V0313. OSCAR NATZKE, Vol. I, incl. Songs by Moussorgsky, Tschaikowsky, Apolloni, Petrie, Sanderson, Weiss, Elgar, Schumann, Charles, German, Adams, Sullivan, Elliott, Ketèlbey, Coward, Phillips, Liza Lehmann, Murray, Moss, Kern, Warlock, Rasbach, etc.; Arias from Scipio, Samson (both Handel), Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Entführung & Barbiere. (New Zealand) 2-National Library of New Zealand ACD 400, recorded 1938-40, EMI Tests & Parlophone; partially Live Performance, 27 April, 1940, Wellington, New Zealand. Final Rare Copy! - 9421000502041
“For music lovers, Russia has always had a special reputation for rich, coal-toned basses - witness the bass parts in the Rachmaninov ‘Vespers’ and, of course, Chaliapin. New Zealand's Oscar Natzke was remarkable for his enunciation, the firm quality of his voice and his physical bearing.
Natzke made his operatic début at Covent Garden in 1938 and secured international renown and recording contracts especially through Parlophone. His voice is steady, dark, open to variations in volume and stentorian. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and rose to the rank of Commander. He died very young at the age of 39 of a cerebral haemorrhage after collapsing a fortnight earlier during a performance of MEISTERSINGER in New York.
These discs are in two volumes with each volume comprising two discs. Production and presentation values are very high indeed with every aspect proclaiming quality. The booklets are liberally decked out with photos and full discographical details. Notes are by Peter Downes. This is a joint production of the prestige between Atoll and the National Library of New Zealand.
In Vol. 2 there are two extracts which will leave any British music enthusiast aching to hear the complete recordings. In 1942 Natzke was in Canada participating in CBC broadcasts of British opera. On 15 February 1942, Edwin Macarthur directed a Montréal performance of Rutland Boughton's IMMORTAL HOUR. On 1 March 1942 Natzka was in the studio with Arthur Benjamin for his opera THE DEVIL TAKE HER. The sound quality is superb.
This thorough and splendidly finished set will appeal to aficionados of singing and those who would like to recall or discover a distinctively deep voice. One of the few truly great basses outside the old USSR.”
- Rob Barnett, Classical Music on the Web
“OSCAR NATZKE: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION presents for the first time every known recording by this great artist. Of the 73 tracks, 27 have not been previously issued. The 4-CD set includes not only all of his commercial discs recorded for Parlophone and Columbia, but also rare live recordings, broadcasts, test pressings, auditions and film soundtracks from Canada, the USA, England, Australia and New Zealand.
Natzke's career (the spelling was changed from Natska in 1947) encompassed Covent Garden and the New York City Opera as well as international tours and recording contracts. At an age when most basses are approaching their finest years, Natzke collapsed in New York during a performance of DIE MEISTERSINGER and died a week later. He was just 39 years old.
Without a doubt the world was robbed of one of the most impressive bass voices of the era. When recorded anthologies of the great bass voices are compiled, the name of Natzke is always up there with the likes of Fyodor Chaliapin and Boris Christoff. Now with this issue his magnificent voice is preserved to inspire and entertain future generations.”
- National Library of New Zealand