardiniera - forza di martelli. Sung in German as 'Der Hammer formt das Eisen' K196 (1775) [3:08]
Tonstudio orchester Stuttgart/Rolf Reinhardt, rec 1950
La Finta Giardiniera - on un vezzo all'Italiana. Sung in German as 'In der welschen Art und Weise' K196 (1775) [3:04]
Tonstudio orchester Stuttgart/Rolf Reinhardt, rec. 1950
Don Giovanni - Ho capito, signor sì! K527 (1787) [1:39]
Sinfonieorchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks Hamburg/Leopold Ludwig, rec.1951
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901):
La Forza del Destino (1862) - Holà, Holà, Holà! Sung in German as 'Ho! Ho! Heissajuchheia!' [3:16]
Sinfonieorchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks Hamburg/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, rec. 1952
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868) - Was euch zum Leide Richt, und Schnur [2:30]
With Rudolf Schock
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe, rec. 1956
Das Rheingold (1869) - Da, Vetter, sitze du fest! [14:38]
with Erich Witte (Loge), Hans Hotter (Wotan)
Orchestra of the Bayreuth Feestspiele/Clemens Krauss, rec. 1953
Siegfried (1876) - In Wald und Nacht [17:38]
with Hans Hotter (Wanderer), Josef Greindl (Fafner)
Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festspiele/Clemens Krauss, rec. 1953
Götterdämmerung (1876) - Schläfst du, Hagen, mein Sohn? [8:19]
with Josef Greindl (Hagen)
Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festspiele/Hans Knappertsbusch, rec. 1957
Die Walküre (1850) - Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind! [13:50]
Orchestra of the German State Opera, Berlin/Wilhelm Schüchter, rec. 1958
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Der Rosenkavalier (1911) - Da lieg ich [10:37]
with Sieglinde Wagner (Oktavian)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Schüchter, rec. 1955
Gustav Neidlinger (bass-baritone) with accompanists as above
PREISER 93475 [79:34]
When I say that this is an uneven and unequal disc, I mean no disrespect to its object, the eminent Gustav Neidlinger, who indeed sings with such authority, command, and convincing assurance. Rather it relates to the selection of tracks, which brings with it both novelty and a small problem. It’s neither Mozart nor Neidlinger’s fault that Ho capito, Signor si! lasts only 100 seconds or that the sum total of the composer’s music here, in stopwatch timings, amounts to eight minutes. The sole example of his Verdi lasts three minutes, which means that there are large extracts from Wagner and from Strauss’s Rosenkavalier. I suppose the earlier tracks should be seen in terms of the bass-baritone’s stylistic versatility and his ability to lighten or soften his tone and weight of voice. The Wagner chunks represent, in this context, the apotheosis of his art. But it is notable how well and sensitively he does lighten the voice for the two arias from La Finta Giardiniera. Though the recording is rather dead - it was recorded for Period in 1950 - the voice is thankfully well captured, and one can admire the sense of characterisation he distils in these two brief extracts. There is a greater sense of ‘spread’ in the recording, live in Hamburg in the Don Giovanni aria conducted by Leopold Ludwig. The Verdi comes from similarly live circumstances a year later in Hamburg, though here the conductor is the expert Schmidt-Isserstedt.
It was Max Lorenz who encouraged the already 39 year old year Neidlinger to chance his arm with the baritone repertory, as he’d been singing small bass roles up to that point. His fourteen years at the Hamburg Staatsoper were followed by 27 years in Stuttgart and, perhaps his greatest impression, twenty seasons at Bayreuth. His retirement in 1977 ended a 46 year career, and he died in 1991 at the age of 81. The quality of his voice, the powerful impression he made theatrically, can be best experienced in the Wagner extracts. The Die Walküre extract is from an Electrola LP, whilst the Meistersinger, with Rudolf Schock, was recorded by the same company in 1956. The other three long extracts are from Bayreuth from 1953 and 1957. With elite colleagues and conductors these extensive examples of his musicianship - the Siegfried with Hotter and Greindl for example lasts nearly eighteen minutes - offer plenty of richly musical reward but also lead one to wonder why he never became as well known as he clearly deserved. Fortunately the live performances supplement his uneven studio legacy. This particular disc’s perhaps necessarily uneven pleasures provide a measure of justice.
Jonathan Woolf  

This disc’s necessarily uneven pleasures provide a measure of justice.