"I have admired the work of many conductors during my long career . . . But I think that of all those I have heard I would nominate Alexander von Zemlinsky as the all-round conductor who achieved the most consistently high standard, and that is a mature judgement. I remember a performance of the “Marriage of Figaro” by him in Prague as the most satisfying operatic experience of my life."
- Igor Stravinsky, 1964
This release celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Zemlinsky (14 October 1871) with the first-ever release of his complete extant recordings. Today, Zemlinsky is known primarily as the composer of such late-Romantic works as the Lyric Symphony, Die Seejungfrau and the opera Der Zwerg. But this association only dates from the 1970s onward, as audiences interested in exploring Gustav Mahler’s contemporaries rediscovered Zemlinsky’s compositions. For most of his later career, as well as for decades after his death, Zemlinsky was primarily known as an opera conductor.
During the late 1920s and into the mid-‘30s, Zemlinsky made a small number of recordings for various labels, mainly opera overtures and vocal accompaniments, not a note of which he himself had written. They are all assembled here, including two tracks set down 94 years ago which are being presented for the first time.