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Lotte Schöne (soprano)
The Complete Lotte Schöne
rec. 1921-1950
MARSTON 55002-2 [5 CDs: 349:05]

A friend introduced me to the lyric soprano Lotte Schöne a few years ago. I came into possession of a 2 LP 80th Birthday Tribute on Syd Gray's Rubini label (GV 16). This delightful compilation was later supplemented by a Preiser LP (LV 6). What attracted me to the singer was the captivating charm, purity, extensive range and flexibility of the voice, whether it be in operatic arias, light operetta or lieder. Apparently, throughout her career she chose her parts with care, never taking on roles which would impose strain.  Marston are to be lauded for publishing this 5-CD set of the complete extant recordings. Gathered together for the first time are her acoustics and electricals made for Vox, Odeon, and the Gramophone Company, including six unpublished sides set down by Odeon before its conversion from the acoustic to the electrical process, and four unpublished sides of Hugo Wolf songs, made by the Gramophone Company in 1934. Added to this are a welcome cache of private family recordings, and some German and French songs for French and German Radio, dating from as late as 1948 and 1950.

She was born in Vienna in 1891 and began her vocal studies at the age of 14, initially with Johannes Ress, then later with Luise Ress and Maria Brossement. It was as a bridesmaid in Der Freischütz that she made her stage debut in 1912. Five years later she was offered a contract by Vienna`s Court Opera. When the Nazi's came to power Schöne, as a Jew, relocated to Paris and was employed at the Opéra Comique. Tours followed in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. During the German occupation of France, she took refuge in the French alps until the end of the war when her career resumed. Her last performance at the Städtische Oper, Berlin took place in 1948. She retired in 1953 and taught for the remainder of her life.  She died in Bobigny, where she lived with her son and his young family, in 1977.

The earliest inscriptions are the highly prized acoustics made for Vox and Odeon in Berlin between 1921 and 1926. All are rarities. Much of Marston's source material is well-preserved and the voice emerges with crystalline purity. On May 5 1924 Schöne recorded, amongst other things, the aria Mein Herr Marquis from Johann Strauss Jnr's Die Fledermaus. This captivating performance sums up for me all that I admire in this artist. There's abundant joy and elation in the voice, which is light, agile and flexible. Rubato is tasteful and expressive, with great care taken not to over-gild the lily. Trills are crisp, clear and adroitly negotiated, to say nothing of the infectious musical laughter.  Felix Günther, heading an unnamed studio orchestra, is acutely sensitive to every vocal nuance and inflection. The self-same abandon resides in Una voce poco fa from Rossini's Barber of Seville, recorded at that session. Her vocal range and acrobatic skill can be savoured to effect in Rubinstein's Carneval (Valse caprice) arranged by Maria Brossement. The nimble glides into the far reaches are breathtaking and the intonation is immaculate. There are more scintillating fireworks in Sir Julius Benedict’s Il carnevale di Venezia, recorded electrically for Vox in April 1927, – a veritable showstopper, audacious and ambitious.

The electrical recordings, HMVs and Electrolas, were made between 1927 and 1931, and some even made it onto the prestigious red label. The two Rigoletto duets with tenor Joseph Hislop and baritone Herbert Janssen date from June and November 1927 respectively. Both are a delight, with Janssen's voice better captured than Hislop’s. Piero Coppola and Fritz Zweig provide sympathetic support in each case. Tu che di gel sei cinta from Puccini's Turandot is given a moving and convincing rendition, with such underlying melancholy. Un bel dì vedremo from Madama Butterfly is quite overwhelming in its potency. In lighter vein is a beguiling traversal of Nun eilt herbei from Nicolai's Merry Wives of Windsor, fun-loving and enhanced by instinctively judged rubato.

Her approach to lieder is one of genteel refinement and charm. Her Schumann particularly benefits from this approach. On 3 May 1926, with Hermann Weigert at the piano, she set down Schumann's Der Nussbaum (No. 3 Myrten, Op. 25) and Mondnacht (No. 5 Liederkreis, Op. 39) into which she instils deep feeling and emotion. We have two versions of Brahms' lovely Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op. 105, No. 1. The first is from the May 1926 acoustic session, the second was made electrically a year later with an unidentified pianist. Interpretively very similar, the later version is in better sound.  Selections from Schumann's Liederkreis and Myrten can be heard in radio broadcasts from Paris in 1948. These late inscriptions are a joy to hear and thank goodness they exist. There's no denying the voice doesn't quite match up to that of twenty years earlier. There's some tremulousness and strain in top notes, much evident in Du bist wie eine Blume, but still there's much to relish. 

