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Sonntag, 20. Juli 2014

Hermann Weil vol. 3 - Tannhäuser 2. Akt "Sängerkrieg" Odeon 1910

Das Album - ein teurer kultureller Luxus im Jahr 1910

Es enthält vier 30-cm-Platten und sechs 27-cm-Platten

Here comes the Odeon Tannhäuser Set (second act) from 1910. It came as a huge album with four 30cm-records and six 27cm-records. It was, as it seems, the fifth attempt to record complete operas or scenes, as it is signed "Opernserie E". (Opernserie A was Cavalleria Rusticana from Feb. 1909, Opernserie C a complete Bajazzo from Summer 1909, B and D unknown to me). It was an answer to Gramophone, who had edited a comlete Faust and a complete Fledermaus in 1908. The personnel included many at that time famous singers and a 34 year old Hermann Weil, who was on his way to the peaks of his career. It is not usual to take such a young singer for the role of Wolfram, who needs much characterisation and vocal abilities, but only one year later Hermann Weil was on his way to Bayreuth and America. The other singers were in a contract with Odeon, and most of them made other recordings for Odeon and later other companies. About the singers will be said more down below. First of all here is the cast of the opera and a track-list.

Hermann, Landgraf von Thüringen -                                    Leon Rains (Bass)
Tannhäuser, Ritter und Sänger  -                                          Fritz Vogelstrom (Tenor)
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Ritter und Sänger  -                    Hermann Weil (Bariton)
Walther von der Vogelweide, Ritter und Sänger  -               Walter Kirchhoff (Tenor)
Biterolf, Ritter und Sänger -                                                 Karl Armster  (Bass)
Heinrich der Schreiber, Ritter und Sänger  -                        Josef Schöffel (Tenor)
Reinmar von Zwetter, Ritter und Sänger -                           Arthur Neudahm (Bass)
Elisabeth, Nichte des Landgrafen -                                      Annie Krull (Sopran)

  1. Einleitung - Großes Odeon-Orchester
      50699, xB 4905
  2. 1. Szene: Auftritt der Elisabeth - Dich Teure Halle - Annie Krull
      50700, xB 4926
  3. 2. Szene , 1. Teil - Tannhäusers Auftritt: O Fürstin! - Annie Krull, Fritz Vogelstrom,
      Hermann Weil
      50701, xB 4927
  4. 2. Szene , 2. Teil - Szene der Elisabeth: Verzeiht, wenn ich nicht weiß - Annie Krull
      50702, xB 4928
  5.  2. Szene , 3. Teil - Duett zwischen Tannhäuser und Elisabeth: Den Gott der Liebe sollst
       du preisen - Annie Krull, Fritz Vogelstrom
       50703, xB 4929-2
  6.  3. Szene - Landgraf und Elisabeth: Dich treff ich hier - Annie Krull, Leon Rains
       80046, xxB 4941
  7.  Einzug der Gäste Teil 1 - Chor der Hofoper Berlin
       80047, xxB 4921
  8.  Einzug der Gäste Teil 2 - Chor der Hofoper Berlin
       80048, xxB 4922-2
  9.  3. Szene (sic!) Ansprache des Landgrafen: Gar viel und schön -
       Leon Rains
       80049, xxB 4930
10.  Ansprache des Landgrafen Teil 2: Bereitet heute - Leon Rains
       80050, xxB 4943
11.  4. Szene. Der Sängerkrieg - Wolframs erster Gesang: Blick ich umher -
       Hermann Weil und Chor der Hofoper
       80051, xxB 4934
12.  Tannhäusers Erwiderung "Auch ich darf mich" und Walthers Sang "Den Bronnen"-
       Fritz Vogelstrom, Walter Kirchhoff
       80052 (-2), xxB 4942
13.  Tannhäusers und Biterolfs Gesänge - Fritz Vogelstrom, Karl Armster
       50704, xB 4935
14.  Wolframs zweiter Gesang "O Himmel" und Tannhäusers Schlußgesang "Dir Göttin" -   
       Hermann Weil, Fritz Vogelstrom
       50705, xB 4936
15.  Ensemble - Ihr habt's gehört - Annie Krull, Leon Rains, Hermann Weil,
       Walter Kirchhoff, Josef Schöffel, Arthur Neudahm, Karl Armster, Chor der Hofoper
       50706 (-2), xB 4937
16.  Elisabeths Fürbitte: Der Unglücksel'ge, den gefangen - Annie Krull
       50707 (-5), xB 4933
17.  Ensemble: Erbarm' dich mein - Leon Rains, Fritz Vogelstrom, Hermann Weil,
       Walter Kirchhoff, Josef Schöffel, Arthur Neudahm, Karl Armster, Chor der Hofoper
       80053, xxB 4938
18. .Ensemble: Ich fleh' für ihn - Annie Krull. Leon Rains, Fritz Vogelstrom, Hermann Weil,
       Walter Kirchhoff, Josef Schöffel, Arthur Neudahm, Karl Armster, Chor der Hofoper
       50708 (-2), xB 4939-2
19.  Des Landgrafen Anklage: Ein furchtbares Verbrechen - Leon Rains
       50709, xB 4931
20.  Finale: Mit ihnen sollst du wallen - Leon Rains, Fritz Vogelstrom, Hermann Weil,
       Walter Kirchhoff, Karl Armster, Chor der Hofoper
       50710, xB 4940

Koppelung der Seiten: 1/2, 3/13, 4/5, 6/11, 7/8, 9/10, 12/17, 14/15, 16/18, 19/20
Nr, 6-12, 17: 80... = 30 cm, all others 50... = 27cm
Order of recording: 1, 7, 8, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 19, 16, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 6, 12, 10.

