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Lotte Lehmann (soprano): Acoustic Recordings 1914-1926
No texts
MARSTON 54006-2 [4 CDs: 316:29]

Lotte Lehmann’s career stretched over four decades, from 1910 to 1950. Renowned for her German operatic roles and her superior lieder singing the acoustically-recorded examples preserved in this four CD set reveal a singer of wider repertoire. There is Mozart, d’Albert and Weber as well as a raft of arias from French operas and a rich complement of her Italian repertoire. In addition to these riches - which also include rare discs of Suor Angelica and Korngold with Tauber - there is, as an appendix, a selection of electrically recorded operatic and lieder discs culled from the Odeon label and recorded between 1927 and 1932.

Things begin with an exceptionally rare 1914 Lohengrin coupling on Pathé Frères which finds Lehmann (1888-1976) a fully-formed artist, surprisingly light in timbre at this stage. Her first sequence of discs for DG/Polydor in October 1917 was devoted to Wagner and also Gounod’s Faust. Allmächt’ge Jungfrau from Tannhäuser reveals several salient features of her art at this early stage: firstly, technical excellence; second, a sure sense of characterisation; third, an immediacy in the studio which was not often the preserve of German sopranos of the time; fourth, a theatrical believability; and fifth, an inwardness of expression that is both compelling and transcends such technical limitations as exist in the recording of the time. She proves superior to Michael Bohnen, her bluff bass in the Mastersingers extract but sounds to me to be too distant from the recording horn in the Faust Alerte! Alerte! extract (sung in German, of course) with Bohnen and tenor Robert Hutt who were standing, presumably, in front of her.

One of the recurring features of a comprehensive set such as this – these are her complete acoustic sides – is how many times artists re-recorded items, especially if they recorded for multiple companies. She recorded Mi chiamano Mimì five times, for example, during her career and whilst they weren’t all acoustically done you’ll find numerous examples of re-recording, sometimes with slightly different excisions, throughout the course of these four discs. It’s rare to find any Russian music in her repertoire so the 1918 Letter Scene from Eugen Onegin is of some rarity value. She sings the appoggiaturas in her Marriage of Figaro aria, singing slowly, and taking a few snatched breaths.

Puccini is known to have attended her Vienna premiere production of Suor Angelica and to have admired her singing, which is indeed beautiful in the two 1920 extracts preserved. There’s no trace of stiffness in her warmly textured performance. She was teamed with Heinrich Schlusnus – luxury casting – in two Mozart arias (Figaro, Magic Flute) though they were saddled with a treacly orchestral accompaniment that not even Bruno Seidler-Winkler can quell. The Don Giovanni Là ci darem la mano is better in this respect and Schlusnus is wonderfully suave. The sessions in October 1920 saw an expansion in her recorded repertoire with DG confident enough to try her in Goetz, Weber, Lortzing, Nicolai and d’Albert – the last-named from Die Toten Augen - and the following year they recorded her in two Strauss lieder. Oddly the orchestrally-accompanied Cäcilie and Morgen don’t show her at her best. The latter in particular lacks repose.

Her late acoustics in 1924 include further examples of her Italian repertoire with Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Manon Lescaut prominent. Only on a few occasions do the German-language translations obtrude on the vocal line; the singing remains deeply impressive. It’s especially pleasing to hear the Korngold duet Glück, das mir verlieb with Tauber, conducted by none other than Georg Szell in April 1924. There are also two published takes of the aria Der Erste, der lieb’ mich gelehrt. Amidst the splendour of her continuing exploration of the major operatic works in her repertoire space was found for a charming, light-hearted coupling of Stille Nacht and the traditional O du fröhliche.

At a time when other major companies had already moved to microphone recording Odeon was still ploughing on with the recording horn. But they did at least record Lehmann in her first song cycle, the Rosenlieder of Philipp zu Eulenberg, friend of the Kaiser. Some of these light effusions even have the assistance of the ubiquitous fiddler Dajos Béla. The selection of electric Odeons start in February 1927 and end in 1932 though they’re not sequenced chronologically but in terms of repertoire. These resplendent discs are much better known than many of the more intractable acoustics and include her Turandot, of which she gave the Viennese premiere in 1926.