Mystery surrounds the unpublished Wolf songs, recorded with an unidentified pianist on 14 September 1934 in Vienna. Later, Schöne had no recollection of them, but it’s possible they were earmarked for HMV's Hugo Wolf Society project. The very same songs were recorded by Ria Ginster; maybe this artist was considered more acceptable to the German market, suggests André Tubeuf. Notwithstanding, Schöne's idiomatic readings and intelligent approach prove that she was a very fine Wolf singer. The set includes several sides, designated as 'Private Recordings', whose dates are unknown.  Schöne's son preserved these 'home' endeavours on 78 rpm lacquer discs, so allowances have to be made for their audio status. They’re a welcome addition to the discography and the two Viennese bon-bons Wine, Women and Song and the Annen-Polka find the singer firmly in her comfort zone and are absolutely charming.

This is an excellent tribute to a wonderful artist and highly individualistic voice, and deserves a prominent place on the shelves of collectors of the refined art of singing. Such care and attention have been lavished on this outstanding production. The booklet notes, which run to forty-seven pages and overflow with photographs, are exemplary, and we must thank André Tubeuf and Michael Aspinall for their learned contributions. The full matrix details and recording dates further add to the appeal. I'm amazed by how fine-sounding the transfers are, with the voice nicely focussed in the soundscape, especially the early acoustics, which sound bright, clear and fresh.

Stephen Greenbank


CD 1 (73:26)
Vox acoustic recordings, Berlin, circa December 1921
Studio orchestra, unidentified conductor
1. UN BALLO IN MASCHERA: Saper vorreste (Lasst ab mit Fragen) (Verdi) 2:56
(338B) 2001

2. MIGNON: Je suis Titania (Titania ist herabgestiegen) (Thomas) 3:12
(339B) 2001

3. IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA: Una voce poco fa (Frag’ ich mein beklommnes Herz) (Rossini) 7:34
(174A and 175A) 02007

4. LES HUGUENOTS: Nobles seigneurs, salut! (Ihr edlen Herren) (Meyerbeer) 4:21
(176A) 02004

5. LA BOHÈME: Quando m’en vo soletta (Will ich allein) (Puccini) 2:39
(177A) 02004

Odeon acoustic recordings, Berlin, 1924-1926
5 May 1924
Studio orchestra, conducted by Felix Günther
6. LE NOZZE DI FIGARO: Voi che sapete (Ihr, die ihr Triebe) (Mozart) 3:04
(xxB 7004) O-8012

7. DIE FLEDERMAUS: Mein Herr Marquis (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 3:20
(xxB 7005) O-8116

8. DIE FLEDERMAUS: Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 4:13
(xxB 7006-2) O-8116

9. IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA: Una voce poco fa (Frag’ ich mein beklommnes Herz) (Rossini) 7:14
(xxB 7007 and xxB 7008) O-8011

10. DON GIOVANNI: Vedrai, carino (Wenn du fein fromm bist) (Mozart) 3:05
(xxB 7009) O-8012

6 May 1924
Felix Günther, piano
11. Schlechtes Wetter, Op. 69, No. 5 (Richard Strauss) 2:17
(xxB 7010-2) O-8066

12. Ständchen, Op. 17, No. 2 (Richard Strauss) 2:36
(xxB 7011-2) O-8066

6 May 1924
Studio orchestra, conducted by Felix Günther
13. LA BOHÈME: Quando m’en vo soletta (Will ich allein) (Puccini) 2:34
(xxB 7012-2) O-8168

14. Dorfschwalben aus Österreich, Op. 164 (Josef Strauss) 4:15
(xxB 7014) O-8168

11 June 1925
Studio orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert
15. THE GEISHA: A geisha’s life … Oh, dance, my little geisha gay ?(Der Geisha Leben ... O tanz’, du kleine Geisha) (Jones) 4:11
(xxB 7199-2) O-8222 a

