V2632. RICHARD TAUBER: Songs by Giordani, Braga, Toselli, de Curtis, Leoncavallo, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Meyer-Helmund, Luther, Radecke, Silcher, Stransky, Egen, Ries, Loewe, Strauss, Lehár, Reimann, Katsche & Hill; Arias from Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly, Paganini, Das Dreimäderlhaus & Der Evangelimann; Duets w. Carlotta Vanconti from Paganini. (Germany) 2-Truesound Transfers 4013, recorded 1925-1926. Transfers by Christian Zwarg.
“Make no mistake, despite the amount of attention he paid to operetta and popular music (some of which was of dubious quality), Richard Tauber was one of the very finest lyric tenors of the 20th century. The superb transfers by Truesound of acoustical recordings...provide all the evidence necessary to include him in the pantheon of the truly great.
To begin with, Tauber’s voice was an instrument of sweetness and beauty. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, he sang with imagination and authority. By authority I mean that as he was singing almost anything, the listener would feel that Tauber’s way was the way the music should sound. Not that other singers at some other time couldn’t convince you of something different, but as you hear Tauber shape an aria you believe that the composer intended it to be that way. J. B. Steane, in THE GRAND TRADITION, writes about Tauber’s ‘feeling for the lilt and joy of music’, which is perfectly put....
On track after track, whatever the nature of the music, the man’s obvious joy in the act of singing comes through everything he does. Tauber was a master of the mezza voce, able to go into and out of a half-voice phrase seamlessly, always maintaining the basic timbre of his voice....
Truesound is a German company run by Chris Zwarg, and their CDs are available from Norbeck, Peters & Ford (norpete.com). The quality of their transfers is superb - minimal filtering or compression, correct pitching, and for acoustical recordings a fullness of sound that might surprise you. No program notes are provided, but complete discographic information is contained on an insert....
I have always admired Tauber’s singing without paying as much attention to him as he merits. This new set has given me enormous pleasure, and beyond that, it has forced me to reevaluate Tauber’s art. The closest modern singer I can think of, one with a similar beauty of tone and musical intelligence, is Fritz Wunderlich. The comparison says it all.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Possessing a unique timbre that combined sweetness with power and an ironclad technique that enabled him to sing an effective, poised Don Ottavio in Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI at Covent Garden in 1947, after one of his lungs was fully incapacitated by the cancer that would take his life, Tauber was an extraordinary artist whose many recordings confirm that his charm and charisma were audible in every note that he sang. Sadly, though, even an artist such as Tauber falls victim to the erosive effects of time upon the reaches of musical legacies, Tauber is now but a name from history to many young artists and, to many others, not even that….It was for Tauber that Léhar composed ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’ when he revised the score that was transformed into DAS LAND DES LÄCHELNS for Berlin in 1929. Richard Tauber undoubtedly possessed one of the finest tenor voices of the 20th Century, and he gravitated to operetta not because his vocal capabilities were unsuited to grand opera but because his artistic soul found in operetta the opportunity to smile through music.”
- Joseph Newsome, OPERA NEWS, 31 July, 2013
“Richard Tauber remains, for many, the quintessential Viennese operetta tenor. As well as a performer, he was a composer, his works displaying his understanding of the operetta and song genres. He was not the genius of a Lehár or Johann Strauss, Jr. He did not have a perfect voice; his Bs and Cs were labored and his habit of using falsetto to reach the rest of the upper range, while producing some ravishing results, could become mannered and overly applied. That said, his graceful charm of expression and lyrical warmth made him one of the most beloved singers of his time.
He made his opera début at the Chemnitz Neues Stadt-Theater in March, 1913, as Tamino in Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. He was almost immediately given a five-year contract by the Dresden Opera where he became the established lyric tenor. As his career continued to develop throughout Germany, he was strongly associated with Mozart; when he appeared as Tamino, Mozart's opera was often jokingly renamed 'DIE TAUBERFLÖTE'. Astonishingly, however, his 1915 Berlin Opera début was as Bacchus in Richard Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (a role that many heroic tenors find incredibly taxing), sung with 48 hours' notice and only one rehearsal! Tauber became known for his fast learning and musicianship, and was often called upon for such emergencies. He once took over as conductor for a tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the 1920s, he began to specialize in operetta and song, and became best known for those roles and for recitals, recordings, and film work. Lehár wrote the operettas PAGANINI, DER ZAREWITSCH, FRIEDERIKE and THE LAND OF SMILES with him in mind, and in each, made sure to include a showpiece (soon known as the ‘Tauberlied’) for his talents. In 1931, he made his debut in England at the Drury Lane Theater in Lehár's THE LAND OF SMILES, and he remained in England for fear of Nazi persecution (he was of Jewish extraction), becoming a naturalized citizen in 1940. Like most singers, his career was interrupted by the war, but he made his operatic farewell in 1947 as Don Ottavio in Mozart's DON GIOVANNI. Though already seriously ill with the lung cancer that was to kill him the next year, according to critics and documented by air check recordings, it would have been a creditable performance for a singer in the best of health.
Tauber owed much of his fame to his then-prodigious 725 recordings, rivaled only by the recorded output of John McCormack. Tauber's catalog unquestionably displays the most variety, including songs by Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin, arias and duets from Verdi's IL TROVATORE and AĎDA, Offenbach's THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, German lieder, and even the Neapolitan and Irish songs in which Caruso and McCormack were the main exponents. He also appeared in several movies, including a film of Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI, Blossom Time, Heart's Desire, and Forbidden Music. Today, his operetta OLD CHELSEA (which he wrote to celebrate his naturalization as an English citizen) is still sometimes performed.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
“...an absolute revelation! Here, the voices come through with tonal sheen, passion and with more personality than any other transfers have been able to bring out. Dynamics and agility are in better relief, as is a sensitivity I had always found lacking. These transfers are absolutely miraculous, and I hope for more Truesound transfers.”
- Davyd Booth, GREAT SINGERS REMEMBERED, WHYY - NPR