Ward Marston’s restorations are outstanding, once again, and the profusely illustrated 55-page booklet contains excellent essays by Daniel Jacobson and Michael Aspinall and a brief reminiscence by André Tubeuf.

Jonathan Woolf

Track-listing
CD 1 (79:51)
Pathé Frères, Berlin, January 1914
with studio orchestra, with unidentified conductor
LOHENGRIN: Einsam in trüben Tagen (Wagner) 3:29
(55978) 35cm center-start disc 5844 [Cylinder to disc transfer number RA 1110]
LOHENGRIN: Euch Lüften, die mein Klagen (Wagner) 3:35
(55979) 35cm center-start disc 5844 [Cylinder to disc transfer number RA 1008]
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, October 1917
with studio orchestra, conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler
TANNHÄUSER: Dich, teure Halle, grüß' ich wieder (Wagner) 3:39
(1101m) 76353 [043294]
TANNHÄUSER: Allmächt'ge Jungfrau (Wagner) 3:56
(1102m) 76354 [043295]
LOHENGRIN: Du Ärmste kannst wohl nie ermessen (Wagner) 4:08
(1103m) 76355 [043296]
DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG: Gut'n Abend Meister! ...
Doch starb Eure Frau (Wagner) 8:40
with Michael Bohnen, bass
(1107m) 76357 [044299]/ (1108m) 76364 [044306]
FAUST: Il était un roi de Thulé (Es war ein König in
Thule) (Gounod) 3:56
(1109m) 76368 [043309]
FAUST: Il m'aime (Er liebt mich) (Gounod) 2:31
(19037L) 74607 [2-43540]
FAUST: Alerte! alerte! (Auf, eilet! Auf, eilet!) (Gounod) 2:38
with Robert Hutt, tenor and Michael Bohnen, bass
(19038L) 74596 [3-44159]
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, September 1918
with studio orchestra, conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler
(Within this session, we have altered the matrix order sequence for musical continuity.)
LA BOHÈME: Mi chiamano Mimì (Man nennt mich jetzt
Mimi) (Puccini) 4:18
(1200m) 76402 [043338]
MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Spira sul mare e sulla terra (Über das Meer
und alle Lande) [Entrance of Butterfly] (Puccini) 2:51
(19184L) 74604 [2-43529]
MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Piangi? Perché? ... Un bel dì vedremo (Weh'
mir, du weinst! ... Eines Tages sehen wir) (Puccini) 4:09
(1244m) 76411 [043355]
EUGEN ONEGIN: Kto ti: moi angel li khranitel (Sag', bist als
Schutzgeist du gesendet) [Letter Scene] (Tchaikovsky) 3:38
(12211/2m) 76369 [043310]
Sung in D-flat
MIGNON: Elle est là, près de lui (Dort bei ihm ist sie jetz) (Thomas) 4:00
(1228m) 76413 [043362]
CARMEN: Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante (Ich sprach, dass ich
furchtlos mich fühle) (Bizet) 4:17
(1221m) 76478 [B 24073]
LE NOZZE DE FIGARO: Porgi, amor qualche ristoro (Heil'ge Quelle
reiner Triebe) (Mozart) 3:56
(1225m) 76414 [043363]
LE NOZZE DE FIGARO: Deh vieni, non tardar (O säume länger
nicht) (Mozart) 3:54
(1226m) 76477 [043333]
DER FREISCHÜTZ: Wie nahte mir der Schlummer, bevor ich ihn
gesehn? ... Alles pflegt schon längst der Ruh' (Weber) 8:34
(1229m) 76482 [B 24088]/(1106m) 76356 [043297]
(Both sides of this aria were originally recorded during Lehmann's first Deutsche
Grammophon session as matrices 1105m and 1106m. The first side was either rejected
as unsuitable or it was damaged in processing. Part one of the aria was recorded again
during her second session as matrix 1229m. The original recording of side two on matrix
1106m was released along with the re-recording of side one.)

