Five excellent late 1920s recordings from Felix Weingartner
Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn include some of his rarest electrical recordings
Review of this release: Classic Record Collector, Spring 2010Review of this release: Audiophile Audition
Notes on the recording:
The sources for the present transfers were a mixture of American Columbia “Viva-Tonal” and “Full-Range” pressings for the Mendelssohn and English Columbias for the remainder. The Basle recordings are rather rare; Invitation to the Dance was the only title released in the USA, while Weingartner’s Tempest excerpt was only released in Switzerland.
notes from Wikipedia
Paul Felix von Weingartner, Edler von Münzberg (2 June 1863 – 7 May 1942) was an Austrian conductor, composer and pianist.
Weingartner was born in Zara, Dalmatia, Austria–Hungary (now Zadar, Croatia), to Austrian parents, and the family moved to Graz in 1868. His father died that same year. He studied with Wilhelm Mayer (who used the pseudonym of W. A. Rémy and also taught Ferruccio Busoni) and in 1881 went to Leipzig to study philosophy, but soon devoted himself entirely to music, entering the Conservatory in 1883 and also studying under Franz Liszt in Weimar: he was among Liszt's later pupils. Liszt helped produce Weingartner's opera Sakuntala for its world premiere in 1884 with the Weimar orchestra. According to the Liszt biographer Alan Walker, the Weimar orchestra of the 1880s was far from its peak of a few decades earlier—and the opera performance ended with orchestra going one way and chorus another. Walker sources this to Weingartner's autobiography, published in Zürich and Leipzig in 1928-1929. The same year, 1884, he became the director of the Königsberg Opera. From 1885 to 1887 he was Kapellmeister in Danzig, then until 1889 in Hamburg, and until 1891 in Mannheim. From 1891 he was Kapellmeister of the Royal Opera and conductor of symphony concerts in Berlin; he resigned from the Opera, though continuing to conduct the Symphony concerts, and settled in Munich, where he incurred the enmity of Rudolf Louis and Ludwig Thuille.
In 1902, at the Festival of Mainz, Weingartner conducted the complete symphonies of Beethoven. From 1908 to 1911 he was the principal conductor of the Vienna Hofoper succeeding Gustav Mahler; he retained the conductorship of the Vienna Philharmonic until 1927. From 1912 he was again Kapellmeister in Hamburg, but resigned in 1914 and went to Darmstadt as general music director. In 1919-20 he was conductor of the Vienna Volksoper. In 1920 he was Professor of the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. From 1927 to 1934 he was music director of the Sinfonieorchester Basel. He gave his last concert in London in 1940 and died in Winterthur, Switzerland two years later.
As a conductor, Weingartner was the first to make commercial recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies. In 1935 he conducted the world premiere of Georges Bizet's Symphony in C.
Among his students as a conductor were Paul Sacher, Georg Tintner and Josef Krips.
Weingartner was married five times, to Marie Juillerat (in 1891), Baroness Feodora von Dreifus (1903), the mezzo-soprano Lucille Marcel (1912; she died in 1921), the actress Roxo Betty Kalisch (1922), and Carmen Studer (1931).
Composer and editor
Despite his lifelong career as a conductor, Weingartner regarded himself as equally, if not more importantly, a composer. Besides numerous other operas, Weingartner wrote seven symphonies which are being recorded, with his other orchestral music, by cpo - classic production osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany, a sinfonietta, violin concerto, cello concerto, orchestral works, at least four string quartets, quintets for strings and for piano with clarinet and other pieces including a great many lieder for voice and piano, one of which, "Liebesfeier" (text: Lenau) achieved a status as his most famous short work, in effect a "hit". Weingartner's choice of verse for his songs mirrors that of his contemporary composers: Max Reger, Joseph Marx, Richard Trunk and Richard Strauss.
His musical style, notably very generous, indeed rather valuable in its rather Schubertian melodic interest, is of its time: an amalgam of late Romanticism and early Modernism, comparable with those of his contemporaries Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Franz Schreker and Alexander von Zemlinsky. His idiom left some marks on Erich Wolfgang Korngold, whose precocious Sinfonietta is dedicated to Weingartner, who conducted its first performance. His Third Symphony was intended both as a message of love to Lucille Marcel and a reply to the many critical attacks on him in Vienna; the finale reaches a climax in a parody of the waltz from Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus. Similarly, he managed to finish his Fifth Symphony in time for Roxo Betty's birthday, a trend in romantic attachment which may attract at least passing notice, for he was thus a very dedicated bridegroom in his deployment of manuscript paper.
Weingartner edited the complete works of Hector Berlioz (he once called Berlioz the "creator of the modern orchestra") as well as the operas Joseph by Méhul and Oberon by Weber, and individual works of Gluck, Wagner and others. He also made an orchestral version of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata, and of Bizet's piano piece Variations chromatiques. Before Brian Newbould's more recent work, in 1934, he made a performing version of Schubert's Symphony No. 7 in E major, D. 729, that has received some performances and recordings; he also arranged works by a number of early Romantic masters for orchestral performance.
Writings and interests
Weingartner was early interested in the occult, astrology, and Eastern mysticism, which influenced his personal philosophy and his music to some extent. He was himself a prolific writer who published a poetical drama, Golgotha, in 1908. He wrote copiously on music drama, on conducting, on the symphony since Beethoven, on the symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann as well as on art and esoteric subjects. Two collections of essays were Musikalische Walpurgisnacht (1907) and Akkorde (1912). He also published an autobiography, Lebenserinnerungen in 1923.
Other Orchestral Works
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Weingartner