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Günter Wand: The Radio Recordings
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks,
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester (now WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln),
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln,
NDR Sinfonieorchester,
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR,
Günter Wand (conductor)
rec. 1951/1992
Full details of performances at end of review
PROFIL EDITION PH13038 [20 CDs: 21.50.00]

On the Profil label this 20 CD box set titled ‘Günter Wand - The Radio Recordings’ issued in cooperation with the Bayreuth Radio company uses both studio recordings and live concerts that, as the title suggests were all intended for broadcast on the radio. From 2013 this set is not a new release; the review has been written so that MusicWeb-International has a fuller commentary on Wand’s recording legacy. Taken from the German radio company archives is around 22 hours of music and Wand conducts five orchestras the Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester (now WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln); Gürzenich-Orchester Köln; NDR Sinfonieorchester, Hamburg and Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR. There are 53 works on the set that demonstrate that Wand throughout his career was not just a specialist of the Austro-German Romantic repertoire and provides the collector with an outline of the diverse nature of the works he would typically conduct.

Born in 1912 at Elberfeld in the Rhineland of Germany Wand was over seventy before his talents became recognised internationally as a conductor of significant stature. For the majority of his career he dedicated himself to conducting in the tradition of Kapellmeister the both the Oper der Stadt Köln and Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, and also with a number of German radio orchestras relishing the amount of available rehearsal time. For example he recorded a noted cycle of Beethoven and Brahms symphonies with the NDR Sinfonieorchester, and Bruckner and Schubert cycles with the Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester.

Occasionally Wand would undertake guest engagements with European orchestras and later in his career his services were sought throughout the world. Wand made his London debut in 1951 with the London Symphony Orchestra and after conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the first time in 1982 he subsequently became its principal guest conductor and his Proms concerts with the BBC SO took on a near-legendary status. Sometimes Wand conducted in the USA making his debut there as late as 1989 then aged 77 when he famously asked for and received 11 hours of rehearsal with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Most of Wand’s finest recordings were made very late in his career, in an Indian Summer of excellence, as a regular guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Münchner Philharmoniker.

Many of Wand’s numerous early broadcast tapes were lost when they were wiped and the reels re-used. It was really only in the 1950s and early 1960s in Germany when the practice of wiping tapes ceased and broadcast recordings began being archived. This 20 volume set Günter Wand collection uses tapes from the archives of radio broadcasters such as Bayerischer Rundfunk, WDR, NDR and SWR. The recordings have been previously released on the Profil label in a series titled ‘The Günter Wand Edition’ with just one exception. Here CD 3 contains the two Stravinsky ballet suites but for some reason the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 as contained in Vol. 2 (PH04056) of ‘The Günter Wand Edition’ has been taken off.

Actually Wand’s repertoire was far wider than merely those giants of the Austro-German symphonic tradition he is firmly associated with and from early in his career he championed progressive music such as the Second Viennese School. Here on this Profil release are more typical examples of Wand’s diverse contemporary scope including works by Walter Braunfels, Charles Koechlin, György Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen, Wolfgang Fortner, Anton Webern and his long term friend Bernd Alois Zimmermann of whose works he gave several premières. Wand’s wide repertoire reduced considerably as he got older. Former Controller of BBC Radio 3 John Drummond explains in his autobiography ‘Tainted by Experience’ that by the 1980s Wand who was in his 70s as guest conductor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra only wanted to conduct Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and Bruckner. In his later years Wand’s relatively few commercial recordings involved considerable duplication of his much loved Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Bruckner. Although distinguished as a Bruckner specialist remarkably Wand had not conducted Bruckner before he reached 60 and he didn’t conduct Mahler.

Not surprising with such a large collection such as this I have a number of grumbles. In truth the Profil label in the booklet has provided most of the essential information with a few exceptions. As is often the case with box sets there are no sung texts with translations which although understandable certainly reduces the listening experience. The informative essays contained in the original individual releases have not been made available; not even on-line. My other minor gripes are: The omission of the recording locations for each work a factor that some people myself included will rather miss. Apart from one exception the liner notes do not state where these radio recordings are live concerts or studio broadcasts. Some of the recordings contain applause and others none but of course lack of applause doesn’t guarantee whether or not the performance was live. When I have seen any relevant information I have amended the complete track listing below. Generally the sound is acceptable but the quality does vary. I must point out occasional problems in the recording quality that last a few seconds which can be extremely annoying and is probably due to radio signal interference. For example in the Beethoven Mass in C major brief interference in the opening movement Kyrie (CD 13, track 1) mars an otherwise excellent performance. Worst of all on Haydn’s Symphony No. 76 the closing bars of the performance (CD 12, track 10) are covered by 6 seconds of interference that totally ruins an otherwise superb performance. Other similar glitches intrude but I haven’t noted them all of them.