16. DER VOGELHÄNDLER: Ich bin die Christel von der Post (Zeller) 3:48
(xxB 7200) O-8210

17. DER OBERSTEIGER: Ja, dort in den Bergen drin (Zeller) 3:16
(xxB 7201) O-8210

18. THE GEISHA: A goldfish swam in a big glass bowl ?(Fräulein Goldfisch schwamm) (Jones) 4:49
(xxB 7202) O-8208

19. THE GEISHA: Love, Love, softly you call! (Lieb’, Lieb’ so wunderschön) (Jones) 4:00
(xxB 7203) O-8208

All tracks are sung in German.
CD 2 (63:00)
Odeon acoustic recordings, Berlin, 1924-1926 (continued)
12 June 1925
Studio orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert
1. DIE SCHÖNE GALATHÉE: Hell im Glas (Trinklied) (von Suppé) 3:23
(xxB 7204) O-8213

2. DER LUSTIGE KRIEG: Was ist an einem Kuss gelegen (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 2:54
(xxB 7205) O-8216 a

13 June 1925
Studio orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert
3. INDIGO UND DIE VIERZIG RÄUBER: Bacchanale (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 2:56
(xxB 7207) O-8216 b

4. DIE SCHÖNE GALATHÉE: Was sagst du? Ich lausche (von Suppé) 3:58
(xxB 7208) O-8213

5. DER ARME JONATHAN: Ach, wir armen Primadonnen (Millöcker) 4:00
(xxB 7209) O-8218 a

6. CAGLIOSTRO IN WIEN: Zigeunerkind, wie glänzt dein Haar (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 3:17
(xxB 7210) O-8218 b

7. DER VOGELHÄNDLER: Fröhlich Pfalz, Gott erhalt’s! (Rheinwalzer) (Zeller) 4:14
(xxB 7211) O-8222 b

3 May 1926
Hermann Weigert, piano
8. Der Nussbaum, No. 3 from MYRTEN, Op. 25 (Schumann) 4:14
(xxB 7451) unpublished

9. Mondnacht, No. 5 from LIEDERKREIS, Op. 39 (Schumann) 4:00
(xxB 7452) unpublished

10. Das Mädchen spricht, Op. 107, No. 3 (Brahms) 1:34
(xxB 7453) unpublished

11. Ständchen, Op. 106, No. 1 (Brahms) 2:05
(xxB 7453) unpublished

12. Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op. 105, No. 1 (Brahms) 3:09
(xxB 7454) unpublished

4 May 1926
Studio orchestra, conducted by Hermann Weigert
13. An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314 (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 4:05
(xxB 7455) unpublished

14. Carneval (Valse caprice) (Rubinstein, arranged by Brossement) 3:30
(xxB 7456) unpublished

Odeon electrical recordings, Berlin, 16 September 1927
unidentified pianist
15. Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op. 105, No. 1 (Brahms) 2:54
(xxB 7770) Parlophone R 20031

16. Liebesbotschaft, No. 1 from SCHWANENGESANG, D. 957 (Schubert) 3:41
(xxB 7771) O-6567 a

17. Die Forelle, D. 550 (Schubert) 2:28
(xxB 7772) O-6567 b

VOX electrical recordings, Germany, April 1927
Studio orchestra, unidentified conductor
18. Il carnevale di Venezia (Benedict) 6:34
(1635AA and 1636AA) E 02212, later reissued as Kristall 6502

All tracks are sung in German except track 18, which is sung in Italian.
CD 3 (72:03)
The Gramophone Company Ltd., 1927-1934
20 June 1927, London
Studio orchestra, conducted by Piero Coppola
1. RIGOLETTO: È il sol dell’anima (Verdi) 4:50
with Joseph Hislop, tenor
(Cc 10964-2) DB 1127

11 November 1927, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Fritz Zweig
2. RIGOLETTO: Tutte le feste al tempio (Verdi) 4:23
with Herbert Janssen, baritone
(CWR 1341-1) DB 1127

3. TURANDOT: Tu che di gel sei cinta (Puccini) 3:13
(BWR 1343-1) E 503

25 January 1928, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Fritz Zweig
4. TURANDOT: Signore, ascolta (Puccini) 2:50
(BLR 3793-2) E 503

5. DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE: Ach ich fühl’s (Mozart) 4:20
(CLR 3794-2) issued only on Victor 7112

6. COSÌ FAN TUTTE: Una donna a quindici anni ?(Schon als Mädchen von fünfzehn Jahren) (Mozart) 3:39
(CLR 3795-2) EJ 262; Victor 7112

25 September 1928, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Leo Blech
7. Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald, Op. 325 (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 4:12
(CL 4546-2T1) EJ 429

8. MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Un bel dì, vedremo (Eines Tages seh’n wir) (Puccini) 4:08
(CL 4547-1) EJ 422

