V2068. THE HUGO WOLF SOCIETY, 1931-38 – The Complete Edition, incl. Gerhardt, Erb, Fuchs, Hüsch, Janssen, Kipnis, Ginster, Lemnitz, McCormack, Rethberg, Roswaenge, Trianti, Schorr & Weber. (England) 5-EMI 66640, in Boxed Set, w.elaborate 51pp booklet. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! – 724356664029
”The first HMV ‘Society’ edition was the Hugo Wolf Society floated in 1931, the fruits of which are presented in this CD reissue....The [Elena] Gerhardt records for the Society were made in London in November 1931. After the first tests came through a few sides were rejected, and replacements were made in December of that year. The rest is history. The Hugo Wolf Society, Volume One became one of the most desired rarities of the 78rpm era; five more volumes, recorded by a wonderful gallery of singers, were to follow before World War II brought the series to an end.
But not quite! In 1981, a careful study of dates and matrix numbers of the Wolf Society volumes revealed that several recordings were held over from one year (and one volume) to the next, presumably due to the problems of getting the artists in the right place at the right time. So it was not really surprising to discover that Janssen and Lemnitz had made several unissued titles. Furthermore, a 1937 session with Ludwig Weber, written up in Walter Legge’s handwriting as ‘For the Hugo Wolf Society’. was also found in the Archive. Other titles by Marta Fuchs and Karl Erb, recorded in 1937 and separately issued for a brief spell later, formed the basis of a supplementary volume of Wolf Society material published in 1981 in the LP reissue.
It is, of course, impossible to say whether all this material would have been used for subsequent volumes had the political situation in 1938-39 not made further Wolf Society releases inopportune. All five Lemnitz titles were issued on LP in Germany in 1967, and three were included in 1981, but in this 1998 CD edition ‘Auf eine Christblume I ‘ and ‘Schlafendes Jesuskind’’ also appear. Furthermore, the only remaining unpublished recordings from the Society sessions (featuring Janssen, Kipnis and Gerhardt) have now been discovered in the Archive. These, together with two further Janssen titles (recorded in 1938, but issued outside the Society volumes), conclude this reissue which we now feel able to describe as the Complete Edition’ of the Hugo Wolf Society recordings.
The legacy of Walter Legge’s extraordinary venture between 1931 and 1938 — recordings of 145 of Wolf’s songs in 148 performances (only three songs are duplicated) by 14 exceptional singers — is now available to a new generation of music lovers in an edition which we hope does justice to Legge’s achievement."
- Keith Hardwick & Ken Jagger