OP2837. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, recorded 1950, Leipzig, w.Konwitschny Cond. Leipzig Ensemble; Ludwig Suthaus, Margarete Bäumer, Gottlob Frick, Karl Wolfram, etc. (Germany) 3-Archipel 0023. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 7640104000235
“Franz Konwitschny (1901-62) was a large and rotund fellow, a fine musician who is less known internationally than he should have been, mostly because he rarely ventured outside the communist controlled east European countries. He was for many years director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and his recordings with them include a fine stereo set of the Beethoven symphonies. Actually, he was a powerful Beethoven conductor, and his Eroica with the Staatskapelle Dresden is surely among the best of the 20th Century. He was a fine opera conductor also, and made excellent recordings of Wagner’s FLYING DUTCHMAN, TANNHÄUSER and TRISTAN."
- John P. McKelvey, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2012
”Almost forgotten a generation after his death, Franz Konwitschny, director of both the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig and the Berlin State Opera from 1949 until his death in 1962, was much the finest and by far the most successful East German conductor of his time. Konwitschny didn't seek to match the glamour of Herbert von Karajan, his West German opposite; he was interested in something else entirely. Born in 1901 at the height of German romantic idealism, Konwitschny came of age in the milieu of post-War modernism, and in his maturity the one influence tempered the other so that the classic Konwitschny performances were clean and lucid but enormously concentrated and unbearably intense. For latter-day [listeners] who know best Karajan's more charismatic recordings, Konwitschny's will clear the mind, cleanse the palette and sooth the spirit.”
- James Leonard, allmusic.com
“Ludwig Suthaus was one of the most important heldentenors in the 1930-51s era. His baritone-based voice was one of great power coupled with sensitivity to text and music. He was able to scale his operatic voice down to the simplicity of a lieder recital. He could produce a warmth of color with ease. Brilliant high notes were also part of his vocal arsenal.”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2007
“Margarete Bäumer made comparatively few recordings and was quite neglected by the recording studios when she was in her prime. The later recordings (TANNHÄUSER, ROSENKAVALIER andTRISTAN) were made when her voice showed signs of a decline. Margaret Bäumer is one of the very good Wagner sopranos on records. Her voice is a beautifully warm and dramatic instrument, combined with much brilliance and a strong attack in the upper register. The color of her voice reminds one of a young woman. This ‘girlish’ tone is very suitable to Brünnhilde and Elisabeth. It is a pity that she had to sing some duets opposite the ‘mature’ tenors - Walther Kirchhoff, Reimer Minten and August Seider. Only Gotthelf Pistor is up to her task.
After having studied in Düsseldorf and Cologne Bäumer made her first operatic appearance at the age of 29 at the opera house of Barmen-Elmerfeld. The singer accepted an offer from Düsseldorf’s opera house in 1923, but went to Zürich only one year later. From 1925 to 1928 she appeared regularly in Stuttgart. Bruno Walter and Heinz Tietjen invited her to Berlin’s Städtische Oper where she shared the dramatic soprano repertoire with Helene Wildbrunn. She also appeared in Barcelona, Prague, Geneva, Paris, Copenhagen, Riga and Amsterdam. In 1930 Bäumer became a member of the German Grand Opera Society in New York and was heard on all major North American stages. Returning to Germany in 1931 she accepted an offer from the Opera House of Nürnberg and sang during the following season in Mannheim. As a result of her appearance as Kundry she became Leipzig’s leading dramatic soprano for over two decades until 1953. Apart from that she began to teach at Leipzig’s Music Academy. In 1969 Margarete Bäumer retired and died shortly afterwards.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
“If the name Gottlob Frick appears on the recording, I buy it. The great German bass had a huge, black as midnight voice – a grand rolling cantante of rich sound.”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May / June, 2011