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Great Singers Live: Elisabeth Grummer

Mozart / Gruemmer / Muenchner Rundfunkorchester
Release Date: 05/28/2013 
Label:  Br Klassik   Catalog #: 900308   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth GrümmerHans AltmannWaldemar Kmentt
Conductor:  Kurt EichhornHorst Stein
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A valuable addition to the Grümmer discography, and a must for those who wish to explore the art of this wonderful singer.

My admiration for the German lyric soprano Elisabeth Grümmer stretches back several years to when I heard her in the 1955 recording of the Brahms German Requiem conducted by Rudolf Kempe, a classic recording which has stood the test of time and is still highly regarded by music lovers. Two years previously, she had sung the role of Anna in a magnificent performance of Don Giovanni, starring with such stellar singers as Cesare Siepi, Anton Dermota and Lisa Della Casa and conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler, a performance now available on DVD.
 
Elisabeth
Read more Grümmer (1911-1986) made her operatic debut as a Flower Maiden in a 1940 production of Parsifal in Aachen under Karajan. The maestro was very taken by her and gave her considerable encouragement. A promising career beckoned. As well as her many operatic roles, specializing mainly in Mozart, Wagner and Richard Strauss, she was highly regarded as a lieder singer. Yet it has to be said that her recorded legacy contains few lieder, despite the fact that she gave many song recitals throughout her illustrious career. In fact, in comparison to the other German lyric soprano Elisabeth, who had the good fortune to be Mrs Legge, her recorded discography is not very prolific. This is remedied, to some extent, with the release of unpublished live material.
 
Here we have a selection of lieder and operatic arias by Mozart, a composer Grümmer excelled in. The CD was previously released as part of a six-CD box set entitled ‘Great Singers Live’, celebrating sixty years of the Munich Radio Orchestra, so this single disc is very welcome. The recordings are taken from the archives of Bavarian Radio, dating from between 1956 and 1962. Grümmer was now well into her forties, but her voice was still radiant, fresh and technically secure. By 1964, many noticed some vocal deterioration; it had, by this time, lost much of its bloom and quality in the upper register, and some noted a certain hardening of the timbre. None of this is present here.
 
The first seven tracks are devoted to lieder, very sensitively accompanied by Hans Altmann. The highlight for me is Abendempfindung KV523. It is exquisitely sung, with warmth and purity of tone. I much preferred it to the Schwarzkopf version with Walter Gieseking, for its spontaneity and naturalness. The other lieder fare extremely well and I wholeheartedly concur with the Grove Book of Opera, which emphasizes her ’beautiful voice, clarity of diction and innate musicianship’. Un moto di gioia KV 579 is extremely well-characterized. My only criticism of the lieder group would be Der Sylphe des Friedens ( Ridente la calma) KV 152/210 which seems to suffer from a certain strain and harshness of tone in high tessitura. All the songs are sung in German except for KV 579.
 
The remainder of the CD consists of arias from the four main operas. Apart from two arias from Cosi fan tutte, which are sung in Italian, Grümmer sings in German. The two arias from Le nozze di Figaro, in which Grümmer sings the role of the Countess, are distinguished by warmth, tenderness and sensitivity. Beauty of tone and exquisite phrasing are a hallmark throughout. In the two arias from Cosi, I did not feel that Grümmer was as comfortable singing in Italian and some of the diction sounded astringent. In the duet, Waldemar Kmentt in the role of Ferrando, is splendid. Pamina’s aria from Die Zauberflöte is sensitively sculpted with Grümmer achieving a purity of tone and graceful simplicity. It is a captivating performance.
 
This is a valuable collection of Mozart lieder and arias, sung by a soprano who, despite not being as well known as the likes of Schwarzkopf, Janowitz and Della Casa, deserves a wider audience. Considering the age of the BR recordings, the sound is excellent. Thomas Voigt has provided illuminating liner-notes. However, I was disappointed that texts and translations of the works were not supplied.
 
-- Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Warnung, K 433 (416c) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (), Hans Altmann (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/08/1956 
Venue:  Seidlhaus, München 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
Der Zauberer, K 472 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (), Hans Altmann (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/08/1956 
Venue:  Seidlhaus, München 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
3.
Ridente la calma, K 152 (210a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hans Altmann (Piano), Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772-1775; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/08/1956 
Venue:  Seidlhaus, München 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
Das Veilchen, K 476 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (), Hans Altmann (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/08/1956 
Venue:  Seidlhaus, München 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
5.
Die Verschweigung, K 518 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (), Hans Altmann (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/01/1960 
Venue:  Lothstraße, München 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
6.
Abendempfindung, K 523 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (), Hans Altmann (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/01/1960 
Venue:  Lothstraße, München 
Length: 4 Minutes 53 Secs. 
7.
Un moto di gioia, K 579 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (), Hans Altmann (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/01/1960 
Venue:  Lothstraße, München 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
8.
Le Nozze di Figaro: Rezitativ und Arie. Und Susanna kommt nicht - Wohin flohen die Wonnestunden? by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1962 
Venue:  Haus des Sports, Munich, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 39 Secs. 
9.
Le Nozze di Figaro: Kavatine. Hör mein Fleh'n, o Gott der Liebe by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Horst Stein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/14/1962 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
10.
Don Giovanni: Rezitativ und Arie. Ich grausam? O nein, Geliebter by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Horst Stein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/14/1962 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
11.
Così fan tutte: Rezitativ und Arie. Come scoglio immoto resta by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1962 
Venue:  Haus des Sports, Munich, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
12.
Così fan tutte: Rezitativ und Rondo. Ei parte, senti, ah no! - Per pietà, ben mio, perdona by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1962 
Venue:  Haus des Sports, Munich, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 7 Secs. 
13.
Così fan tutte: Duett. Seinen Armen eil' ich entgegen by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Waldemar Kmentt (), Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Horst Stein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/14/1962 
Venue:  Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
14.
Die Zauberflöte: Arie. Ach, ich fühl's, es ist entschwunden by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer ()
Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1962 
Venue:  Haus des Sports, Munich, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 

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