CD 2 (78:53)
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, September 1918
(continued)
MANON: Obéissons quand leur voix appelle ... Profitons bien de la
jeunesse (Folget dem Ruf, so lieblich zu hören ... Nützet die
schönen, jungen Tage) [Gavotte] (Massenet) 2:58
(191851/2L) 74598 [2-43524]
DIE WALKÜRE: Du bist der Lenz (Wagner) 2:18
(19186L) 74597 [2-43524]
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, September 1920
with studio orchestra, conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler
SUOR ANGELICA: Senza mamma, o bimbo, tu sei morto (Ohne
Mutter bist du, Kind, gestorben) (Puccini) 4:10
(150ap) 76405 [043346]
SUOR ANGELICA: Amici fiori che nel picco seno (O Blumen, die ihr
Gift im Kelch verschliesset) (Puccini) 3:52
(151ap) 76406 [043347]
LE NOZZE DE FIGARO: Crudel! Perchè finora farmi languir così?
(So lang' hab' ich geschmachtet) (Mozart) 3:06
with Heinrich Schlusnus, baritone
(152ap) 76412 [044328]
DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE: Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (Mozart) 3:17
with Heinrich Schlusnus, baritone
(153ap) 76415 [044330]
MIGNON: Légères hirondelles, oiseaux bénis de Dieu (Ihr
Schwalben in den Lüften) (Thomas) 3:34
with Heinrich Schlusnus, baritone
(154ap) 76409 [044326]
DON GIOVANNI: Là ci darem la mano (Reich' mir die Hand, mein
Leben) (Mozart) 3:06
with Heinrich Schlusnus, baritone
(155ap) 76410 [044327]
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, October 1920
with studio orchestra, conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler
OBERON: Ozean, du Ungeheuer (Weber) 7:51
(1377m) 76455 [B 24036]/(1378m ) 76456 [B 24037]
DER WIDERSPENSTIGEN ZÄHMUNG: Es schweige die Klage (Goetz) 4:22 (1380m) 76483 [B 24089]
DIE LUSTIGEN WEIBER VON WINDSOR: Nun eilt herbei ...
Hahahaha!-Er wird mir glauben! (Nicolai) 6:20
(1381m) 76421 [B 24011]/(1382m) 76422 [B 24012]
UNDINE: So wisse, dass in allen Elementen es Wesen gibt (Lortzing) 7:00
(1383m) 76484 [B 24090]/(1384m) 76485 [B 24091]
DIE TOTEN AUGEN: Psyche wandelt durch Säulenhallen (d'Albert) 2:33
(19259L) 74608 [B 4000]
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, June 1921
with studio orchestra, conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler
DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG: O Sachs! Mein
Freund! (Wagner) 2:24
(416as) 76486 [B 24092]
DIE WALKÜRE: Der Männer Sippe (Wagner) 3:59
(4171/2as) 76487 [B 24093]
DER FREISCHÜTZ: Und ob die Wolke (Weber) 4:22
(418as) 76488 [B 24094]
LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN: Elle a fui, la tourterelle. Ah! souvenir
trop doux! (Sie entfloh, die Taube, so minnig. O grausames
Geschick!) (Offenbach) 3:53
(419as) 76489 [B 24095]
Cäcilie, Op. 27, No. 2 (R. Strauss) 2:11
(420as) 76454 [B 24029]
Morgen, Op. 27, No. 4 (R. Strauss) 3:40
(42as) 76490 [B 24096]
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, September 1921
with studio orchestra, conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler
Der Spielmann (Hildach) 3:56
(530as) 76453 [B 24028]

