Wolfgang Schneiderhan;  Irmgard Seefried       (Audite 95.644)
Item# S0700
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Wolfgang Schneiderhan;  Irmgard Seefried       (Audite 95.644)
S0700. WOLFGANG SCHNEIDERHAN, w.Paul Hindemith Cond.: Concerto #5 in A, K.219 (Mozart), Live Performance 13 Aug., 1952; w.Leitner Cond.: Concerto #1 (Henze), Live Performance, 26 Aug., 1964; WOLFGANG SCHNEIDERHAN & IRMGARD SEEFRIED, w.Haitink Cond.: Magnificat (Frank Martin), (all w.Swiss Festival Orch., Kunsthaus, Lucerne). (Germany) Audite 95.644. Final Sealed Copy! - 4022143956446


"An outstanding violinist of the twentieth century, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, born in Vienna in 1915, was concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic for many years before turning to his solo career entirely. As a chamber musician - for instance with his Schneiderhan Quartet or in the trio with Edwin Fischer and Enrico Mainardi - he also proved to be influential. Schneiderhan was one of the defining artists in the history of the Lucerne Festival: between 1949 and 1986 he gave an amazing forty-two concerts; as Georg Kulenkampff's successor, he directed the masterclasses over several decades; and in 1956, together with his former student Rudolf Baumgartner, he founded the Lucerne Festival Strings.

The range of Schneiderhan's repertoire is also displayed in these three Lucerne live recordings, now released for the first time. His commitment for the music of his time becomes particularly evident: he performs Henze's highly virtuosic First Violin Concerto (which he would go on to record on disc as well, with the composer conducting) alongside Martin's Magnificat. The Swiss composer had composed this unusually scored work, which one year later would be expanded into his Maria-Triptychon, for Schneiderhan and his wife, the soprano Irmgard Seefried - the Lucerne live recording of the world premiere with the two dedicatées therefore represents an exceptional archive discovery. The early recording of Mozart's final violin concerto on the other hand shows Schneiderhan as a representative of the Viennese Mozart tradition. Here, his partner at the podium of the Swiss Festival Orchestra is Paul Hindemith who can be experienced as a conductor of classical repertoire.

The 32-page booklet in three languages provides extensive background information on Wolfgang Schneiderhan in Lucerne, and also features photos from the Festival archives published here for the very first time."

- Audite

“In the 1940's and early 1950's, Irmgard Seefried was a paragon among German lyric sopranos, her voice fresh and crystalline, her stage presence vital and attractive. Although she was an intelligent and well-prepared artist, the impression she made was one of considerable spontaneity. Her Susanna in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO and Pamina in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE were very different creations, the first piquant and cunning, the latter direct and innocent, though never the pallid personality others have imposed upon her. Her Composer in Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS was a defining interpretation, ardently sung and passionately acted. It was captured in live performance in 1944 and, again, in the studio a decade later when her voice was at its zenith.

She studied at Augsburg University, first with Albert Meyer and, later, with Paola Novikova (with whom she continued to work long after her career was established). Her stage début took place at Aachen in 1940 when she sang the Priestess in a production of AÏDA. After Nuri in d'Albert's TIEFLAND, she was shocked to find that the theater's music director, Herbert von Karajan, had scheduled her for Donna Anna in DON GIOVANNI. As she acknowledged later, she ‘got away’ with the role due to the theater's small size and a very lyric approach to the highly dramatic role.

After three years in Aachen, Seefried moved to Vienna where she joined that theater's ensemble of extraordinary Mozart singers. Her wartime performances were accomplished under circumstances of utter privation: little heat, little food, repeated trips to shelters during both rehearsals and performances. Seefried's Eva under Karl Böhm established her as an artist with an unlimited future and she quickly became a favorite with the Vienna public. She was honored by being chosen to appear as the Composer in ARIADNE to celebrate Richard Strauss' 80th birthday and in 1946 made her first appearance at Salzburg where her Pamina became legendary. London heard her in 1947 when she performed Susanna and Fiordiligi with the visiting Vienna Opera. Susanna served for her début role at La Scala in 1949. Although her Susanna was well-received at the Metropolitan Opera in November 1953, Seefried did not return to that theater, but did make memorable appearances with Chicago's Lyric Opera beginning in 1961. Chicago heard her Zerlina and Marzelline in her début year and her still-wonderful Composer in 1964.

In addition to opera, Seefried was a first-rank interpreter of Lieder and a concert singer much in demand. In her prime years, her singing of the soprano solo portions of Bach's ST. MATTHEW PASSION, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and, above all, Haydn's CREATION was unsurpassed. She performed all three of these works with Wilhelm Furtwängler, an influential guide and mentor. Seefried's recitals at Salzburg and elsewhere came to be treasured events. Many of her earlier Lieder recordings support the reputation she enjoyed among connoisseurs of beautiful and communicative singing.”

- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com