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Semperoper Edition, Vol. 3: Wagner Again?

Wagner / Keilbert / Kempe / Golze
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Profil   Catalog #: 11044   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Arno SchellenbergJoachim SattlerBernd AldenhoffHans Hopf,   ... 
Conductor:  Rudolf KempeJoseph KeilberthRolf KleinertGerhard Pflüger,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden StaatskapelleDresden Philharmonic OrchestraLeipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 3 Hours 21 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



WAGNER Die Meistersinger: act I Prelude; 1,14 Wach’ auf!; 6,16 Verachtet mir die Meister nicht; 6,16 Morgenlich leuchtend. 8,12,17 Tannhäuser: Geliebte, komm!; 2,9,16 Zieh hin, Wahnsinniger!; 2,9,16 Dich, teure Halle; Read more class="SUPER12">2,10,16 Dort ist sie…O Fürstin (2 vers); 2,10,16,7,12,15 Zurück, Des Todes achte ich sonst nicht!; 2,10,16 Allmächt’ge Jungfrau; 2,10,16 Willkommen, ungetreuer Mann; 2,9,10,16 Geliebte, sag, wo weilt dein Sinn?; 3,12,16 Wie Todesahnung…O du mein holder Abendstern; 4,14,18 Inbrunst im Herzen. 8,12.17 Lohengrin: 4,14 act I Prelude; 4,12,14 Höchstes vertrau’n; 5,14 Atmest du nicht mit mir; 5,14 In fernem land. Der fliegende Holländer: 4,11,14 Summ und brumm; 2,10,15 Jo-ho-hoe!…Traft ihr das Schiff. Siegfried: 6,12,16 Nothung Nothung! Neidliches schwert!; 6,12,16 Schmiede, mein Hammer!. Tristan und Isolde: act I Prelude; 4,14 Liebestod; 7,15 Mild und leise Liebestod. Rienzi: 8,12,17 Allmächt’ger Vater, blick herab!. Parsifal: 5,13,17 Du salbtest mir die Füße 1 Joseph Keilberth, cond; 2 Gerhard Pflüger, cond; 3 Rolf Kleinert, cond; 4 Rudolf Kempe, cond; 5 Kurt Striegler, cond; 6 Hans-Hendrik Wehding, cond; 7 Gerhart Wiesenhütter, cond; 8 Walter Stoschek, cond; 9 Dora Zschille (sop); 10 Brünnhild Friedland (sop); 3 Margarete Bäumer (sop); 11 Emilie Walter-Sacks (mez); 7 Christel Goltz (sop); 9 Ernst Gruber (ten); 12 Bernd Aldenhoff (ten); 5 Hans Hopf (ten); 13 Joachim Sattler (ten); 9 Kurt Rehm (bar); 9 Hans Krämer (bs); 18 Karl Paul (bar); 6 Josef Hermann (bar); 13 Arno Schellenberg (bar); 13 Kurt Böhme (bs); 14 Dresden St O. 15 Leipzig R S O. 16 Dresden Great R S O. 17 Dresden P O PROFIL 11044, mono (3 CDs: 201:21) Live and studio recorded, Leipzig and Dresden 1945-56


Wow, what an exhausting header that was to type out! But unfortunately, every last bit of it is necessary, because Profil has determinedly hidden the contents of this CD. You’ll only find the names of 12 of the singers and several of the conductors on the jewel box insert, and turning to the gaudily laid-out, 90-page booklet, you won’t find any info in the first few pages. In fact, you won’t find a thing about these discs until you get to page 36 of the booklet(!), where the contents are finally laid out in hard-to-read print, white lettering on a blood-red background, and certain arias (“O du mein holder”) are identified solely by the title of the recitative (“Wie Todesahnung, Dämmrung deckt die Lande”). Are you confused yet? No? Well, on top of all that, the bleeding chunks of Wagner opera thus presented are also presented out of order, depending on who was singing what, when, and where; nor are they given in chronological order, but jump all over the place; and it’s sometimes difficult to determine which excerpts actually came from live performances and which were recorded in a radio studio for later broadcast. Profil has a lot to answer for!