CD 3 (78:45)
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft/Polydor, Berlin, September 1921
(continued)
LA JUIVE: Il va venir (Er kommt zurück) (Halévy) 3:53
(531as) 76464 [B 24045]
LE NOZZE DE FIGARO: Voi, che sapete che cosa è amor (Ihr, die ihr
Triebe des Herzens kennt) (Mozart) 3:11
(1121ar) 74615 [B 4010]
Odeon, Berlin, 13 February 1924
with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Carl Besl
MANON: Obéissons quand leur voix appelle ... Profitons bien de la
jeunesse (Folget dem Ruf, so lieblich zu hören ... Nützet die
schönen, jungen Tage) [Gavotte] (Massenet) 3:06
(xxB 6945) Lxx 80934
TOSCA: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore (Nur der Schönheit weiht' ich
mein Leben) (Puccini) 3:06
(xxB 6946) Lxx 80935
LA BOHÈME: Mi chiamano Mimì (Man nennt mich Mimi) (Puccini) 4:22
(xxB 6947) Lxx 80933
MANON LESCAUT: L'ho abbandonato ... In quelle trine morbide
(Hab' ihn verlassen ... Ach, in den kalten Räumen hier) (Puccini) 2:58
(xxB 6948) Lxx 80936
MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Un bel dì vedremo (Eines Tages seh'n
wir) (Puccini) 4:08
(xxB 6949) Lxx 80937
Odeon, Berlin, 18 February 1924
with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Carl Besl
MANON: Allons! Il le faut! Pour lui-même! ... Adieu, notre petite
table ('s ist für ihn! ... Leb' wohl, mein liebes kleines
Tischchen) (Massenet) 3:44
(xxB 6952) Lxx 80938
TANNHÄUSER: Dich, teure Halle, grüß' ich wieder (Wagner) 3:12
(xxB 6953) Lxx 80939
DIE WALKÜRE: Du bist der Lenz (Wagner) 2:06
(xxB 6954) Lxx 80940
Odeon, Berlin, 24 March 1924
with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Georg Szell
TANNHÄUSER: Allmächt'ge Jungfrau (Wagner) 4:12
(xxB 6972) Lxx 80947
OTELLO: Piangea cantando nell'erma landa (Sie saß mit Leide auf
öder Heide) [Willow Song] (Verdi) 4:29
(xxB 6973) Lxx 80955
LOHENGRIN: Euch Lüften, die mein Klagen (Wagner) 3:37
(xxB 6974) Lxx 80979
Odeon, Berlin, 17 April 1924
with members of Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Georg Szell
DIE TOTE STADT: Glück, das mir verblieb (Korngold) 4:14
with Richard Tauber, tenor
(xxB 6993-1) Lxx 80944
DIE TOTE STADT: Der Erste, der Lieb' mich gelehrt (Korngold) 3:10
(xxB 6994-1) Lxx 80945
DIE TOTE STADT: Der Erste, der Lieb' mich gelehrt (Korngold) 2:54
(xxB 6994-2) Lxx 80945
Odeon, Berlin, 17 October 1925
with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert
DER FREISCHÜTZ: Wie nahte mir der Schlummer (Weber) 4:09
(xxB 7239) Lxx 81100
DER FREISCHÜTZ: Alles pflegt schon längst der Ruh' ... Leise, leise,
fromme Weise (Weber) 3:49
(xxB 7240-1) Lxx 81101
DER FREISCHÜTZ: Alles pflegt schon längst der Ruh' ... Leise, leise,
fromme Weise (Weber) 3:44
(xxB 7240-2) Lxx 81101
DIE MEISTERSINGER: O Sachs! Mein Freund! (Wagner) 2:39
(xxB 7241) O-9518
LOHENGRIN: Einsam in trüben Tagen (Wagner) 4:13
(xxB 7243) O-9518
DER ROSENKAVALIER: Kann mich auch an ein Mädel erinnern (R.
Strauss) 3:46
(xxB 7244) Lxx 81103