22 October 1928, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Leo Blech
9. MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Che tua madre dovrà (Deine Mutter soll dich) (Puccini) 3:25
(CLR 4645-2) EJ 422

10. DIE FLEDERMAUS: Mein Herr, was dächten Sie von mir (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 3:00
(CLR 4644-2) EJ 429

4 May 1929, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Leo Blech
11. Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D. 965 (Schubert) 6:44
(CLR 5345-2 and CLR 5346-2) EJ 558

12. UN BALLO IN MASCHERA: Volta la terrea fronte (Mit starrem Angesicht) (Verdi) 2:01
(BLR 5347-2) ER 310

13. MANON: Allons! Il le faut! Pour lui-même ... Adieu notre petite table ?(‘S ist für ihn! Drum zurück darf ich nimmer ... ?Leb’ wohl, mein liebes, kleines Tischchen) (Massenet) 4:25
(CLR 5348-1) EJ 669

14. MANON: Je marche sur tous les chemins ... Obéissons quand leur voix appelle ... Profitons bien de la jeunesse (Ja, überall bin ich bekannt ... Folget dem Ruf, so lieblich zu hören ... Drum nützt die schönen ?jungen Tage) (Gavotte) (Massenet) 4:18
(CLR 5349-1) EJ 669

15. LA BOHÈME: Quando m’en vo soletta (Puccini) 2:23
(BLR 5350-2) ER 310

16 May 1930, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Erich Orthmann
16. DIE LUSTIGEN WEIBER VON WINDSOR: Nun eilt herbei (Nicolai) 7:18
(CLR 6358-2 and CLR 6359-2) EJ 528

11 December 1930, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Clemens Schmalstich
17. EINE NACHT IN VENEDIG: Annina! Caramello! (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 3:27
with Marcel Wittrisch, Tenor
(BD 9343-2) EG 2166

18. EINE NACHT IN VENEDIG: Hör’ mich, Annina and Komm in die Gondel (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 3:25
with Marcel Wittrisch, Tenor
(BD 9344-2) EG 2166

All tracks are sung in German except tracks 1–4, and 15, which are sung in Italian.
CD 4 (66:00)
The Gramophone Company Ltd., 1927-1934 (continued)
20 March 1931, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Erich Orthmann
1. DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE: Ach, ich fühl’s (Mozart) 4:32
(2D 257-2) EJ 262

2. LA BOHÈME: Donde lieta usci (Puccini) 3:28
(0D 258-2) DA 1238

3. L’Invito (Bolero), No. 3 from SOIRÉES MUSICALES, R. 236 (Rossini) 2:31
(0D 260-2) DA 1238

24 March 1931, Berlin
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Erich Orthmann
4. DON PASQUALE: Pronta io son (Donizetti) 7:24
with Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender, Baritone
(2D 270-1 and 2D 271-1) DB 1546

5. DON PASQUALE: Pronta io son (Gut, ja ich tu’s) (Donizetti) 7:14
with with Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender, Baritone
(2D 272-2 and 2D 273-1) DB 1563

14 September 1934, Vienna
with unidentified pianist
6. Mir ward gesagt, du reisest in die Ferne, Book 1, No. 2 from ITALIENISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 2:03
(2VH 11-1) unpublished

7. Mein Liebster ist so klein, Book 1, No. 15 from ITALIENISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 1:40
(2VH 11-1) unpublished

8. Ich hab’ in Penna einen Liebsten wohnen, Book 2, No. 24 from ITALIENISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 0:55
(2VH 11-1) unpublished

9. Mein Liebster singt, Book 1, No. 20 from ITALIENISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 1:30
(2VH 12-2) unpublished

10. O wär’ dein Haus durchsichtig wie ein Glas, Book 2, No. 18 from ITALIENISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 1:37
(2VH 12-2) unpublished

11. Gesegnet sei das Grün, Book 2, No. 17 from ITALIENISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 1:44
(2VH 12-2) unpublished

12. Trau’ nicht der Liebe, mein Liebster, gib acht!, Weltliche Lieder, No. 19 from SPANISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 2:23
(2VH 13-2) unpublished