But sadly, so does the Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (that’s what the “DRA” you see all over the booklet stands for) under the aegis of Kammersänger Prof. Peter Schreier and Project Director Dr. Steffen Lieberwirth of MDR, because to be honest there is naught but fleeting historical interest to justify the issue of most of these performances. This mishmash collection is titled Wagner Again?…The earliest postwar Dresden Wagner recordings, a rather long-winded header that sends a mixed message. For those who are weary of Wagner, the title may mean “Aw, gee, Wagner again? ” Whereas, it turns out, it is actually meant as “Dare we hope that our wonderful German volk may be able to hear the strains of this great German culture figure once more?,” which is the way the East Germans looked at it coming out of the war. You can even see this in the faces of the Dresden State Orchestra members (21 of them, at least), along with conductor Arthur Tröber, as they stood in front of Wagner’s grave on October 9, 1949, for a photo op. In a way I understand their hopes, as re-performing Wagner carried a double stigma. The first, of course, was that the German people—East or West—felt a need to purge this music of the hideous, foul political stench of the Nazi regime, which a good 60 percent of Germans never supported (even though many were forced into service). The second was that, due to Reason No. 1, the music of Wagner carried a similarly foul stench for East Germany’s new overlords, the Soviet Union. After a single concert in April or May of 1945 for the benefit of American soldiers occupying Dresden at the time (again, using the music as a peace offering rather than a war weapon), Wagner was heard no more in East Germany for several more years. The Soviets allowed the East Germans to record Wagner performances in the radio studio for later broadcast, which is where the December 1947 Tristan excerpts with Christel Goltz come from, but actual live performances were banned for a while. Joseph Keilberth’s very fine performance of the Meistersinger act I prelude was the last item on an orchestral concert of September 24, 1948, to celebrate the reopening of the Dresden State Theater, and only in the following year (1949) were performances of the complete operas allowed, little by little.


The problem was that, with the exception of Rudolf Kempe, most of the really fine Wagner conductors were either already in West Germany or fled there ASAP. Keilberth himself walked out in 1950 and never looked back. West Germany also had not only Bayreuth but also the cream of Wagnerian singers of the time: Martha Mödl, Wolfgang Windgassen, Max Lorenz, Gottlob Frick, Ferdinand Frantz, Hermann Uhde, Hans Hotter, etc. etc. etc., as well as conductors Hans Knappertsbusch and Clemens Krauss. (I omit Karajan’s name because, though he was indeed in West Germany and conducted a few times at Bayreuth after its reopening, he was intensely disliked by both Wieland Wagner and many music critics for his smoothed-out and rhythmically imprecise Wagner style.) Granted, some of these excerpts are well conducted by names not well known outside Germany (Pflüger, Kleinert, Striegler, and Stoschek), and some of the lesser-known names among the singers are also quite fine, e.g., Ernst Gruber, Christel Goltz, Kurt Rehm, the very young Hans Hopf (in the 1945 Lohengrin excerpts—I had been totally unaware that he had a good singing voice at one time), Kurt Böhme (one of the East German singers who was one of the greats), Emilie Walter-Sacks, and a then-young baritone named Karl Paul who does a beautifully phrased “O du mein holder Abendstern,” but many of the others (especially one Dora Zschille, Margarete Baumer, and the simply hideous-sounding Bernd Aldenhoff, surely the worst German tenor of his day, who is given virtually every major tenor scene in the Wagner canon) have squally and/or spreading voices which they then proceed to scream out of shape and out of control (much like most of our current crop of Wagner vocalists).


In general, however, since these are mostly live performances, or at least performances recorded in large sections played and sung in their proper sequence, some of the singers improve as the performance moves on. Brünnhild Friedland, for instance, is squally and unfocused in her Tannhäuser entrance aria (“Dich, teure Halle”), but she begins to improve during the long scene with Tannhäuser (Gruber) and Wolfram (Rehm), and by the time you reach “Des Todes achte ich sonst” she’s actually pretty good. Friedland also sings a very fine “Senta’s ballad” from Der fliegende Holländer on CD 2 (excitingly conducted by Pflüger), and Josef Hermann, known to collectors as Wotan in Furtwängler’s La Scala performance of Siegfried, gives us a nice turn as Hans Sachs in two excerpts. Christel Goltz sounds pretty good in the Tristan “Liebestod,” but in the Tannhäuser duet she is saddled with Aldenhoff, the poor dear.