CD 4 (79:00)
Odeon, Berlin, 22 October 1925
with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert
Sung in E-flat
MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Ah! Quanto cielo! ... Ancora un passo or via
(Oh! Weiter Himmel! ... Bald sind wir auf der Höhe) [Entrance of
Butterfly] (Puccini) 2:40
with female chorus
(xxB 7251-1) Lxx 81102
MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Ah! Quanto cielo! ... Ancora un passo or via
(Oh! Weiter Himmel! ... Bald sind wir auf der Höhe) [Entrance of
Butterfly] (Puccini) 2:38
with female chorus
(xxB 7251-2) Lxx 81102
FAUST: Je voudrais bien savoir ... Il était un roi de Thulé (Ich gäb'
was drum ... Es war ein könig in Thule) (Gounod) 4:27
(xxB 7252) Lxx 80998
Stille Nacht (Gruber) 4:21
(xxB 7253) Rxx 80600
O du fröhliche (Traditional) 3:17
(xxB 7254-2) Rxx 80601

Odeon, Berlin, 5 August 1926
with Mischa Spoliansky, piano
Monatsrose (zu Eulenburg) 1:47
with Dajos Béla, violin
(xxB 7477) O-8703
Wilde Rose (zu Eulenburg) 2:34
with Dajos Béla, violin
(xxB 7477) O-8703
Weiße und rote Rose (zu Eulenburg) 2:57
(xxB 7478) O-8703
Rankende Rose (zu Eulenburg) 2:03
(xxB 7479) O-8704
Seerose (zu Eulenburg) 2:25
(xxB 7479) O-8704
A selection of Lotte Lehmann's electrical Odeon recordings
1927-1932
TURANDOT: In questa reggia, or son mill'anni e mille (In diesem
Schloß, vor vielen tausend Jahren) (Puccini) 4:04
16 February 1927; (xxB 7609) O-9602
TURANDOT: Del primo pianto (Die ersten Tränen) (Puccini-Alfano) 3:15
16 February 1927; (xxB 7610) O-9602
DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE: Ich ging zu ihm (Korngold) 6:59
13 March 1928; (xxB 7997-2, xxB 7998-2) O-8722
EVA: So war meine Mutter (Lehár) 3:56
3 September 1928; (xxB 8150) issued only on Parlophone R 20275
Schmerzen (Wagner) 2:40
13 June 1929; (Be 8299-2) O-4812
Träume (Wagner) 3:18
13 June 1929; (Be 8300-2) O-4812
Die Lotusblume, Op. 25, No. 7 (Schumann) 2:17
2 April 1932; (Be 9910) O-4839
An den Sonnenschein, Op. 36, No. 4 (Schumann) 1:16
2 April 1932; (Be 9911) O-4839
Marienwürmchen, Op. 79, No. 14 (Schumann) 1:38
2 April 1932; (Be 9911) O-4839
Vergebliches Ständchen, Op. 84, No. 4 (Brahms) 2:37
26 May 1931; (Be 9497) O-4829
Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29, No. 1 (R. Strauss) 2:51
13 June 1929; (Be 8303) O-4820
Ständchen, Op. 17, No. 2 (R. Strauss) 2:51
13 June 1929; (Be 8304) O-4820
An die Musik, Op. 88, No. 4, D547 (Schubert) 3:34
6 December 1927; (xxB 7873) O-8724
Languages: All tracks sung in German
Accompaniment:
CD 4: Tracks 13 and 14 with members of the Orchestra of the Berlin City Opera,
conducted by Fritz Zweig; Track 15 with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra,
conducted by Manfred Gurlitt; Track 16 with members of the Berlin State Opera
Orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert; Tracks 17 and 18 with members of the
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Frieder Weissmann; Tracks 19-21 with
Odeon Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Manfred Gurlitt; Track 22 with instrumental
trio; Tracks 23 and 24 with members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by
Frieder Weissmann; Track 25 with Odeon chamber orchestra, conducted by Manfred
Gurlitt

 

 




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