Palestrina   (Pfitzner)   (Heger;  Patzak, Hotter, Frantz, Klarwein, Nentwig)    (3-Myto  975.170 - or - 974.170)
Item# OP0345
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Palestrina   (Pfitzner)   (Heger;  Patzak, Hotter, Frantz, Klarwein, Nentwig)    (3-Myto  975.170 - or - 974.170)
OP0345. PALESTRINA (Pfitzner), Live Performance, 24 July, 1951, Prinzregententheater, München, w.Heger Cond. Bayerischen Staatsoper Ensemble; Julius Patzak, Hans Hotter, Ferdinand Frantz, Franz Klarwein, Käthe Nentwig, etc.; JULIUS PATZAK: Arias from Manon & Werther - recorded 1929 & 1937. (Croatia) 3-Myto 975.170 [spine reads 974.170]. Long out-of-print, final copy! - 608974501709


"Patzak's PALESTRINA was famous - justly so. His voice had an edge of melancholy as part of its basic sound, and he was a remarkable, and remarkably subtle, vocal actor. He lives the role with a mixture of introspection, despair, and transcendent peace that brings this difficult part to life....If you like this opera, find and buy this release. I don't know how long it will stay available, and you'll be disappointed if you miss it."

- Stephen D. Chakwin, Jr., AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 1998

"Hans Pfitzner was one of the composers who carried the German Romantic tradition well into the 20th century. Unlike those of his contemporaries Mahler and Richard Strauss, his reputation never seemed to extend beyond the borders of his homeland. Yet there is much that is individualistic and much to admire from his body of work - particularly in his best-known work, the opera PALESTRINA.

The crown of Pfitzner's work is arguably his opera PALESTRINA (1915), based on the life of the Renaissance composer and quoting passages of that master's music. Pfitzner may have seen himself in the opera's protagonist, as a man who, sticking to his principles, upholds musical tradition against the depredations of power. (The opera treats the legendary effort on Palestrina's part to compose a work beautiful and spiritual enough to foretell the banning of polyphony under consideration by the architects of the Counter Reformation.) Also noteworthy is Pfitzner's cantata VON DEUTSCHER SEELE (Of the German Soul) of 1920. Both works are in the highly chromatic, richly sonorous tradition of post-Romanticism, and could never be mistaken for mere throwbacks to the 19th century.

Although the Romantic revival of the 1960s did not do for Pfitzner what it did for many of his contemporaries, there is much of his output worth hearing. At his best, Pfitzner spoke with the eloquence and intensity of one who consciously lives during the close of a glorious era."

- Wayne Reisig,

"On April 30, 1945, 'zero hour', in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, while American G.I.s paid their respects to Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner was living with his second wife in a single room in a makeshift hospital. Pfitzner, once Strauss's most determined rival, was now linked to anti-Semitic, Nazi polemics. His musical attempts were a pastiche of century-old Romanticism, with only an echo of a once formidable personal style. Strauss, since his death in 1949, has only increased in fame. Pfitzner, who died the same year, remains in limbo. His opera PALESTRINA is usually described as a masterpiece, but it is seldom heard."

- Alex Ross, THE NEW YORKER, 21 July, 1997, p.72

"Hotter was far, far more than a Wagnerian....[he] sang Lieder at recitals and in the studio throughout his timeless career. All his interpretations evinced a care over matching text to music. Even in Wagner he gave a Lieder singer's attention to the words. In private he was a gentle giant, an engaging raconteur and an intelligent observer of the musical scene"

- Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE, March, 2004

"Of all the singers of the 20th century, the man whose voice and presence were most capable of conveying the essence of the archetypal father was bass-baritone Hans Hotter. Blessed with a huge, resonant instrument that could be scaled down to an intimate whisper, the man could sound invincible one minute and vulnerable the next. No matter what he sang, Hotter communicated a profundity and depth of spirit that seemed rooted in a primordial place of holiness and sagacity. If you can imagine a man whose voice could convincingly express the power of a God, the wisdom of a sage, and the humanity of an open-hearted mortal, you can begin to hear the sound of Hans Hotter in your head.

In the world of opera, Richard Wagner's Wotan, the God of Valhalla, is perhaps the greatest Daddy of them all. In DIE WALKÜRE, he has no choice but to punish his favorite daughter Brünnhilde for her sin of intervening in the affairs of mortals. But even as he puts his beloved daughter to sleep, protecting her with a ring of fire, he makes sure that love can dowse the flames and return her to life. It was the Wotan of Hans Hotter, more than of any other recorded singer, that most fully expressed the tortured godliness of this strangely mortal immortal.

At the same time as Hotter dominated the opera stage as Wotan, he became known as a supreme interpreter of German art song. With his voice pared down as necessary, Hotter's lieder interpretations evinced the same strength and surety that thundered through him when he strode across the stage carrying sword and shield."

- Jason Serinus