For me, however, the “find of the century” was tenor Joachim Sattler, who sings Parsifal in the extended act III scene that concludes this set. He is, in a word, glorious: a bright, well-focused tone, splendid placement of the voice, superb diction, good characterization, you name it, he had it. Looking him up online, I discovered that he sang Loge in the Furtwängler-La Scala performance of Das Rheingold, but I haven’t heard that recording in 40 years and the last time I did listen to it, it was on Sam Weiler’s cheapo Everest-Scala LP pressing, with the sound distorted out of recognition. And not only is Sattler good, so too are Schellenberg as Amfortas, Böhme as Gurnemanz, and the conducting of Striegler. In short, this 26-and-a-half-minutes from Parsifal is the highlight of the entire set.


With the sole exception of the April or May 1945 performance by Hopf for the U.S. troops, the sound quality in this pressing, especially for the voices, is phenomenally good for its time. The orchestral sound is a trifle muddy for the strings, but that’s about all one could carp about. There is a lot of space around the voices, as was the norm for virtually all German recordings (disc or, from the early 1940s on, tape) of the pre-stereo era, although it is possible (though not stated) that some tape hiss was removed or other enhancements made to the original. Surprisingly, Kempe doesn’t get the lion’s share of space on this set—that is split between Pflüger and Striegler—but most of what he does is very fine. One of the set’s crown jewels is Paul’s performance with Kempe of “O du mein holder” on CD 1, but surprisingly Kempe’s performance of the act I prelude to Lohengrin is very pedestrian, lacking in feeling and atmosphere, nowhere near as good as the one in his famed EMI recording of the complete opera.