Annie Krull als Elisabeth in Tannhäuser

Annie Krull (1876-1947) was an important singer in Dresden in the first decade of the last century. After her debut in Saxony (Plauen) 1898 she came to Dresden and was admired there from 1901 to 1910. Richard Strauss estimated her very much: she sang in the premiere of his Feuersnot on Nov. 22th, 1901, and Strauss wanted her for his first Salome, but he had to give the role to Marie Witte, the primadonna and first dramatic soprano of the house. Later, on Feb. 25th, 1909 came her great hour when she sang the first Elektra in the premiere, a role in which she had a big success. But maybe the role was too heavy for her voice:  It seems that at the recording of the Tannhäuser in 1910 she already was on her decline. She changed the same year to the Mannheimer Hoftheater (which did not have half the reputation of the Dresden opera) and left the stage as soon as 1912.
We hear a rather small voice, which is from its basic qualities not very impressing, but with fine expressive and dramatic abilities (for which she was known). The voice is not well documentated. These are her only recordings for Odeon, and there are only some hard to find Pathés and a few Edison cylinders which she recorded. As Elektra, from today's perspective with singers like Astrid Varnay or Birgit Nilsson in the ear, I cannot imagine her.

Fritz Vogelstrom als Tannhäuser

Fritz Vogelstrom (1882-1969) made his debut 1904 in Mannheim as Tamino. Only five years later he was Parsifal in Bayreuth, and his name today is connected mostly with Wagnerian roles. From 1912 to 1929 he was the first Heldentenor in Dresden, where he also took part in some Dresden premieres of Richard Strauss operas: Ariadne auf Naxos 1912 (main premiere was in Stuttgart) and Die Frau ohne Schatten 1919 (main premiere was in Vienna). He made recordings for many companies throughout his career, from  G&T (Mannheim, 1907), Parlophon, Odeon, Vox, Pathé up to Homochord (1922). There also is an unpublished Edison record.

Leon Rains, Original in der Unibibliothek Frankfurt,

Leon Rains (1870-1954) was born and died in America. He started as a boy soprano in a New York church choir and became finally a basso. In Bayreuth he sang 1904 Hagen in Götterdämmerung. He was engaged in Dresden from 1899 to 1910 and was forced to return to America during the First World War. His opera career ended then, and he sang a few years in concerts before becoming a voice teacher in 1924. He made only few recordings, the oldest in the famous Bayreuth-1904-series of Gramophone and Typewriter.
He sings his part with a deep basso voice and a vivid declamation, typical for Cosima's Bayreuth style.

Hermann Weil Bayreuth 1912 as Hans Sachs

Hermann Weil as Hans Sachs Bayreuth 1925
The same photo with signature, but punched. Sometimes you can't have everything...

Hermann Weil (1876-1949), meanwhile something as an "artist in residence" in this blog, had his debut with the role of - guess what - Wolfram in Tannhäuser when he started as opera singer in Freiburg im Breisgau in the year 1901. A few years later he sang the role of Wolfram in this recording. In Bayreuth he never sang this role, but was Hans Sachs in 1911/12 and 1924/25. In 1911/12 he also sang Amfortas and Gunther in Götterdämmerung there. He was active in Stuttgart until 1933 and was later forced to emigrate to the USA because he was jewish.

I think he does his job very well here, and he is one of the outstanding artists of this set, together with Vogelstrom and Rains.

Walter Kirchhoff as Tanhäuser
Walter Kirchhoff (1871-1959) had a long career as Wagner tenor, but here in this set he had to take the rather small role of Walther von der Vogelweide. In between he was cavalry officer in World War I, and there are many pictures of him as a soldier. His last recordings were made in 1930, and he was on stage until 1935.

Karl Armster

Karl Armster (1883-1943) was a fine baritone, who was estimated as a Wagner singer. He had a rather short career (1906-1931) but left some recordings for many companies (Pathé, Vox, Homochord, Parlophon, Jumbo, Polyphon and HMV). The role of Biterolf in this set is his only Odeon recording. He followed Herman Weil in Bayreuth and sang Amfortas and Gunther in the Festspiele 1914.

The other singers Joseph Schöffel and Arthur Neudahm cannot be heard in this recordings individually, as they only sing in the mass scenes and are not to identify. Schöffel (1881-1952), a tenor, was member of the Berlin Court opera from 1909-1912 and later sang at smaller houses. He left a few recordings, which are all rare. Arthur Neudahm cannot be traced - he does not even have an entry in the omniscient Sängerlexikon. If you know something about him: just tell me.


  1. This is really amazing! A treasure, and very well documented. Thanks for sharing, Emilio!

  2. Many thanks for this posting - helped me date/place one Odeon record I got recently. Have record 6/7 from the Opera Serie C - a 10 3/4 inch record from 1909 then :-)