C1698. ERICH LEINSDORF Cond. Boston Symphony Orch., w.Charles Bressler, Beverly Sills, Hermann Prey, Thomas Paul, Florence Kopleff, Tatiana Troyanos, Batyah Godfrey & Veronica Tyler: Scenes from Goethe's FAUST (Schumann) [An outstanding, beautiful performance in the customary radiant sound displaying the refreshing acoustics of Symphony Hall!] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-739, Live Performance, 26 Feb., 1966, Symphony Hall, Boston. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Charles F. Bressler, a tenor who appeared in numerous recital, oratorio and opera performances in New York City and around the world, was a favorite soloist with many local choruses, including the New York Pro Musica Antiqua, the Cantata Singers, the Collegiate Chorale and Musica Sacra. In a 1986 review of Musica Sacra's performance of Bach's ST. JOHN PASSION, Bernard Holland wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES, ‘Charles Bressler's Evangelist was splendid, expressive musically and leaping fearlessly into Bach's intricate shifts in key’.
He sang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic and performed for the openings of both the Kennedy Center in Washington and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He also sang with the Chicago Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony and the Orchestre de Paris, as well as the Santa Fe and San Francisco operas.
Mr. Bressler taught at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Brooklyn College, the Mannes College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, and recorded for several labels.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 Dec., 1996
"Beverly Sills was the acclaimed Brooklyn-born coloratura soprano who was more popular with the American public than any opera singer since Enrico Caruso.
Sills won the greatest reviews of her career [as Cleopatra in Handel’s GIULIO CESARE, 1966, New York City Opera]. Critics praised her adroit handling of the music’s florid fioratura, her perfect trills, her exquisite pianissimo singing and her rich sound….Suddenly she was an opera super-star. In 1968 she had another enormous success in the title role of Massenet’s MANON. When the production was revived the next year, the NEW YORKER critic Winthrop Sargent wrote: ‘If I were recommending the wonders of New York City to a tourist, I should place Beverly Sills as Manon at the top of the list…".
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 July, 2007
"Though Mr. Prey's voice was a mellow, lyric baritone, he sang with such focused sound and robust projection that he enjoyed an active career in opera. He avoided the heavier Verdi roles, but excelled at Mozart, Gluck, Rossini, and lighter Strauss and Wagner roles. One of his great achievements was Beckmesser in Wagner's MEISTERSINGER, which he sang at the Met in 1993. To his characterization of a town clerk in medieval Nuremberg, typically portrayed as a scheming buffoon, Mr. Prey brought an emotional complexity and light-on-the-feet comic grace that made Beckmesser endearing.
Mr. Prey's voice was ideally suited to lieder, and he left a large and important discography, including songs by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Mahler, and Carl Loewe, a neglected 19th-century composer whom Mr. Prey championed. Commenting on Mr. Prey's 1985 recording of Schubert's WINTERREISE with the pianist Philippe Bianconi, The New York Times critic Bernard Holland wrote: ‘This is Schubert singing that does not twist sound for pictorial or dramatic effect but instead creates, with unusual musical clarity and purity of tone, a narrative voice which, though concerned and moved, tells the story first and lives it only indirectly’."
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 July, 1998
“The American bass, Thomas Paul, studied at the Juilliard School of Music New York with Hans Heinz, and for orchestra conducting. He studied singing with Beverly Johnson, Gibner Kind and Cornelius Reid, New York.
Thomas Paul's stage debut was in 1962 at the New York City Centre Opera as Sparafucile in RIGOLETTO. His career took place particularly in the USA and in Canada. There he sang in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston/Texas, in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Paul, in Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Vancouver and Montréal, but mostly at the New York City Centre Opera New York. In 1964 he worked also with the Central City Festival in the premiere of the opera LADY FROM COLORADO by Ward, which was also performed at the Aspen Festival. In the years 1962-1977, he performed many times at the Carmel Bach Festival under Sandor Salgo.
From Thomas Paul's stage repertoire should be mentioned: Figaro in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Sarastro in ZAUBERFLÖTE, Pogner in MEISTERSINGER, the title role in Béla Bartók's BLUE-BEARD’S CASTLE, Mephisto in Gounod’s FAUST, the Father in Charpentier’s LOUISE, Padre Guardiano in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, Rocco in FIDELIO, Tiresias in Stravinsky’s OEDIPUS REX, Raimondo in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Ptolemaeus in Handel’s GIULIO CEDSARE and Don Marco in Menotti’s THE SAINT OF BLEECKER STREET. In the concert halls he also performed a comprehensive repertoire.”
- Bach Cantatas Website
"Active chiefly as a concert and oratorio soloist, [Kopleff] appeared frequently with the Robert Shaw Chorale and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shaw. Kopleff appeared on several of the Chorale's popular LP recitals in the 1950s and '60s, including 'The Stephen Foster Songbook', 'Irish Folk Songs' and 'The Great Choruses from MESSIAH'. Other conductors with whom Kopleff worked and recorded included Charles Munch, Fritz Reiner and Maurice Abravanel."
- OPERA NEWS, Nov., 2012
"Erich Leinsdorf, a conductor whose abrasive intelligence and deep musical learning served as a conscience for two generations of conductors, had a utilitarian stage manner and his disdain of dramatic effects for their own sake stood out as a not-so-silent rebuke to his colleagues in this most glamorous of all musical jobs. In addition, Mr. Leinsdorf - in rehearsal, in the press and in his valuable book on conducting, THE COMPOSER'S ADVOCATE - never tired of pointing out gaps in culture among musicians, faulty editing among music publishers and errors in judgment or acts of ignorance among his fellow conductors. He rarely named his victims, but his messages and their targets were often clear. Moreover, he usually had the solid grasp of facts to support his contentions.
Mr. Leinsdorf moved to this country from Vienna in 1937. Helped by the recommendation of Arturo Toscanini, whom he had been assisting at the Salzburg Festival, Mr. Leinsdorf made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera a year later with DIE WALKURE. He was 25 years old at the time . A year later he was made overseer of the Met's German repertory, and his contentious style - in particular an insistence on textual accuracy and more rehearsal - won him no friends among singers like Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad. Backed by management, he remained at the Met until 1943. At the New York City Opera, where he became music director in 1956, Mr. Leinsdorf's demanding policies in matters of repertory and preparation made him further enemies, and he left a year later. His searches for permanent employment turned mostly to orchestras. After the briefest of tenures at the Cleveland Orchestra during World War II, Mr. Leinsdorf took over the Rochester Philharmonic and stayed for nine years.
Mr. Leinsdorf's last and most prestigious music directorship was at the Boston Symphony, where he replaced Charles Munch in 1962. No contrast in style could have been sharper: Munch had viewed conducting mystically, as a kind of priesthood; Mr. Leinsdorf's policy was to make performances work in the clearest and most rational way. Observers both in and out of the orchestra could not deny the benefits of Mr. Leinsdorf's discipline, but there were some who were hostile to what they perceived as an objectivity that could hardly be called heartwarming.
One American orchestra manager a few years ago responded to musicians' grumblings over Mr. Leinsdorf's rehearsal manner by saying that he was 'good for my orchestra'. And so he probably was."
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 Sept., 1993