The booklet is chock full of rare vintage photos and interesting information. Yet your decision to acquire this set will undoubtedly be driven by certain factors: (1) your love of Wagner and desire to hear performances not previously issued, no matter how horrid the singing; (2) your tolerance for mono recordings of Wagner, since his operas depend as much on the quality of orchestral sound as on the voices, and the orchestras here are not very realistically reproduced; (3) your tolerance for “bleeding chunks,” often beginning and/or ending in strange places; and (4) how much you want to pay for the four or five really good examples of singing on this set, with pride of place going to Sattler, Böhme, and company in the Parsifal scene.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Work(s) by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Arno Schellenberg (Baritone), Joachim Sattler (Tenor), Bernd Aldenhoff (Tenor),
Hans Hopf (Tenor), Josef Herrmann (Baritone), Karl Paul (Bass),
Christel Goltz (Soprano), Emilie Walter-Sacks (Mezzo Soprano), Brünnhild Friedland (Soprano),
Margarete Bäumer (Soprano), Dora Zschille (Soprano), Kurt Böhme (Bass)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  Joseph Keilberth,  Rolf Kleinert,  Gerhard Pflüger  ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
2. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Vorspiel by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/24/1948 
Venue:  Live  Main Auditorium of the Staatstheater 
Length: 9 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3. Tannhäuser: Act 1. Geliebter, komm! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Kramer (), Helmut Eyle (), Dora Zschille (),
Ernst Gruber ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
4. Tannhäuser: Act 1. Zieh hin, Wahnsinniger! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Ernst Gruber (), Hans Kramer (), Helmut Eyle (),
Dora Zschille ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5. Tannhäuser: Act 2. Dich, teure Halle, arie by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Helmut Eyle (), Brünnhild Friedland (), Hans Kramer ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
6. Tannhäuser: Act 2. Dort ist sie ... O Fürstin by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Kramer (), Helmut Eyle (), Kurt Rehm (),
Ernst Gruber (), Brünnhild Friedland ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 11 Minutes 4 Secs. 
7. Tannhäuser: Act 2. Zurück! Des Todes achte ich sonst nicht!, arie by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Kramer (), Helmut Eyle (), Brünnhild Friedland ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 6 Minutes 4 Secs. 
8. Tannhäuser: Act 3. Allmächt'ge Jungfrau! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Kramer (), Helmut Eyle (), Brünnhild Friedland ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
9. Tannhäuser: Finale. Willkommen, ungetreuer Mann! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Kramer (), Dora Zschille (), Ernst Gruber (),
Helmut Eyle (), Kurt Rehm (), Brünnhild Friedland ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
10. Tannhäuser: Act 1. Geliebter, sag, wo weilt dein Sinn? by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff (), Margarete Bäumer ()
Conductor:  Rolf Kleinert
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/22/1948 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 18 Minutes 46 Secs. 
11. Tannhäuser: Act 3. Wie Todesahnung, Dämmrung deckt die lande by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Karl Paul ()
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  Rolf Kleinert
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/22/1949 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
12. Lohengrin: Vorspiel by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/22/1949 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 9 Minutes 16 Secs. 
13. Lohengrin: Act 3. Höchstes Vertrau'n by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff ()
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/22/1949 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
14. Lohengrin: Atmest du nicht mit mir die süßen Düfte? by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Hopf ()
Conductor:  Kurt Striegler
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
15. Lohengrin: Act 3. In fernem Land by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Hopf ()
Conductor:  Kurt Striegler
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Length: 5 Minutes 35 Secs. 
16. Der fliegende Holländer: Act 2. Summ und brumm by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Emilie Walter-Sacks ()
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1950 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
17. Der fliegende Holländer: Act 2. Jo-ho-hoe! Traft ihr das Schiff, ballade by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Brünnhild Friedland ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Pflüger
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1953 
Venue:  MDR Leipzig, Springerstraße 
Length: 7 Minutes 35 Secs. 
18. Siegfried: Act 1. Nothung! Neidliches Schwert! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff ()
Conductor:  Hans Hendrik Wehding
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1871; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/01/1948 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
19. Siegfried: Act 1. Schmiede, mein Hammer by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff ()
Conductor:  Hans Hendrik Wehding
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1871; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/01/1948 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
20. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Wach' auf, es nahet gen den Tag by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Josef Herrmann ()
Conductor:  Hans Hendrik Wehding
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/01/1948 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
21. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Act 3. Verachtet mir die Meister nicht by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Josef Herrmann ()
Conductor:  Hans Hendrik Wehding
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/01/1948 
Length: 6 Minutes 31 Secs. 
22. Tristan und Isolde: Vorspiel (1) / Act 3. Isoldes Liebestod, für Orchester by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/28/1956 
Venue:  Live  Large House of the Staatstheater 
Length: 18 Minutes 33 Secs. 
23. Tristan und Isolde: Act 3. Mild und leise wie er lächelt by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christel Goltz ()
Conductor:  Gerhard Wiesenhutter
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1947 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
24. Tannhäuser: Act 2. O Fürstin by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff (), Christel Goltz ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 22 Secs. 
25. Tannhäuser: Act 3. Inbrunst im Herzen by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff ()
Conductor:  Walter Stoschek
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/05/1950 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 7 Minutes 34 Secs. 
26. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Act 3. Morgenlich leuchtend by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff ()
Conductor:  Walter Stoschek
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/05/1950 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
27. Rienzi: Act 5. Allmächt'ger Vater, blick herab! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Bernd Aldenhoff ()
Conductor:  Walter Stoschek
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/05/1950 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
28. Parsifal: Act 3. Du salbtest mir die Füße by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Kurt Böhme (), Arno Schellenberg (), Joachim Sattler ()
Conductor:  Kurt Striegler
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1882; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/02/1950 
Venue:  Steinsaal, Hygienemuseum, Dresden, Germa 
Length: 26 Minutes 28 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg): Act I: Prelude
Tannhauser: Act I: Geliebter, komm! Sieh dort die Grotte
Tannhauser: Act I: Zieh hin, Wahnsinniger!
Tannhauser: Act II: Aria: Dich, teure Halle
Tannhauser: Act II: Dort ist sie - O Furstin
Tannhauser: Act II: Zuruck! Des Todes achte icht sonst nicht!
Tannhauser: Act III: Allmacht'ge Jungfrau! Hor mein Flehen!
Tannhauser: Act III: Finale: Willkommen, ungetreuer Mann!
Tannhauser: Act I: Geliebter, sag? Wo weilt dein Sinn?
Tannhauser: Act III: Wie Todesahnung Dammerung deckt die Lande
Lohengrin: Act I: Prelude
Lohengrin: Act III: Hochstes Vertrau'n hast du mir schon zu danken
Lohengrin: Act III: Atmest du nicht mit mir die sussen Dufte?
Lohengrin: Act III: In fernem Land, unnahbar eu'ren Schritten
Der fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman): Act II: Summ und brumm, du gutes Radchen
Der fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman): Act II: Jo-ho-hoe! Traft ihr das Schiff
Siegfried: Act I: Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert!
Siegfried: Act I: Schmiede, mein Hammer, ein hartes Schwert
Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg): Act III: Wach' auf!
Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg): Act III: Verachtet mir die Meister nicht

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