Most of the performances are impressively played and recorded as opposed to those I consider below par. A number of the recordings I regard as exceptional in both sound and performance. There is the outstanding playing of the Mozart ‘HaffnerSerenade by the Bavarian orchestra that reminded me what a masterwork this is and Beethoven’s ‘CoriolanOverture is given a thrilling performance by the Cologne players. Ligeti’s Lotano for large orchestra makes a real impact and Koechlin’s Les Bandar-Log features some beautiful orchestral playing full of colour and very atmospheric with often exotic textures. Wand shows his prowess as one of the pre-eminent Bruckner conductors with a performance of distinction in Symphony No. 9. The vivacious and well sprung account of the Haydn Symphony No. 92 is one of the finest I have heard and Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for strings and brass has a robust, determined feel in this often thrilling account. American soprano Martina Arroyo is in excellent form in Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs providing a most moving performance that comes from the heart. I admire Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1 gloriously played by soloist Hermann Baumann displaying superb control throughout. Mozart’s ‘CoronationMass in C major, K317 and Schubert’s Stabat Mater, D383 both have a lovely group of soloists who perform with gratifying reverence. Soloist Robert Casadesus in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 combines with the Cologne orchestra to magnificent effect and in the Piano Concerto No. 5Emperor’ soloist Emil Giles gives a masterful performance of real spontaneity. Striking playing too from soloist Roland Greutter in J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 a performance benefiting from the best possible support from the Hamburg orchestra.

Of the disappointments I include a lacklustre Brahms Serenade No. 1 in D major and in Mozart’s concert aria ‘Bella mia fiamma’, K528 it is hard to enjoy the piercing tone and uncomfortable vibrato of soprano Edith Wiens. Another unexceptional performance is given in the Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento, K243 tarnished by uneven singing and at times it’s hard to distinguish the soloists from the orchestra.
Discoveries that I am pleased to encounter of mainly German born composers include Wolfgang Fortner’s captivating Aulodie for oboe and orchestra and also the Leipzig born composer’s dramatic Symphony for large orchestra. Bernd Alois Zimmerman’s Symphony in one movement is a highly powerful experience and Polish born Tadeusz Baird’s Dialogues for oboe and orchestra has an ethereal almost spectral quality stunningly played by soloist Lothar Faber. Walter Braunfels’ affecting Te Deum includes focused and expressive singing from soloists Leonie Rysanek and Helmut Melchert. In addition the Frankfurt born composer’s Fantastic appearances of a theme of Hector Berlioz for full orchestra, owing a lot to Richard Strauss, is a remarkable work which is shamefully neglected on concert programmes.

Appealing mainly to the specialist collector and Wand devotees this collection is a mixed bag. As one might expect there are some excellent performances together with a few mundane ones yet overall this mixture of live and studio broadcasts is both interesting and absorbing.

