OP0138. Die Entführung aus dem Serail, 24 Oct., 1937, w.Steiner Cond. Berlin Reichssenders Ensemble; Wilhelm Strienz, Lea Piltti, Irma Beilke, Karl Erb, Erich Zimmermann & Lothar Körner; WILHELM STRIENZ: Excerpts from Boris Godounov, 5 Jan., 1938; Fidelio, 21 Feb., 1937. (Germany) 2-Gebhardt 0024. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 4035122000245
“Wilhelm Strienz was born in Stuttgart 2 September, 1900, and became a singer with the fledgling Westdeutscher Rundfunk radio station in Clogne, prior to the outbreak of World War I. Strienz was a cadet in the German navy in the final year of World War I. After a family friend introduced him to the Director of the Stuttgart Music Conservatory who was fascinated by Strienz's deep voice. The Director encouraged him to have singing lessons and enter music as a profession. In early 1923, Strienz made his first professional appearances and then received work as a recording artist. His operatic début was as the Hermit in DER FREISCHÜTZ at the Deutschen Opernhaus, Berlin, with Scheidl & Reuss-Belce. He went on to Wiesbaden and Stuttgart where he appeared in ZAR UND ZIMMERMANN and as Mefisto in FAUST. He appeared at London’s Royal Opera House in 1937-38, and consequently sang Sarastro in Beecham’s legendary recording of DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE.
Interestingly, Wilhelm Strienz's music career was sidelined at the beginning of the Third Reich in 1933 as he was banned for two years from performing in Germany for declining Nazi Party membership. By 1935, Strienz was again a popular radio star in the now German Reich. In that which would eventually become the world-famous Sunday night German Armed Forces radio request show, the Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, Wilhelm Strienz’s tremendous talent would find an international audience.
Born into a Finnish musical family….[Piltti’s] rise to fame was further boosted when she sang Zerbinetta in ARIADNE under the composer’s baton. At the conclusion of her big aria, Strauss turned to the audience and called out a resounding ‘Bravo’….The voice is sweet-toned if rather on the white side, but with an easy top, lacking any hint of shrillness. Her coloratura technique is generally sound, enabling her to tackle the fearsome peaks of Zerbinetta’s aria with consummate ease."
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2005
“…the recital magician Karl Erb…had been a member of the Munich ensemble all the way back in the days when Bruno Walter wielded the baton on the conductor’s podium of the opera house. Hans Pfitzner himself was the one who elevated Erb’s unique interpretation of the title rôle in his PALESTRINA to a position high in the heavens of his admiration. The remarkable thing about Erb’s song interpretation was that it was not just the sheer beauty of his voice that made all the difference…it was also his interpretative acumen. I had the good fortune to be able to learn and profit from the impressions any number of great recitalists made on me in the course of my long life, but ultimately it was Paul Bender and Karl Erb who sparked my great love for the art song.”
- Hans Hotter, MEMOIRS, pp.122-23
“Lea Piltti, the great Finnish coloratura, was another artist Strauss admired (she recorded some of Strauss’ Lied, with him accompanying). She had a beautiful, floated high register that sits easily on the ear, and an artistic, sincere style of singing.”
- Nicholas E. Limansky, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 1995