V2457. MAUREEN FORRESTER, w.John Newmark (Pf.): Songs by Haydn, Wolf, Poulenc, Benjamin Lees & Robert Fleming (the final song in Fleming's CONFESSION STONE Cycle is incomplete). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-338, Live Performance, 2 Feb., 1968, Carnegie Hall. [Excellent sound in the Carnegie Hall acoustic, recorded on an Uher recorder with Sennheiser mike from a choice location in the Hall, far from audience members, virtually unmarred by audience noise, albeit the Seventh Avenue subway makes its ubiquitous rumbling appearance both arriving . . . and then departing! Recorded independent of extraneous audience noise, this recording captures the spontaneity of the recital with no more than the occasional applause at appropriate moments, never within groups - it was a duly cultured audience! Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Maureen Forrester, the Canadian contralto was revered for her opulent voice and musical elegance and especially acclaimed for her performances of Mahler; she sang the broader mezzo-soprano repertory, rightly considered herself a contralto, the lowest and rarest female voice. In her prime she was a classic contralto with a plummy, deep-set sound. Yet she had a full-bodied upper voice and could sing passagework in Handel arias with agility. She sang Mahler and German lieder with impeccable diction.
Ms. Forrester was little known in the United States when she made her New York recital début at Town Hall in November 1956 with the pianist John Newmark, who became her longtime accompanist. She won rave reviews. ‘Miss Forrester has a superb voice of generous compass and volume’, Edward Downes wrote in The New York Times. ‘Its color ranges from a darkly resonant chest register to a brilliantly focused top with a middle register that she makes velvet soft or reedy according to her expressive intent’. At the time, the conductor Bruno Walter, who had been a close associate of Mahler’s, was looking for a contralto to sing in a performance and a recording of Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony with the New York Philharmonic. He invited Ms. Forrester, then 27, to sing for him, and hired her. The recording is now considered a classic. Ms. Forrester went on to record Mahler’s DAS LIED VON DER ERDE with Walter and soon became an acknowledged exponent of Mahler. She was best known for her recital work and performances with orchestras, and appeared with many leading conductors, including Eugene Ormandy, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.”
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 June, 2010
“John Newmark (Neumark) was a pianist, accompanist & chamber musician, born in Bremen, 12 June, 1904, then naturalized as a Canadian in 1946. Newmark wanted to leave Germany, but it was not until 1939 that he was able to get to London. There he took part in concerts, notably with the soprano Emmy Heim and the violinist Max Rostal. In 1944 Newmark settled permanently in Montréal, where his services were soon in demand by eminent Canadian and foreign soloists. In 1949 he gave concerts in South America with Goldberg and accompanied Kathleen Ferrier on two extended tours of North America. With her, in 1950, he recorded song cycles of Schumann and Brahms for Decca-London & Brahms' ‘Vier Ernste Gesänge’. In 1952 he won a Grand prix du disque de l'Académie Charles-Cros.
Newmark accompanied more than 80 foreign and at least 160 Canadian artists and has recorded with several of the most prominent. His long collaboration with Maureen Forrester began in 1953; with her he toured the world. After a Toronto recital by the team, John Kraglund wrote (GLOBE AND MAIL, 18 Jan 1960): 'Superb as Miss Forrester was, much of the credit for the exceptionally high quality of the recital must go to Mr. Newmark. Always a reliable accompanist, he gave inspired performances throughout the evening, providing an integral part of each song, without being guilty of either too much or too little'.”
- Gilles Potvin, HISTORICA CANADA