Michael Cookson
 
Contents
CD 01 [66.20] (Vol. 1 PH04053)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
1-8. Serenade No. 7 in D major, K250 'Haffner', K250/248b (1776) [56.45]
rec. Nuremberg Mozart Festival 5th May 1982
9. Bella mia fiamma, addio... Resta, oh cara, Recitative and aria for soprano and orchestra, K528 (1787) [9.24]
Edith Wiens (soprano)
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
rec. Nuremberg Mozart Festival 23rd May 1982
CD 02 [69.16] (Vol. 2 PH04057)
Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
1-3. Trois Petites liturgies de la Presence Divine for women’s chorus, piano, ondes Martinot, percussion and strings (1944) [28.53]
Tiny Wirzt (piano)
Monique Matagne-Cavailles (ondes Martenot)
rec. live Musica Viva concert 21st January 1966 Munich
Anton WEBERN (1883-1945)
4. Six Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6 (1910) [10.08]
rec. 5 May 1966
5. Five Pieces for orchestra, Op 10 (1911/13) [3.48]
rec. 9th February 1968
6. Cantata No. 1 for soprano, chorus and orchestra, Op. 29 (1938/39) [7.37]
Anita Westhoff (soprano)
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
rec. live Musica Viva concert 21st January 1966 Munich
Wolfgang FORTNER (1907-1987)
7. Aulodie for oboe and orchestra (1966) [18.23]
Lothar Faber (oboe)
rec. live Musica Viva concert 21st January 1966 Munich
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
CD 03 [49.34] (Contains the two Stravinsky works from Vol. 3 PH04056)
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
1-6. Pulcinella, ballet suite (1919/20, suite arranged 1922, revised 1949) [21.35]
rec. May 1981
7-13. The Firebird, suite for orchestra (1910, arranged 1945) [27.44]
rec. 26 October 1978
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
CD 04 [55.02] (Vol. 4 PH04052)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
1-3. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 (1809/10) [39.56]
Emil Gilels (piano)
rec. 13 December 1974
4. Overture: Coriolan, Op. 62 (1807) [8.26]
rec. 5 August 1976
5. Overture: Fidelio, Op. 72 (1814) [6.38]
rec. 30 August 1975
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
CD 05 [60.18] (Vol. 5 PH05005 & PH12054)
Carl ORFF (1895-1982)
1-25. Carmina Burana, scenic cantata (1935/36) [60.18]
Maria Venuti (soprano), Ulf Kenklies (tenor), Peter Binder (baritone),
Hamburger Knabenchor,
Mitglieder des Opernchores des Niedersächischen Staatstheaters Hannover,
NDR Chor,
NDR Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 1984
CD 06 [76.08] (Vol. 6 PH05006)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
1-3. Serenade in D major, K239 ‘Serenata notturna’ (1776) [12.20]
rec. May 1990
4-6. Concerto in G major (No. 1) for flute and orchestra, K313 (1778) [24.21]
rec. December 1988
Wolfgang Ritter (flute)
NDR Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
7-13. Serenade for Orchestra in D major, K320 ‘Posthorn Serenade’ (1779) [39.23]
rec. October 1978
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
CD 07 [62.29] (Vol. 7 PH05007)
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
1-3. Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op. 61 (1880) [26.58]
Ruggerio Ricci
rec. 1-5 December 1970
Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950 )
4. Les Bandar-Log, symphonic poem, Op. 176 (1939/40) from cycle of five symphonic poems The Jungle Book (1899-1940) [16.11]
rec. 2 February 1973
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
5. Overture: Roman Carnival, Op. 9 (1844) [9.08]
rec. 10 October 1967
Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842)
6. Overture: Anacréon (1803) [10.09]
rec. 10 October 1975
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
CD 08 [64.45] (Vol. 8 PH05041)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
1-6. Serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 (1857/58) [42.40]
rec. 2 October 1968
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
7-9. Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 74 (1811) [21.55]
Hermut Gießer (clarinet)
rec. 25 November 1977
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
CD 09 [72.15] (Vol. 9 PH05042)
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
1-3. Concerto for piano, winds, double bass and kettledrums (1923/24, rev. 1950) [19.29]
rec. 1985
Nikita Malakoff (piano)
Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970)
4. Symphony in one movement (1951, revised version 1953) [15.07]
rec. 1987
NDR Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
Wolfgang FORTNER (1907-1987)
5-8. Symphony for large orchestra (1947) [27.27]
rec. 1960
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
György LIGETI (1923-2006)
9. Lontano for large Orchestra (1967) [9.24]
rec. 1987
NDR Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
CD 10 [58.04] (Vol. 10 PH04058)
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
1-3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, WAB 109 (original 1894 version) [58.04]
rec. live 24th June 1979 Basilica of Ottobeuren, Austria
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Günter Wand
CD 11 [67.04] (Vol. 11 PH05043 )
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
1-9. Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento, K243 [34.17]
