Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Excerpts
Friedrich Schorr - Hans Sachs
Elfriede Marherr-Wagner – Eva
Robert Hutt – Walther
Leo Schützendorff – Beckmesser
Emanuel List – Pogner
Karl Jöken – David
Lydia Kindermann – Magdalene
Fritz Wolff*– Walther
Eduard Kandl* – Beckmesser
Berlin State Opera Orchestra and Chorus/LeoBlech
rec. during performances of 29 April* and 22 May 1928, Theater unter der Linden, Berlin.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 065 [79:50]
Made only three years after the introduction of electrical technology in 1925, these Berlin recordings are obviously of historical interest; those made on 22 May were made specifically to mark Wagner’s 115th birthday. The emphasis was deliberately upon excerpts not likely to be recorded as single disc releases; hence there is more than you might expect of ensembles and less of the most familiar solo music. The overriding motivation was to preserve more of Friedrich Schorr’s famous Hans Sachs.
That seems evident from the quality of his co-singers, none of whom is really his equal. Aged forty here, he demonstrates that his clear, bright, strong bass-baritone is at its zenith. He had exceptional steadiness and evenness of tone, superb breath control and an empathy with the character of Hans Sachs honed by long stage experience. His exact coeval, Emanuel List, doesn’t seem to be in such good voice as we hear later in his famous 1935 recording of Act I of “Die Walküre” under Bruno Walter with Melchior and Lotte Lehmann. Here he sounds positively rocky and completely ducks his top F in Pogner’s Act 1 solo, “Das schöne Fest”. Neither the squawky Ewa nor either of the two humdrum Walthers is particularly grateful on the ear; the David is the usual bleaty comprimario tenor all too common in this role and the Magdalene is wobbly. The Beckmesser is adequate. Thus, ultimately, the main interest lies in hearing Schorr’s interaction with them and Leo Blech’s natural, flowing direction from the podium. By far the longest continuous scene here, made from joining five masters, is the twenty minutes of Band 5, beginning with Sachs’ cobbling song, “Jerum! Jerum!”. This gives a good idea of the high quality of ensemble at those performances, although I think Schorr sings even better in the “Jerum! Jerum!” of the otherwise unpublished bonus track 11 from the previous month. However, the sound in those last two tracks has even more hiss and reverberance than the recording made in May.
Expert sound restoration engineer Mark Obert-Thorn has clearly done his best with these venerable recordings but they are something of a trial to listen to and can be recommended only to the hardened historical recordings veteran. The miracle is that live performances over eighty years old may be heard at all.
Schorr’s clear, bright, strong bass-baritone at its zenith.
- Hilf Gott! Will ich denn Schuster sehn [8:11]
- Das schöne Fest, Johannistag [4:25]
- Johannistag! Johannistag! [3:07]
- Hab ich heut Sindstund? [4:37]
- Jerum! Jerum! [19:25]
- Gleich, Meister! Hier! [7:13]
- Grüss Gott, mein Evchen! [11:17]
- [Sankt Krispin] lobt ihn! [4:16]
- Silentium! Silentium! [4:03]
- Verachtet mir die Meister nicht [6:18]
- Unpublished - Jerum! Jerum!* [3:16]
- Unpublished - Sieh, Evchen !Dacht ich’s doch, wo sie blieb!* [3:16]