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Great Singers Live - Hermann Prey

Mozart / Rossini / Lortzing / Verdi / Quadri
Release Date: 04/24/2012 
Label:  Br Klassik   Catalog #: 900307   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gioachino RossiniAlbert LortzingGiuseppe VerdiCharles Gounod,   ... 
Performer:  Hermann PreyWolfgang Sawallisch
Conductor:  Argeo QuadriHeinz FrickeHeinz WallbergRoberto Abbado,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a disc that I will often return to.

Titled ‘Great Singers Live’ this series of CDs showcases an international cast who appeared as guests at the Munich Sunday Concerts and is proving a great success. The brainchild of Alfred Schröter head of light classics at Bavarian Broadcasting these live radio concerts began in 1952 using the Munich Radio Orchestra. This particular collection, sung by baritone Hermann Prey, consists of previously unreleased material.
 
A lyric baritone, Hermann Prey (1929-1998) was born and studied in Berlin. As a young man he lived through the Russian assault on Berlin in 1945 part of the time hiding with his family in a cellar with only tinned food to eat. Prey
Read more is probably best known for his light comic roles in opera and in the lieder recitals that launched his career in 1959. I generally associate Prey with Figaro, the Barber of Seville in the Rossini opera and in Mozart operas, Figaro, Guglielmo and especially Papageno the ridiculous feather-suited bird-catcher in The Magic Flute. In lieder Prey enjoyed programmes of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mahler and Richard Strauss also championing the German art-songs of Carl Loewe. Prey sang at Bayreuth making his debut in 1965 as Wolfram. In 1981 he was there again as Beckmesser. He died suddenly in Munich the city that he had made his home aged 69 having sung at the Prince Regent Theatre only four days before. 

For this BR Klassik release Prey demonstrates his versatility with a selection of songs that range from Bach to Verdi, from Mozart to Berlin and from Lieder to Broadway musicals. There is nothing progressive or difficult in the programme which probably reflects Prey as a sensitive singer who loved melody and traditional classical and romantic music. The opening song Ein Madchen oder Weibchen wunscht Papageno sich! (A girl or a little wife wishes Papageno) is from The Magic Flute. Immediately Prey’s golden baritone is evident together with his expressive powers and impressive diction. From The Barber of Seville Prey’s Figaro’s cavatina Largo al factotum della città (Make way for the factotum of the city), a staple of the repertoire, is exciting and, given its difficulty, extremely well controlled. Valentin’s wonderful cavatina Avant de quitter ces lieu (Before leaving this place) from Gounod’s Faust is full of melody and is sung with real assurance. Toni’s prologue the popular Si puo? Si puo? Signore! Signori! (May I? May I? Ladies! Gentlemen!) from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci is dramatic and masterly.
 
Prey is accompanied in An die ferne Geliebte by Munich-born accompanist Wolfgang Sawallisch; far better known as a conductor. I enjoyed Prey’s interpretation and he sounds wonderfully at home despite the cycle’s contrasting demands. Especially enjoyable is Prey’s poignant Auf dem Hügel sitz ich spähend (Sit on the Hill, Gazing) and the rapt sense of joy he delivers in Es kehret der Maien, es blühet die Au (May returns, the meadow’s in Flower).
 
It is fascinating to hear Prey sing something different. The final track ‘They say that falling in love is wonderful’ from Irving Berlin’s musical Annie Get Your Gun is certainly that. As I expected, Prey sings well but he doesn’t feel particularly at home as Frank the star of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. It all seems rather too buttoned-up.
 
The Munich Radio Orchestra, who celebrated their 60th anniversary in the 2011/12 season, provides wholehearted support. They play with total assurance.
 
The sound quality delivered by Bavarian Broadcasting from the various Munich venues is first class. Sadly the omission of the sung texts has reduced the value of the series.
 
This BR Klassik ‘Great Singers Live’ series often introduces us to remarkable performances from a host of distinguished singers. Prey is in outstanding voice. This is a disc that I will often return to.  

-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International 
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Works on This Recording

1.
Il barbiere di Siviglia: Arie. Largo al factotum della città by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Argeo Quadri
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1966 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
2.
Der Wildschütz: Rezitativ un Arie. Wie freundlich strahlt die helle Morgensonne by Albert Lortzing
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Argeo Quadri
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1966 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
3.
La traviata: Di Provenza il mar by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Heinz Fricke
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/01/1966 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
4.
Un ballo in maschera: Eri tu che m'acchiave quell' anima by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/16/1977 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
5.
Faust: Avant de quitter ces lieux by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Argeo Quadri
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 09/01/1972 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
6.
I Pagliacci: Sì può? [Prologue] by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/16/1977 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
7.
Annie Get Your Gun: They say that falling in love is wonderful by Irving Berlin
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Period: Modern 
Written: 1945-1946; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 07/26/1992 
Venue:  Herkulessaal der Residenz, München 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
8.
Die Zauberflöte: Arie. Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen wünscht Papageno sich by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Argeo Quadri
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1966 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 
9.
Le nozze di Figaro: Rezitativ und Arie. Tutto è disposto - Aprite un po' gli occhi by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/16/1977 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
10.
Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo, K 584 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Heinz Fricke
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/01/1966 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 52 Secs. 
11.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 8, Grosser Herr, und starker König by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hermann Prey ()
Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/17/1972 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 57 Secs. 
12.
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wolfgang Sawallisch (Piano), Hermann Prey ()
Period: Classical 
Written: 1815-1816; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/10/1988 
Venue:  Prinzregententheater, München 
Length: 14 Minutes 42 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute), K. 620: Act II: Arie: Ein Madchen oder Weibchen wunscht Papageno sich!
Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492: Act IV: Recitative and Aria: Tutto e disposto ... Aprite un po' quegli occhi
Cosi fan tutte, K. 588: Act I: Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo
Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) *: Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), Act I: Cavatina: Largo al factotum della citta
Der Wildschutz: Act III: Recitative and Aria: Wie freundlich strahlt die helle Morgensonne
La traviata*: La traviata, Act II: Di Provenza il mar
Un ballo in maschera*: Un ballo in maschera, Act III: Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima
Faust: Act I: Cavatina: Avant de quitter ces lieux
Pagliacci: Act I: Prologue: Si puo? Si puo?
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: Part I: Grosser Herr, o starker Konig
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 1. Auf dem Hugel sitz' ich, spahend
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 2. Wo die Berge so blau
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 3. Leichte Segler in den Hohen
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 4. Diese Wolken in den Hohen
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 5. Es kehret der Maien
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 6. Nimm sie hin denn diese Lieder
Annie Get your Gun: They Say It's Wonderful

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 lirico spinto June 16, 2012 By roland d. (staten island, NY) See All My Reviews "Prey was a lyric baritone whose lieder was exemplary and the antithesis of Fischer-Dieskau's almost-pedagogic approach to Schubert and company. Both baritone's were less than convincing in Italian opera, since they did not have the vocal weight to make Verdian fortes what they are supposed to be. Like Hampson and Hvorosotovsky nowadays, both essentially lyric baritones when they started out, who now, in their maturity, still have to 'push' where Milnes, Merrill, McNeill, Ruffo, and Stracciari didn't. Prey is good in Mozart. In Verdi, Gounod, and Rossini he takes his voice where it does not go naturally. Of course, this is subjective. In lieder I never tire of listening to Prey. In the great Italian baritone roles he is somewhat wanting, at least on records. How many Papagenos can sing Renato and Scarpia?
"
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