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Hermann Prey: Liederabend 1963

Cornelius / Brahms / Strauss / Prey / Weibenborn
Release Date: 05/31/2011 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93713   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter CorneliusHans PfitznerWolfgang FortnerJohannes Brahms,   ... 
Performer:  Hermann PreyGünther Weissenborn
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



HERMANN PREY: Liederabend 1963 Hermann Prey (bar); Günther Weißenborn (pn) HÄNSSLER 93.713, mono (75:33) Live: Schwetzingen 5/15/1963


CORNELIUS Vater unser, der du bist in Himmel. Zu uns kommen dein Reich. Führte uns nicht in Versuchung. Erlöse uns von Übel. PFITZNER Im Herbst. In Danzig. Der Kühne. Der Gärtner. FORTNER Read more class="ARIAL12bi">An die Parzen. Hyperions Schicksalslied. Abbitte. Geh unter, schöne Sonne. BRAHMS Dein blaues Auge. Wie Melodien zieht es mir. Die Mainacht. R. STRAUSS Morgen. Befreit


For me, merely seeing the name “Hermann Prey” on a recital disc is sufficient reason to buy it. In the very first batch of reviews I wrote for this journal back in 33:6, I had occasion to rave about a historic reissue CD of this immortal artist in his youthful prime, so I’ll spare you a repeat here. Suffice it to say that Bruno Walter in an interview once said of Schubert that he is “music itself,” and the same thing can be said of Prey. His was an art that transcended art; he did not merely sing music, he was music in every fiber of his being.


Prey was sometimes foolishly criticized for “wasting” his preternatural gifts on repertoire such as German folk songs (an eight-CD “original jackets” set of those is available in Germany on DG at a super-bargain price of about $30, under the title Kein schöner Land ) and lighter repertoire such as Albert Lortzing. This was contrasted to the supposedly loftier and more “serious” artistry of the likewise magnificent Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau—as if such music is not deserving of first-rate renditions by great artists! Prey simply had an omnivorous appetite for beautiful music and was not snobbish about the genre. What such foolish petty sniping obscured was that, like Fischer-Dieskau, Prey had a vast repertoire that explored far lesser-known byways of Lieder beyond Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Richard Strauss, and Wolf. Between 1971 and 1975 he recorded the Lied Edition Hermann Prey , a compilation of 452 songs from medieval Minnesänger to the present; originally issued on 27 LPs, it was once released by Philips as a 20-CD series in four boxed sets but is now long out of print (MP3 downloads are still available via Amazon in Britain and Germany).


The present broadcast recital is a reminder of the range and probing intensity of Prey’s exquisite art. The four songs of Peter Cornelius (1824–74), taken from the Neun geistliche Lieder (Nine Spiritual Songs), op. 2, are meditations on the Vater unser (“Our Father” or Lord’s Prayer), and the required sense of simple heartfelt devotion is captured perfectly. Prey was a great admirer of the songs of Hans Pfitzner (1869–1949), and the four songs on texts of Joseph von Eichendorff offered here not only evince that commitment in full-blooded renditions that bring out all the passion of their ripe fin de siècle idiom, but also show that Pfitzner could produce something far more worthwhile than the ponderous, bloated operas and concerti on which he staked his now faded and tarnished reputation. However, Pfitzner is a household name in classical-music circles compared to the now utterly obscure Wolfgang Fortner (1907–87); only the 1949 broadcast performance of his Violin Concerto conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler is likely to trigger a glimmer of recollection for most folks. Whereas the concerto is tedious and eminently forgettable, these four songs to texts by Hölderlin—the musical idiom is somewhat akin to mature Hindemith—have more to offer, at least as sung by an artist of Prey’s stature who can bring out a desolate poignancy in them. With the five songs by Brahms and Richard Strauss, Prey returns to more familiar musical terrain, but in each case puts his own unforgettable vocal and interpretive stamp on these beloved gems. Throughout the recital Günther Weißenborn is a magnificent accompanist fully worthy of the singer and an equal partner in making this recital a superlative success.


While there is no specific indication whether the original source is monaural or stereo, I assume the former from the date and do not detect any spatial separation in the acoustic. However, the sound quality is absolutely pristine, and can match any contemporary studio recording for frequency range, presence, and whisper-quiet background. German song texts with English translations are provided. Lieder singing simply doesn’t—I daresay can’t— get any greater than this; highest possible recommendation.


FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

1. Vater unser (9), Op. 2: Excerpt(s) by Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
2. Lieder (5), Op. 9: no 4, Der Kühne by Hans Pfitzner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
3. Lieder (5), Op. 9: no 3, Im Herbst by Hans Pfitzner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
4. Lieder (5), Op. 9: no 1, Der Gärtner by Hans Pfitzner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
5. Lieder (5), Op. 22: no 1, In Danzig by Hans Pfitzner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Germany 
6. Gesänge (4): Hyperions Schicksalslied by Wolfgang Fortner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933/1968; Germany 
7. Gesänge (4): Abbitte by Wolfgang Fortner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933/1968; Germany 
8. Geh unter, schone Sonne by Wolfgang Fortner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
9. Gesänge (4): An die Parzen by Wolfgang Fortner
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
10. Songs (8), Op. 59: no 8, Dein blaues Auge by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Austria 
11. Songs (5), Op. 105: no 1, Wie Melodien zieht es mir by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
12. Songs (4), Op. 43: no 2, Die Mainacht by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Austria 
13. Lieder (5), Op. 39: no 4, Befreit by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
14. Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Hermann Prey (Baritone), Günther Weissenborn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 

Sound Samples

9 Geistliche Lieder, Op. 2, "Vater unser": No. 1. Vater unser, der Du bist im Himmel
9 Geistliche Lieder, Op. 2, "Vater unser": No. 3. Zu uns komme Dein Reich
9 Geistliche Lieder, Op. 2, "Vater unser": No. 8. Fuhre uns nicht in Versuchung
9 Geistliche Lieder, Op. 2, "Vater unser": No. 9. Erlose uns vom Ubel
5 Lieder, Op. 9: No. 3. Im Herbst
5 Lieder, Op. 22: No. 1. In Danzig
5 Lieder, Op. 9: No. 4. Der Kuhne
5 Lieder, Op. 9: No. 1. Der Gartner
4 Gesange: No. 1. An die Parzen
4 Gesange: No. 2. Hyperions Schicksalslied
4 Gesange: No. 3. Abbitte
4 Gesange: No. 4. Geh unter, schone Sonne
8 Lieder und Gesange, Op. 59 (text by K. Groth): 8 Lieder und Gesange, Op. 59: No. 8. Dein blaues Auge halt so still
5 Lieder, Op. 105 (text by K. Groth): 5 Lieder, Op. 105: No. 1. Wie Melodien zieht es mir
4 Gesange, Op. 43 (text by L.H.C. Holty): 4 Gesange, Op. 43: No. 2. Die Mainacht
4 Lieder, Op. 27, TrV 170 (version for voice and orchestra) (text by J.H. Mackay): 4 Lieder, Op. 27, TrV 170: No. 4. Morgen
5 Lieder, Op. 39, TrV 189 (text by R. Dehmel): 5 Lieder, Op. 39, TrV 189: No. 4. Befreit

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