OP1627. DIE MEISTERSINGER, Live Performance, 1957, w.Cluytens Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Gustav Neidlinger, Elisabeth Grümmer, Walter Geisler, Gerhard Stolze, Karl Schmitt-Walter, Josef Greindl, etc. (E.U.) 4-Walhall 0214. - 4035122652147
“This German bass was one of the superb, black-voiced basses of the 1950s and 60s….There is great joy in Neidlinger’s singing, and a great, huge, cavernous, black voice to back it up.”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2011
“With a powerful bass-baritone of granite-like density and sharply honed dramatic instincts, Gustav Neidlinger was the foremost Alberich of his time. His realization of Wagner's misshapen creature had both the fearsome strength for the curse in DAS RHEINGOLD and the pathos that glinted through the crusty exterior to make Alberich a tragic character in SIEGFRIED and DIE GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. While Neidlinger capably essayed many other rôles during his long career, Alberich is the rôle that remains indelibly linked to his name.
After studies at the conservatory in Frankfurt am Mainz, Neidlinger made his début at Mainz in 1929. From 1931 to 1934, he was a member of the company in Mainz before transferring his activities to Plauen in 1934. In 1936, he began a long association with Hamburg, remaining with that company until 1950. During the 1950s, his career moved outward to include many of Europe's première venues. Two years after joining the Stuttgart Opera in 1950, he made his Bayreuth Festival début where his rôles embraced Alberich, Telramund, Kurwenal, Klingsor, and even Hans Sachs. He remained on the Bayreuth roster for 23 years. La Scala heard him for the first time in 1953, and beginning in 1956, he became a frequent visitor to the Wiener Staatsoper. In 1963, he appeared at Covent Garden as Telramund, winning further respect from an English public already familiar of his recorded Alberich (with Solti). Neidlinger appeared at the Metropolitan Opera for one season only, presenting his Alberich to New York audiences in 1972. The previous year, he had impressed the Chicago public with his RHEINGOLD Alberich, an interpretation histrionically frightening and vocally undiminished. During the final half-decade of his career, he appeared almost exclusively in Europe. In addition to his Alberich, recorded live at Bayreuth under both Clemens Krauss and Karl Böhm and in the studio under Solti, Neidlinger left a snarling Pizzaro on disc. His sturdy Kurwenal was captured live at Bayreuth. Neidlinger was made a German Kammersänger in 1952.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“In comparison with her contemporaries, Grümmer was a greatly under-recorded soprano. Since she possessed an attractive, cream-toned voice, a splendid florid technique, and a smooth legato delivery allied to a pleasing stage presence, it is curious that she was so neglected by the major record companies.”
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May / June, 2011
"Elisabeth Grümmer was one of a wonderful constellation of German lyric sopranos who dominated the Central European opera houses and concert halls in the 1950s and '60s."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2010
"Elisabeth Grümmer was one of the best German lyric sopranos of the 1950s and 60s….the listener will be struck by [her voice’s] beauty, its evenness and smoothness over its entire range. Grümmer was a stylish singer who colored her voice well and gave convincing portrayals of her operatic heroines."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan./Feb., 2005
“Josef Greindl was considered as one of the greatest Wagner singers of his time. He had a powerfully expressive bass voice, whose clarity of declamation exhibited his stylistic projecting ability. Josef Greindl was equally convincing in dramatic and Buffo rôles. He also excelled in concert singing.”
- Aryeh Oron
“André Cluytens was among the leading French conductors of his time. His father, Alphonse, was conductor at the Royal French Theater of Antwerp. André became his assistant and a choirmaster there. When an illness prevented Alphonse from conducting, André made his performance début in 1927. After that experience he devoted his efforts to orchestral and opera conducting rather than choral work, and he became a resident conductor in the house.
In 1932 he accepted a position as the musical director of orchestral concerts at the Capitole de Toulouse, and he became a French citizen. In 1935 was appointed the opera director in Lyons. He was an assistant of Josef Krips in a summer series in Vichy and, once again, was called on to substitute when that conductor could not perform. He became musical director of the Lyons Opera in 1942, conductor of the Conservatoire Concerts and the French National Radio Orchestra in Paris in 1943, and in 1944 conducted at the Opéra de Paris. From 1947 to 1953 he was music director of the Paris Opéra-Comique, and in 1949 was appointed as principal conductor of the Conservatory Concerts. He retained that position for the rest of his life. In 1955 he was invited to conduct LOHENGRIN at the Bayreuth Festival, the first French person to appear on the podium there. He débuted in the United States in 1956, and in Britain in 1958, when he substituted for Otto Klemperer. He formed a close relationship with the Vienna State Opera, which he first conducted in 1956, becoming a permanent guest conductor in 1959. In 1960 he became conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra in Belgium, also holding that post until his death. He also formed a close link with the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he made a notable recording of the Beethoven symphonies. However, he was primarily known for French repertoire, premiering works by Françaix, Jolivet, Messiaen, Milhaud, Tomasi, Büsser, and Bondeville. He was invited back to Bayreuth in 1965.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com