13. Sie blasen zum Abmarsch, Weltliche Lieder, No. 28 from SPANISCHES LIEDERBUCH (Wolf) 2:26
(2VH 13-2) unpublished

14. Ein Stündlein wohl vor Tag, No. 3 from MÖRIKE-LIEDER (Wolf) 2:07
(2VH 14-2) unpublished

15. Elfenlied, No. 16 from MÖRIKE-LIEDER (Wolf) 2:09
(2VH 14-2) unpublished

Private Recordings, recording dates unknown
16. Wein, Weib und Gesang (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 3:48
17. Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb’ und Lust (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 2:43
18. Annen-Polka (Johann Strauss, Jr.) 1:13
19. Mariae Wiegenlied (Reger) 2:00
20. Maria auf dem Berge (traditional, Silesian Christmas song) 1:39
21. Ihr Kinderlein kommet (Christmas Song (Christoph von Schmid) 1:49
22. Ihr Kinderlein kommet (Christmas Song) (Christoph von Schmid) 1:46
23. Süßer die Glocken nie klingen (traditional, Silesian Christmas song) 2:01
24. Nacht und Träume, D. 827 (Schubert) 3:00
25. Die Post, No. 13 from WINTERREISE, D. 911 (Schubert) 2:16
All tracks are sung in German except tracks 2–4, which are sung in Italian.
CD 5 (74:36)
Radiodiffusion française, Paris, 2 February 1948
Dorel Handman, piano
LIEDERKREIS, Op. 39 (Schumann)
1. In der Fremde, No. 1 1:55
2. Intermezzo, No. 2 2:11
3. Die Stille, No. 4 1:55
4. Mondnacht, No. 5 4:03
5. Schöne Fremde, No. 6 1:18
6. In der Fremde, No. 8 2:00
7. Frühlingsnacht, No. 12 1:15
Radiodiffusion française, Paris, 8 February 1948
Dorel Handman, piano
MYRTHEN, Op. 25 (Schumann)
8. Jemand, No. 4 2:18
9. Hochländers Abschied, No. 13 2:18
10. Zwei Venetianische Lieder I (Leis’ rudern hin), No. 17 1:55
11. Zwei Venetianische Lieder II (Wenn durch die Piazza), No. 18 1:27
12. Weit, weit, No. 20 1:42
13. Gebet, No. 5 from GEDICHTE DER KÖNIGIN MARIA STUART, Op. 135 (Schumann) 1:50
14. Venezianisches Gondellied, Op. 57, No. 5 (Mendelssohn) 2:53
Radio in the American Sector (RIAS), Berlin, 14 May 1950
Hertha Klust, piano
15. Light, Op. 19, No. 1 (Roussel) 3:32
16. Sarabande, Op. 20, No. 2 (Roussel) 2:39
17. Sérénade italienne, Op. 2, No. 5 (Chausson) 2:26
18. Apaisement, Op. 13, No. 1 (Chausson) 2:03
19. La flûte enchantée, No. 2 from SHÉHÉRAZADE, IMR 44 (Ravel) 2:30
20. C’est l’extase langoureuse, No. 1 from ARIETTES OUBLIÉES, L. 60 (Debussy) 2:46
21. Green, No. 5 from ARIETTES OUBLIÉES, L. 60 (Debussy) 2:19
22. Fantoches, No. 2 from FÊTES GALANTES, L. 80 CD 86 (Debussy) 1:26
23. Pierrot, L. 15 (Debussy) 1:46
Radio in the American Sector (RIAS), Berlin, 16 May 1950
Hertha Klust, piano
24. Du bist wie eine Blume, No. 24 from MYRTHEN, Op. 25 (Schumann) 2:03
25. Schneeglöckchen, No. 26 from LIEDERALBUM FÜR DIE JUGEND, Op. 79 (Schumann) 1:39
26. Märzveilchen, Op. 40, No. 1 (Schumann) 1:50
27. Er ist’s, No. 23 from LIEDERALBUM FÜR DIE JUGEND, Op. 79 (Schumann) 1:33
28. Jasminenstrauch, Op. 27, No. 4 (Schumann) 1:06
29. Röselein, Röselein! Op. 89, No. 6 (Schumann) 2:24
30. Meine Rose, Op. 90, No. 2 (Schumann) 4:06
31. Die Lotosblume, No. 7 from MYRTHEN, Op. 25 (Schumann) 1:58
32. O ihr Herren, Op. 37, No. 3 (Schumann) 1:02
33. Die Meerfee, Op. 125, No. 3 (Schumann) 1:30
34. Mein Wagen rollet langsam, Op. 142, No. 4 (Schumann) 3:02
35. Der Sandmann, No. 12 from LIEDERALBUM FÜR DIE JUGEND, Op. 79 (Schumann) 1:55
All tracks are sung in German except tracks 15–23, which are sung in French.

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