V2448. JANET BAKER, w.Martin Isepp (Pf.): Songs by Mozart, Fauré, Schubert, Wolf & Schumann (the latter's 'Liederkreis') - Live Performance, 1 Feb., 1969, Hunter College Assembly Hall, New York; Songs by Mozart, Brahms & Wagner (the latter's 'Wesendonck Lieder') - Live Performance, 20 Jan., 1970, Philharmonic Hall, New York; Janet Baker & Tom Krause, w.Steinberg Cond. Pittsburgh S.O.: Des Knaben Wunderhorn - excerpts (Mahler), Live Performance, 19 Feb., 1969, Carnegie Hall. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-310. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"And yet another Baker recital from Hunter College, but an important caveat applies here: unlike the other Baker Hunter College recitals, this one was not recorded from the front-center of the hall, thus the sound is distant and audience coughing is quite prominent. The Carnegie Hall portions are most beautiful, but alas the Seventh Avenue subway makes its ubiquitous rumbling appearance both arriving . . . and then departing, (accompanied by a very faint radio interference) during 'Im Treibhaus'. However, Baker's 'Abendempfindung' and 'Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer' alone are worth the price of another memorable evening."
- J. R. Peters
“While mezzo-soprano Janet Baker was best known for her performances of British music, especially that of her compatriot Benjamin Britten, she was also a fine performer of art song, sacred music, and Classical and pre-Classical opera. Her repertoire, as well as her background, frequently overlapped that of her great predecessor, Kathleen Ferrier; and though her career was mostly centered in England, and she always had a special place in the regard of English audiences, her fame was international.
In 1956, she won the second prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Competition; that year also saw her operatic debut as Roza in Smetana's THE SECRET, in an Oxford University Opera Club performance. In 1962, she first sang with the English Opera Group, as Polly in Benjamin Britten's famous production of THE BEGGAR'S OPERA at Aldeburgh. She later credited the leading spirits of that group, Britten and tenor Peter Pears, as giving the ensemble and its singers the highest possible standards, as well as raising the reputation of British singers internationally. In 1966, she made her Covent Garden début as Hermia in Britten's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and her Glyndebourne début as Purcell's Dido. In 1971, Britten wrote the role of Kate Julian for Baker in his opera OWEN WINGRAVE, written for BBC television.
As her operatic career progressed, Baker focused on pre-Classical and Classical works such as Gluck's ORFEO ED EURIDICE, Handel's GIULIO CESARE, the title role of Gluck's ALCESTE, Dido in Purcell's DIDO AND AENEAS, Ottavia in Monteverdi's L'INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA, and Dorabella in Mozart's COSI FAN TUTTE. However, she also performed Romantic and twentieth century roles such as Dido in Berlioz's LES TROYENS A CARTHAGE; Donizetti's MARIA STUARDA; Charlotte in Massenet's WERTHER; and Octavian in Richard Strauss' DER ROSENKAVALIER. Much of her recital repertoire was drawn from the standard works of Fauré, Schumann, Schubert, Duparc, Haydn, and Mahler, and the British masters such as Purcell and Elgar; however, she also drew from the works of lesser-known composers, particularly from the pre-classical period, taking special pleasure in bringing their works to public attention. In 1982, she gave her farewell performances as Orfeo in London and at Glyndebourne.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
“Tom Krause, the Finnish baritone, made his name singing Mozart, Verdi and Wagner and starred in the American premiere of Britten’s WAR REQUIEM. The WAR REQUIEM had been premiered at Coventry Cathedral in May 1962. The following January, Krause took on the role created by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for a performance at the Albert Hall with Peter Pears and Galina Vishnevskaya under Britten’s baton. The critics were quick to praise his ‘strong, flexible, most musicianly voice and impeccable English enunciation’. In July, on Britten’s recommendation, he was the sole singer from the London performances to transfer when the work was performed at Tanglewood, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf. Krause went on to sing it in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Carnegie Hall, New York.
Krause had a tall and commanding presence with brooding looks and a dark, resonant voice – once described as virile – that would immediately command attention. He spoke seven languages perfectly and was also a teacher who could draw the best out of his students and a singer who would happily share the spotlight with his fellow performers.
Tom Gunnar Krause made his début with the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1959 as Escamillo in CARMEN and three years later joined the State Opera in Hamburg, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1962 he also made his Bayreuth début in Wagner’s LOHENGRIN as well as appearing in his native Finland.
Krause appeared at Glyndebourne as the Count in Strauss’ CAPRICCIO opposite Elisabeth Söderstrom under John Pritchard in 1963. His début at the Met in 1967 was as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO with Cesare Siepi, Mirella Freni and Teresa Berganza. The following year he replaced an indisposed Nikolai Ghiarov in the title role of DON GIOVANNI under Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival, returning there regularly over the next 20 years. His association with the Met lasted until 1973 and included a thrilling Escamillo under Leonard Bernstein when Marilyn Horne sang Carmen. By then he had sung in the American premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony #13 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, and Samuel Barber had written his cantata THE LOVERS for him. His attention turned once more to Europe, and in particular to Opéra de Paris, though he came to the Royal Opera House in 1973. In 1978 he sang in a new production of CARMEN at the Edinburgh Festival with Berganza and Plácido Domingo under Claudio Abbado.
Later in life he began to perform songs by his compatriot Jean Sibelius, notably at a recital at the Wigmore Hall accompanied by Irwin Gage in May 1983. Many of these songs appeared on disc two years later in a glorious recording shared with Söderstrom. Indeed, Krause’s legacy on disc stretches to more than 80 recordings, including Kurnewal in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE with Birgit Nilsson under Georg Solti.
He found teaching to be enjoyable and inspiring, feelings that were reciprocated by his many students. In 1995 he gave a masterclass at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. In an interview with the BBC on that occasion he explained his belief that singers were born rather than made. ‘Some people are born with a Stradivarius in their head’, he said.”
- THE TELEGRAPH, 24 March, 2014
“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, 2011