V2139. GERHARD HÜSCH, Vol.II, w.Hanns Udo Müller (Pfs): Winterreise (Schubert). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-058, recorded 1933. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Some of the very best Schubert lieder records ever made, [reminding] us - if we didn't know it already - of what a fine singer Mr. Husch was. [This] helps illuminate one of the central critical questions about the performance of lieder in our time: whether the detailed, precise inflections of such artists as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau serve the music or are excessively self-conscious.
For all his success in opera, however, it was as a lieder singer than Mr. Husch attained his greatest fame. Song recitals [on disk] were a rarity in the 30's. Mr. Husch became a specialist not only in Schubert, Schumann and Wolf, but also in such then-contemporary composers as Hans Pftizner, Paul Graener and Yrjo Kilpinen. At the same time, a young record executive named Walter Legge initiated the idea of private subscription societies to make lieder and chamber r ecordings commercially feasible. One of his first projects was the Hugo Wolf Society; Mr. Husch contributed notably to the Wolf project, was subsequently asked to record Schubert's WINTERREISE, and went on from there to do DIE SCHÖNE MÜLLERIN.
Song recitals are an intimate form, and the voice has always recorded more easily than instruments. In addition, the Germans led the world in recording technology in the 30's. As a result, these recordings sound perfectly listenable, and are hardly outdated on technical grounds.
Like so many great lieder singers, Mr. Hüsch did not have a grand and stentorian voice. It was securely produced, with a firm legato, a manly lower register and an interesting if slightly odd nasality higher up. He had a lively and subtle sense of rhythm, he articulated words directly and sensitively, and he had a special ability to project songs that demand wit, lyricism or honest directness. Mr. Husch emerges victorious in any comparison, and the reason is that some of us prefer a less selfconscious artistry. Mr. Husch catches the peasant vigor of the DIE SCHÖNE MÜLLERIN deliciously, yet can color his voice into tragic gravity for WINTERREISE.”
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 Oct., 1981
“In the 1930s Gerhard Hüsch (1901-1984) occupied a position among German lieder singers akin to that of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the 1950s and '60s. Today he's considered the exemplar of a style of singing that went out of fashion with the arrival of Fischer-Dieskau, his polar opposite. To oversimplify, Hüsch's main concern was with the music, using vocal colors, legato, and other bel canto means to convey meaning and emotions, while Fischer-Dieskau focused on the text, emphasizing words - and later, syllables - to communicate a song's message.”
-Dan Davis, Classics Today.com
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent’s natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 201
“St Laurent Studio has provided a fascinating snapshot…. Surface noise is retained, but its low level is easily assimilated into the listening experience.”
- Colin Clarke, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Spring, 2011