OP2793. BORIS GODUNOV (in German), Live Performance, 1957, w.Jochum Cond. Bayerischen Rundfunks Ensemble; Hans Hotter, Hans Hopf, Kim Borg, Lorenz Fehenberger, Martha Mödl, etc.; HANS HOTTER: Wagnerian Arias, recorded 1942-44. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00138. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 8014399501385
"Eugen Jochum was perhaps best known as a Bruckner specialist, recording the cycle of the symphonies and serving as president of the West German Bruckner Society. His musical family included two prominent brothers, the composer and choirmaster Otto Jochum (1898-1969) and the conductor Georg Ludwig Jochum (1909-1970). Demonstrating musical talent from an early age, he studied at the Augsburg and Munich conservatories and began his conducting career in the traditional manner for Central European conductors, at small opera companies. After several such stints, Mr. Jochum succeeded Karl Muck and Karl Böhm in 1934 as music director of the Hamburg State Opera. In the meantime, Mr. Jochum had not neglected the symphonic repertory. He founded and led the Hamburg Philharmonic from 1934 to 1949. His breakthrough had come in 1926, when at the age of 23 he led a performance of Bruckner's Symphony #7. ‘This symphony made my whole career’, Mr. Jochum recalled in 1978. ‘I began playing the organ when I was 4 years old. I like very much Baroque churches. It was all very similar in feeling to Bruckner, so his style was never difficult for me’.
From his earliest recordings, Mr. Jochum's interpretive profile seemed well formed. He was neither an intense literalist like Arturo Toscanini nor a brooding mystic like Wilhelm Furtwängler, whom he much admired. His conducting - in Bach, Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms as well as Bruckner - flowed purposefully but genially forward, responding to the music without imposing his will upon it in a self-conscious way. He could be called the epitome of the German Kapellmeister tradition.
Mr. Jochum's career advanced steadily if unspectacularly during the Nazi regime, but he was not stigmatized as a Nazi sympathizer after the war. His relationship with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, which he had first conducted during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, remained close thereafter. He served as its co-conductor, with Bernard Haitink, from 1961 to 1964, and made his American debut with it in 1961.
His principal postwar engagement, however, was the Bavarian Radio Symphony; he founded it in 1949, elevated it to Munich's leading orchestra and led it until 1960. After that, he concentrated on guest appearances, in both orchestral and operatic repertory.”
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 28 March, 1987
"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
“Hans Hopf sang the title role in SIEGFRIED and Siegfried in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. He was singing both roles for the first time and naturally had put in yeoman’s work to have readied these mammoth roles for performances on the level demanded by the Bayreuth Festival. Formerly he had sung primarily the Italian repertoire, but was now beginning to concentrate on Wagner roles, which suited his robust voice very well. Hopf was an incomparable raconteur, and one was never bored in his company.”
- Birgit Nilsson, LA NILSSON, p.160
“For many of the record-buying public, their impression of German dramatic tenor Hans Hopf was formed upon viewing the wretched photograph that was displayed on the cover of his 1960 EMI recording of TANNHÄUSER. Appearing bloated and dim-witted, the tenor was sorely misrepresented by a portrait that should never have been released. While his voice had by that time grown beefier and less pliant, Hopf was too serious an artist to have been exposed to such a public relations disaster. For a truer picture, physically and aurally, turn to his Walter in EMI's live recording of Bayreuth's 1951 DIE MEISTERSINGER with Schwarzkopf, Edelmann, and Karajan. Here, before the strain of too many heroic roles took their toll, his singing was strong and highly agreeable, accomplished if somewhat short of poetic. Hopf studied with bass Paul Bender in Munich before making his début in 1936 singing Pinkerton with the Bavarian Regional Opera. Affiliations with Augsburg, Dresden, Oslo, and Berlin preceded his extended membership at the Bavarian Staatsoper beginning in 1949. In addition to his Bayreuth début, the 1950 -- 1951 season held a first appearance at Covent Garden, where Hopf sang his German-language Radames in an otherwise English-language AÏDA. He was also heard as Walter, pleasing the critics and audiences more for his sturdy singing than for his subtlety. Hopf remained with the Royal Opera through the 1952 -- 1953 season, offering his Walter all three years. At Bayreuth, Hopf worked his way to Parsifal, Tannhäuser, and Siegfried by the 1960s. In 1952, he made his Metropolitan Opera début as Walter. He continued to appear for five more years, eventually amassing a total of 34 performances in the Wagnerian repertory. At Salzburg in 1954, Hopf made his début as Max in Weber's DER FREISCHÜTZ. Although most of his career was spent in Europe, Hopf made two further appearances in American opera houses singing Herodes in both Chicago (1968) and San Francisco (1974), both times with Astrid Varnay as his consort. Although the latter production caught him rather late in the day, he was still an arresting Herod, dissolute and clearly not quite stable. In Germany, Hopf had achieved a considerable reputation as Verdi's Otello.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
"Borg was engaged to sing the oily monk Rangoni to Christoff's Boris Godunov in Issay Dobrowen's ground-breaking recording of Mussorgsky's opera for EMI in 1952. Soon, Deutsche Grammophon was on his trail, and he made a number of recordings of opera, oratorio and song for the company during the following 10 years. Borg was much admired in Germany and, from 1965 to 1968, was a member of the Hamburg State Opera. But he was always welcome in his native Scandinavia, and from 1960 was a member of the Stockholm Opera, where his Scarpia was much praised in 1963. In 1971, he sang Fafner and Hagen in the company's performances of Wagner's RING. A year earlier, he sang Osmin at the Drottningholm festival, another histrionic triumph. He appeared in concerts at the Salzburg festival from 1956, singing Mozart, and in 1965-66 sang Pimen in Karajan's staging of BORIS GODUNOV."
- Alan Blyth, THE GUARDIAN, 30 May, 2000