V2448. JANET BAKER, w.Martin Isepp (Pf.): Songs by Mozart, Fauré, Schubert, Wolf & Schumann (the latter's 'Liederkreis') - Live Performance, 1 Feb., 1969, Hunter College Assembly Hall, New York; Songs by Mozart, Brahms & Wagner (the latter's 'Wesendonck Lieder') - Live Performance, 20 Jan., 1970, Philharmonic Hall, New York; Janet Baker & Tom Krause, w.Steinberg Cond. Pittsburgh S.O.: Des Knaben Wunderhorn - excerpts (Mahler), Live Performance, 19 Feb., 1969, Carnegie Hall. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-310. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
Although she had no reputation for diva behavior and her name was as plain as Polly Peachums, Janet Baker was the greatest English singer of the postwar era. Her predecessor Kathleen Ferrier is uniquely mourned and beloved, and Peter Pears was a great singer, but for beauty of voice, range of repertoire, and unrivaled musicianship, Baker deserves any praise one can lavish on her
.irresistible for anyone who prizes singing of the highest caliber.
- Huntley Dent, FANFARE
"And yet another Baker recital from Hunter College, but an important caveat applies here: unlike the other Baker Hunter College recitals, this one was not recorded from the front-center of the hall, thus the sound is distant and audience coughing is quite prominent. The Carnegie Hall portions are most beautiful, but alas the Seventh Avenue subway makes its ubiquitous rumbling appearance both arriving . . . and then departing, (accompanied by a very faint radio interference) during 'Im Treibhaus'. However, Baker's 'Abendempfindung' and 'Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer' alone are worth the price of another memorable evening."
- J. R. Peters
Nowhere in my memory, however, can I recall a more drastic transformation in an artist as when Janet Baker, setting aside numerous cool and mannered studio recordings, sings before other human beings. There is always that sine qua non of her dignity and decorum, but there is much truth and passion as well
.Perhaps it is my imagination, but one seems to feel the electricity in the audience as well as onstage.
- Raymond Beegle, FANFARE, March / April., 2002
"Following the end of her performing career, Janet Baker has taken up a number of positions, most notably as a long-standing chancellor of the University of York and a patron of the Leeds piano competition. But she says that her work as a singer in a way prepared her for retirement. In a 1967 interview she revealed that she was reading Jung. 'The stuff of performing has to be very much an interior journey', she says now. 'You have to understand an awful lot of what is going on inside yourself. My interest in what makes a human being function was applied to roles, but has also been part of something that helps me in my retirement.
You get absorbed by a job, you retire from it, and then, if you're lucky, there is this period of preparing to die if you like, a very interesting stage of life in itself. People say how lucky you are to have a gift, although what you do with that gift it has nothing to do with luck. But the really great thing is that it clarifies your life. Most people have to experiment with lots of different things with greater or lesser levels of satisfaction. So it has been a huge simplification of life to know that you are on the right path as both a performer and now as a retired performer. I've always trusted that there is a purpose to my life.
Opera made up about a third of my life and so did recording, but I couldn't have lived without the concert repertoire as well'. She explains that there is 'one less layer' between the singer and audience in a recital. 'You are responsible for everything. You are the guide and whether the audience follows is solely down to you. The music emerges from a place in your gut that is completely your idea of how to serve the composer and the poet so there is no hiding place. You hold something very precious in your hands for two hours and God help you if you drop it'."
- Nicholas Wroe, THE GUARDIAN, 13 July, 2012
"You cant expect anyone else to help you get through life, but if you have a relationship with God which gives you an absolute bedrock then youre given a tremendous strength which no other human being could give you.
Everything that I learnt during my working days in order to set foot on a platform and open myself to other people, all that discovery through my job has made possible the last half of my life. Without that career and all the blessings of it, I dont think Id be able to cope with not being able to do it anymore, (a terrible bereavement in itself) or with the lessons of recent years. I feel so lucky to have had this gift in my life which has permeated everything that I am. I come to the end of my life feeling resting in a sort of gratitude that Ive done what I think I was born to. I like to think Ive done my best for my composers and librettists."
- Janet Baker
Dont confuse your God-given talent with your self. Talent is something youre entrusted with: respect it. And dont believe your own publicity!
- Janet Baker in interview with Rupert Christiansen, THE TELEGRAPH, 5 Oct., 2011
Tom Krause, the Finnish baritone, made his name singing Mozart, Verdi and Wagner and starred in the American premiere of Brittens WAR REQUIEM. The WAR REQUIEM had been premiered at Coventry Cathedral in May 1962. The following January, Krause took on the role created by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for a performance at the Albert Hall with Peter Pears and Galina Vishnevskaya under Brittens baton. The critics were quick to praise his strong, flexible, most musicianly voice and impeccable English enunciation. In July, on Brittens recommendation, he was the sole singer from the London performances to transfer when the work was performed at Tanglewood, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf. Krause went on to sing it in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Carnegie Hall, New York.
Krause had a tall and commanding presence with brooding looks and a dark, resonant voice once described as virile that would immediately command attention. He spoke seven languages perfectly and was also a teacher who could draw the best out of his students and a singer who would happily share the spotlight with his fellow performers.
Tom Gunnar Krause made his début with the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1959 as Escamillo in CARMEN and three years later joined the State Opera in Hamburg, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1962 he also made his Bayreuth début in Wagners LOHENGRIN as well as appearing in his native Finland.
Krause appeared at Glyndebourne as the Count in Strauss CAPRICCIO opposite Elisabeth Söderstrom under John Pritchard in 1963. His début at the Met in 1967 was as Count Almaviva in Mozarts THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO with Cesare Siepi, Mirella Freni and Teresa Berganza. The following year he replaced an indisposed Nikolai Ghiarov in the title role of DON GIOVANNI under Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival, returning there regularly over the next 20 years. His association with the Met lasted until 1973 and included a thrilling Escamillo under Leonard Bernstein when Marilyn Horne sang Carmen. By then he had sung in the American premiere of Shostakovichs Symphony #13 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, and Samuel Barber had written his cantata THE LOVERS for him. His attention turned once more to Europe, and in particular to Opéra de Paris, though he came to the Royal Opera House in 1973. In 1978 he sang in a new production of CARMEN at the Edinburgh Festival with Berganza and Plácido Domingo under Claudio Abbado.
Later in life he began to perform songs by his compatriot Jean Sibelius, notably at a recital at the Wigmore Hall accompanied by Irwin Gage in May 1983. Many of these songs appeared on disc two years later in a glorious recording shared with Söderstrom. Indeed, Krauses legacy on disc stretches to more than 80 recordings, including Kurnewal in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE with Birgit Nilsson under Georg Solti.
He found teaching to be enjoyable and inspiring, feelings that were reciprocated by his many students. In 1995 he gave a masterclass at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. In an interview with the BBC on that occasion he explained his belief that singers were born rather than made. Some people are born with a Stradivarius in their head, he said.
- THE TELEGRAPH, 24 March, 2014