V2372. WILHELM STRIENZ: Songs by Gretchaninov; Arias from Don Carlos, I Vespri Siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Martha, Die Zauberflöte, Entführung, Der Barbier von Bagdad, Der Wildschütz, Der Waffenschmied, Prodaná Nevesta, Boris & Eugen Onégin. (Austria) Preiser 89089, recorded 1935-40. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 717281890892
“After studies with Theodor Scheidl and Luise Reuss Belce, Strienz débuted in the Berlin Deutsche Oper in 1922 as the Hermit in Weber's DER FREISCHÜTZ. In the following years he distinguished himself at the opera houses of Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart.
In 1933 Wilhelm Strienz joined the Sturmabteilung (Ernst Röhm’s brownshirts) and produced a series of propaganda hits on themes such as ‘Being German means being faithful’ and ‘Fly, German flag, fly’. He regularly contributed to cultural Nazi propaganda, which did not deter London’s Covent Garden opera house from engaging him. In 1936, he sang in the National Socialist Cultural Community film ETERNAL FOREST.
Because of his great popularity, the Nazi regime called him after the beginning of World War II to participate in the so-called film 'Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht' (Request Concert for the Wehrmacht). From 1940 he appeared as a soloist in various war popaganda songs as a soldier in Poland. He also appeared in the propaganda films request concert (1940) and Front Theatre (1942). In 1944, the Third Reich’s propaganda and culture minister Joseph Goebbels issued a list of artists who were exempted from military duty. The list included individuals deemed too valuable for sacrifice on the battlefield - and friends of the regime. The Gottbegnadeten-Liste (God-gifted list) included authors, architects, painters, sculptors, composers (including 80-year-old Richard Strauss), conductors as well as singers and actors. Included on that list was Wilhelm Strienz.
These artists enjoyed protection because of their sometimes unwitting collaboration in Goebbels’ endeavours of feeding a positive mood among an increasingly demoralised German population that had lost its youth on battlefields, its homes in bombed cities and its comforts with shortages in food, heat and clothing. It had long been Goebbels’ strategy to distract the German population from the less savoury sides of life under Nazism. Throughout the Nazi-era, he actively promoted light and apolitical feel-good films and songs (much as Hollywood did during the Depression). This meant that artists who were critical of the regime could work in the German film industry without troubling their conscience. Most probably they did not realise that they were being used.
He continued to take operatic engagements, touring at London 's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in 1937/38 he sang Sarastro in the legendary recording of Mozart's DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Thomas Beecham.
In the immediate post-war period, German broadcasters boycotted him since his name had been associated with the Nazi propaganda of the war years. Strienz continued his vocal activity and made successful tours and received a Decca recording contract. In 1963 ended Strienz his singing career and retired to private life.”
- Don Carlos