OP2638. LULU, recorded 1949-51, w.Herbert Häfner Cond. Vienna Opera Ensemble; Ilona Steingruber, Waldemar Kmentt, Otto Wiener, Maria Cerny, etc. (E.U.) 2-Archipel 0540. Specially priced. - 4035122405408
"This first recording of Berg's LULU was made either in 1949 or in the spring of 1951, either way, the original shows its age and was rightly criticised for sonic shortcomings when eventually reviewed in its Philips release in Britain in 1962 (the reviewer also lamented that the opera was unlikely to receive another recording, let alone in stereo, in 'our lifetimes'…). The obvious shortcoming of this, as with any other recording of this opera before 1979, is the lack of a complete third act. Berg's failure to complete the sketches he'd made for the final act prior to his death, and his wife's insistence that (after an abortive effort by Schönberg) nobody else should do so, means that the recording here presents merely the orchestral music which would have finished the opera.”
- Andrew Rose
“The Austrian composer Alban Berg is usually mentioned in the same breath as his two like-minded contemporaries, Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern, with whom he formed the Second Viennese School of composition and explored the potential of Serialist techniques for expanding music’s perspectives in the wake of Wagner and Mahler.
Berg is generally considered to have developed a more human, emotional style than the stricter Serialists, and his works often have a more lyrical feel.”
- David Smith, Presto Classical
“Waldemar Kmentt, born in Vienna in 1929, was the Vienna State Opera’s ‘house tenor’ for more than 20 years. In that capacity he was known for his versatility and dependability, singing 78 rôles in almost 1500 performances from 1952 to 1973….His was a smooth and attractive lyric tenor with solid high notes up to and including high C….I know of no other ‘house tenor’ whose singing was consistently on his high level.”
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2009
"In 1955, Kmentt sang Jaquino in Beethoven's FIDELIO for the reopening of the Vienna State Opera, and performed internationally in roles such as Mirko Zeta in THE MERRY WIDOW until the turn of the century. During all this time, the tenor Waldemar Kmentt gave countless dazzling performances on the world's greatest opera stages. This portrait in honour of his 80th birthday is an impressive reflection of his versatility, with excerpts from roles he performed at the Vienna State Opera, where he was based, and where he received the title of 'Kammersänger' and was eventually made an honorary member. The flexibility and brilliant timbre of his voice brought him many roles at the State Opera, both in the legendary Mozart Ensemble under Karl Böhm and as an 'Italian' tenor (though, as usual at that time, mostly in German). A brilliant rendering of the Italian tenor’s aria from DER ROSENKAVALIER in 1968 under Leonard Bernstein, concludes the cross-section of the prodigious career of a tenor who, ever modest, never relied on mere showmanship."
“Otto Wiener was an Austrian baritone, notable for his performances in the operas of Richard Wagner. He was born in Vienna, joined the Vienna Boys' Choir at the age of six, and started his adult career as a concert singer before making his stage début in 1953 at Graz in the title-role of SIMON BOCCANEGRA. He subsequently sang with the opera companies at Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin and performed at the Vienna State Opera from 1957 onwards and at the Bavarian State Opera from 1960. He appeared at the Salzburg Festival in 1955 and sang there in the stage première of Frank Martin's LE MYSTÈRE DE LA NATIVITÉ.
Wiener first appeared at the Bayreuth Festival in 1957, and sang there until 1963 as Hans Sachs in DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG, Gunther in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, Wotan in DAS RHEINGOLD and in the title-role of DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER. In 1962 he performed the role of Sachs at both the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Metropolitan Opera. In 1964, he appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in the role of La Roche in CAPRICCIO.
Wiener was one of the highest and brightest of the successful heldenbaritones of the 1950s and 60s. He was cast in roles usually reserved for deeper, darker voices because his technique was so relaxed, well-projected, and free. Wiener retired in 1976 and died in Vienna.”
-Zillah Dorset Akron