Margaret Marshall (soprano); Cornelia Wulkopf (alto); Adolf Tallapoosa (tenor); Karl Ridderbusch (bass);
Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
rec. 21st January 1982
10. Misera, dove son! ... Ah! Non son’io che parlo K369 [7.10]
rec. 13th June 1980
11. Bella mia fiamma, addio - Resta, o cara, K528 [9.07]
rec. 13th June 1980
Margaret Marshall (soprano)
12. Overture: Così fan tutte, K588 (1790) [4.39]
rec. 2nd October 1968
13. Overture: Die Zauberflöte, K620 (1791) [7.17]
rec. 3rd February 1968
14. Overture: Le nozze di Figaro, K492 (1786) [4.07]
rec. 13th September 1969
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
CD 12 [59.23] (Vol. 13 PH05045)
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
1-3. Keyboard Concerto D major, Hob. XVIII/11 (1780/83) [19.28]
Nikita Malakoff (piano)
NDR Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 2nd December 1985
4-6. Oboe Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIG:C1 [22.22]
Hansjörg Schellenberger (oboe)
rec. 1st November 1980
7-10. Symphony No. 76 in E flat major, Hob.I/76 [17.14]
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 10th February 1973
CD 13 [74.17] (Vol. 14 PH06001)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
1-6. Mass in C major, Op. 86 [45.43]
Margaret Marshall (soprano), Cornelia Wulkopf (alto), Adolf Dallapozza (tenor) & Karl Ridderbusch (bass)
Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
rec. 21st January 1982
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
7-12. Vesperae solennes de Dominica, K321 [28.29]
Brigitte Dürrler (soprano), Julia Hamari (alto), Werner Krenn (tenor) & Kunikazu Ohashu (bass)
Kunikazu Ohashi (organ)
WDR Rundfunkchor Köln
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 22nd November 1968
CD 14 [70.33] (Vol. 15 PH06002)
Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954)
Te Deum for soprano, tenor, chorus, large orchestra and organ, Op. 32 (1921/22) [55.10]
Leonie Rysanek (soprano)
Helmut Melchert (tenor)
Gürzenich-Chor Köln
Hermann Werner (organ)
rec. 20th December 1952
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Konzertmusik for strings and brass, ‘Bostoner Symphonie’, Op. 41 [15.10]
rec. 6th March 1979
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 6th March 1979
CD 15 [66.24] (Vol. 16 PH06005)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 [31.23]
Rudolf Firkusny (piano)
rec. 13th September 1969
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
4 Letzte Lieder (4 Last Songs) [19.01]
Martina Arroyo (soprano)
rec. 15th/16th June 1967
Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 [15.21]
Hermann Baumann (horn)
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 31st October 1975
CD 16 [65.36] (Vol. 17 PH06004)
Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954)
Fantastic Appearances of a Theme by Hector Berlioz, Op. 25 (1914/19) [41.18]
rec. 23rd December 1953
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K. 447 (1787) [13.57]
Dennis Brain (horn)
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 22nd January 1951
Tadeusz BAIRD (1928-1981)
Four Dialogues for oboe and orchestra (1964) [10.11]
Lothar Faber (oboe)
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Günter Wand
rec. live Musica Viva 9th February 1968
CD 17 [68.31] (Vol. 18 PH06003)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Mass in C major for four solo voices, chorus and orchestra, K317 ‘Coronation Mass’(1779) [26.38]
Margot Guilleaume (soprano), Margit Kobeck (contralto), Johannes Feyerabend (tenor), Ewald Kaldeweier (bass)
Kölner Rundfunkchor,
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 25 July 1952
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Stabat Mater in F minor for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, D383 (1816) [41.11]
Margot Guilleaume (soprano), Richard Holm (tenor), Gerhard Gröschel (bass)
Kölner Rundfunkchor,
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln,
rec. 17th October 1953
CD 18 [68.40] (Vol. 19 PH06006)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 (1805/06) [29.59]
Robert Casadesus (piano)
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
rec. 6th March 1970
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 92 in G major, ‘The Oxford’, Hob: I:92 (1789) [24.24]
rec. 20th April 1967
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 (c. 1730) [13.58]
Roland Greutter (violin)
NDR Sinfonieorchester
rec. 15th-17th March 1992
CD 19 [52.39] (Vol. 12 PH05044)
Wolfgang FORTNER (1907-1987)
Act 1, Bluthochzeit (Blood Wedding) (1957) [52.39]
CD 20 [63.35] (Vol. 12 PH05044)
Act 2, Bluthochzeit (Blood Wedding) (1957) [63.35]
Natalie Hinsch-Grondahl (mezzo), Anny Schlemm (soprano), Irmgard Gerz (contralto), Emmy Lisken (contralto), Hildegunt Walther (mezzo), Johanna Koch-Bauer (speaker), Anita Westhoff (soprano), Sylvia Maurick (contralto), Ruth Hoen (contralto), Ernst Grathwol (baritone), Wilhelm Otto (speaker), Alexander Schoedler (speaker), Gerhard Nathge (tenor), Helga Jenkel (chanson part), Ernst Hammerstaedt (tenor), Herbert Bartel (speaker), Martin Häusler (speaker), Karl Schiebener (speaker),
Chor der Oper der Stadt Köln/Hans Keller (chorusmaster)
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln/Günter Wand
rec. 16th July 1957

 

 




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