V0141. JULIUS PATZAK, w.JÖRG DEMUS (Pf.): WINTERREISE (Schubert). (Austria) Preiser Stereo 93067, recorded1964, Vienna. Long out-of-print, Final Copy!
"Although thoroughly trained as a musician, Viennese tenor Julius Patzak (1898-1974) had little, if any, technical schooling in the vocal arts. Yet, he became a favorite among audiences in his native city and second only to Richard Tauber as a master stylist in the Central European repertory. His voice, though not large, was plangent and somewhat hard-edged, capable of encompassing both lyric and dramatic roles. His forays into Viennese operetta were exemplary, full of character and knowing gestures, and sung with an immaculate sense of both elegance and forcefulness. His famous recording of Mahler‘s DAS LIED VON DER ERDE with contralto Kathleen Ferrier and Bruno Walter directing the Vienna Philharmonic has achieved legendary status.
Patzak recorded the WINTERREISE cycle in March 1964 with Schubert exponent, pianist Joerg Demus (b. 1928) at the Palais Schönburg, Vienna. Patzak’s active vocal career had formally ended by 1964, his voice’s having lost its athletic vigor. But his innate musicianship compensates for the vocal limitations with insistent pathos, and he has a sensitive partner in Demus….these renditions of Schubert song-cycles bring to bear an emotional authenticity collectors ought to seek out.”
—Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, 20 June,2014
“Julius Patzak's recording of Schubert's final song cycle, DIE WINTERREISE is exceptional for one reason: Patzak's delivery of Wilhelm Müller's poetry. Recorded when Patzak was 64 years old, there are definite signs of aging and occasional fatigue in his voice. However, I must point out that he never resorts to forcing the tone to compensate. That is a mark of a true singing artist. It is also worth noting that Patzak succeeds in creating a total artistic arc in the cycle; from the protagonist's journeying out from his town, where he has left his lover, to his eventual meeting up with a beggar and joining him to who knows what end. Patzak sings Der Leiermann in the original key of b minor, up a whole step from most renditions. Jörg demus ably accompanies Patzak, breathing with him and allowing his voice to recoup after strenuous sections of music. There are more beautifully sung versions of WINTERREISE out there, but there are few that highlight the text as poignantly as Patzak's.”