OP0020. WOZZECK (Berg), Live Performance, 1951, w.Mitropoulos Cond. NYPO; Mack Harrell, Eileen Farrell, Frederick Jagel, David Lloyd, Ralph Herbert, etc.; Mitropoulos Cond. NYPO: Symphonic Elegy (Krenek); w.Dorothy Dow: Ewartung (Schönberg), both 19 Nov., 1951, Carnegie Hall. (Austria) 2-Sony MH2K 62759. Slipcase Edition has 51pp. Brochure, w.archival photos & 103pp. Libretto; Discs feature original Columbia LP labels. Outstanding sound quality! Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 074646275924
“…the Mitropoulos WOZZECK was a pleasure. I’m continually amazed at the results that Sony has achieved in resuscitating the glories of its back catalog….It may not be the most accurate on record, but this WOZZECK still conveys the tragedy better than most of the modern competition.”
- Christopher Abbot, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 1998
“Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos stood apart from the European traditions that dominated first-rank American orchestras for much of the twentieth century. After attending the Athens Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition, his opera BÉATRICE was presented there. The French composer Saint-Saëns was in the audience, and was so impressed that he arranged a scholarship that enabled the 24-year-old to study composition with the Belgian composer Paul Gilson and piano with Busoni in Berlin. Busoni persuaded him to abandon composition and concentrate on becoming a conductor.
From 1921 to 1925, Mitropoulos assisted Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera and on Kleiber's recommendation, was appointed conductor of the Hellenic Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Athens. In 1927, he became conductor of the Greek State Symphony Orchestra and in 1930 was engaged to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he instituted the practice of conducting from the piano.
In 1937 Mitropoulos succeeded Eugene Ormandy as musical director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. He became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and remained in America until 1959. After 12 years in Minneapolis, he was invited to share the conductorship of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Stokowski, becoming its conductor when Stokowski resigned in 1950. Mitropoulos resigned the post after sharing the podium with Leonard Bernstein, his co-principal conductor, in the Orchestra's 1958 tour of Latin America. From 1954, he was a dynamic force as Bruno Walter's successor at the Metropolitan Opera, where he introduced many new operas, including ones by Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber.
Mitropoulos never conducted his own works, but considered his best composition to be a Concerto Grosso written in 1929. He lived simply and took little part in social activities. His conducting style was passionate, highly-charged and demonstrative; he had a phenomenal memory and rarely used a baton. He programmed much modern music and particularly admired Schönberg and the Second Viennese School, such as Webern and Berg, as well as twentieth century American and British composers. His recording of Mahler's First Symphony made with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1941 was the first ever made in the U.S. of that work, and Mitropoulos was awarded the American Mahler Medal of Honor in 1950 for his work in promoting the composer's music. He died while rehearsing Mahler's Third Symphony with Toscanini's famous La Scala Orchestra.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com
“Like Lillian Nordica [Farrell] had a huge flexible voice and a seamless scale….as with Nilsson and the young Régine Crespin, recorded sound merely hints at Farrell’s impact. In fact, only Crespin could match Farrell’s middle register: voluptuous, enveloping, immense but soft-focused. This led to serious comparisons with Kirsten Flagstad….softly intense...the big soaring phrases literally lifted some of the audience out of their seats.”
- Albert Innaurato, EMI Program Notes
“With Farrell…we are on the way back to look at American singing in the forties and fifties….In certain records she even achieves a Callas-like intensity….The touch of greatness in Farrell is sufficient to make one wonder why the evident goodness was not more extensively recorded and still more widely acclaimed.”
- J. B. Steane, THE GRAND TRADITION, p.421
“Frederick Jagel began his education with William Brady and Vincenzo Portanova in New York and concluded with Corace Cataldi-Tassoni in Milan. He made his début in 1924 at the Teatro in Livorno under the name Federico Jeghelli as Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME. He guested at different Italian operatic stages and sang during a season at the Italian Opera in Holland. In 1927 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York where he appeared longer than twenty years (under his own name Frederick Jagel). He made his début as Radames. At the Metropolitan Opera he was highly acclaimed especially as an interpreter of the Italian repertoire, however, he also sang Wagner roles (Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan) and in 1930 the role of Gritzko in the Met première of Mussorgsky’s THE FAIR AT SOROCHYNTSI. His special star role was Herod in SALOME. In 1948 he sang the title role in the Met première of PETER GRIMES. From 1930 he guested regularly at the San Francisco Opera, in 1928 and in the 1939-1941 seasons at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1943 he appeared at the Chicago Opera‘ as Lohengrin, in 1942 at the City Center Opera as Herod.”
- Ashot Arkelyan