Wöss, conductor of the Niederöstereichisches Tonkünstlerorchester left
Vienna in September, 1951, for Japan. He was going to lead the prestigeous
Japan Broadcasting Orchestra (NHK). Now for almost one season the Tonkünstler
Orchestra did not have a principal conductor. Wilhelm Loibner, Gustav
Koslik, Hine Arthur Brown, Alexander Paulmüller and many others alternatively
swung the baton of the Niederöstereichisches Tonkünstlerorchester
and these conductors recorded for Remington, Koslik included.
the afternoon of Sunday, March 16, 1952, one of the famous Sunday Concerts
took place in the Musikverein in Vienna. Gustav Koslik was conducting
the Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Tonkünstler Chorus, and singers Ilona
Steingruber, Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Waldemar Kmentt and Walter Berry in
a performance of Verdi's Requiem.
concert appeared to be decisive as many were impressed. Also the board
of the orchestra that decided to appoint Gustav Koslik as principal
conductor. Initially Koslik's style was criticized by a few people;
among them conductor Hans Swarowsky, but sometime later Swarowsky changed
his opinion and spoke out in favor of the new conductor.
Koslik's contract was renewed in the month of February of the following
years and it lasted for some 12 years until 1964 as is stated in Die
Tonkünstler, Orchestergeschichten aus Wien und Niederösterreich (Residenz
Verlag, Vienna and Salzburg, 2007.) In the end Koslik's technique of
conducting was much appreciated and not only by the members of the orchestra.
the following day, Monday, March 17, and on Tuesday, orchestra and chorus
performed the Requiem once again but now with Ilona Steingruber (soprano),
Rosette Anday (contralto), Ratco Delorco (tenor) and Oskar Czerwenka
(bass). The performance was taped by the crew of Marcel Prawy, producer
of Remington Records Inc., New York.
hiring of Rosette Anday, Ratco Delorco, and Oskar Czerwenka (Cerwenka
as is printed on te box), replacing Rössel-Majdan, Kmentt and Berry
could have have been for contractual reasons. Hilde Rössel-Majdan and
Waldemar Kmentt may have signed contracts with Westminster at the time
or they expected to sign up with a record label. Whatever the reason,
they did not appear on the 2 LP recording released as R-199-105/2 by
Don Gabor the following year.
the sound on the Remington discs leaves much to be desired, some of
what made the performance special during that Sunday afternoon concert
is shining through in the Remington recording. Typically the very slow
and careful approach must have given an atmospheric touch to the concert
goers attending the performance. If the technical quality of the recording
had been at a higher level, more of its quality may have reached the
music listener's ears and mind.
Johnson is the author of The Mass since Bach, an extensive
article published in High Fidelity, May issue of 1958. Of Verdi's Requiem
there are 6 editions to be evaluated. He writes:
"Almost all commentaries on Verdi's only Mass center on the
question of whether or not it is sufficiently "religious."
Generally they conclude by saying that it is "sincere,"
which is not quite the same thing. The truth is that this massive
link between Aida and Otello is less an offering to God than to
the memory of Alessandro Manzoni, the Italian novelist whom Verdi
venerated as artist and patriot. He wanted to give Mazoni his best,
and his best was what he had learned as a journeyman in the theater
for thirty-five years. He was to find a voice wherewith to address
God at the very end of his life, after he had put the theater away
from him; but nobody, I think, would claim that those serene late
works are greater than the Manzoni Requiem."
annotations from Johnson's review in order to get an idea of the early
"The Decca set (originally Deutsche Grammophon, ed.) contains
excellent analytical notes by Francis Toye (as does the Angel),
the immaculate singing of the St. Hedwig's Choir, and a good soprano.
But the sound is muddy at climaxes, and Fricsay appears at a loss
in interpreting this very Italian music. The tenor, Helmut Krebs,
is a specialist when it comes to Monteverdi: when it comes to
Verdi he is a woeful failure.
The Angel set, despite the distinguished cast it boasts, is disappointing.
Recorded in June 1954, it does not reflect Angel's usual high
standards of engineering. De Sahata's orchestra plays better than
Fricsay's; but their fff attacks in the Dies Irae and elsewhere
are brutal rather than forceful (...).
For me the greatest performance of the Manzoni Requiem on records
is the oldest, the one conducted by Serafin. Originally issued
as an album of ten 78s, it represented some of the liveliest sound
the recording industry had then achieved. In its present reincarnation
(among Victor's "Vault Treasures" series) nothing of
that lively sound has been lost."
confessed: "I have not heard the Remington set". And Warren
DeMotte's evaluation is that the Remington release has only a low price
as a recommandation. So there is one option and is listening to a part
of the Requiem Mass.
for a Sound Clip of Requiem and Kyrie of Verdi's Requiem conducted
by Gustav Koslik taken from Remington R-199-150/2.
Verdi: Requiem Mass
lona Steingrober (s), Rosette Anday (c), Ratko Delorco (t), Oskar Cerwenda
(b); Austrian Chorus and Symphony, Gustav Koslik, cond. REMINGTON R-199-105/2
Read John Freeman's
liner notes (pdf).
was later released on the Vibraton and Joker labels. But then the first
bars of the beginning (Requiem et Kyrie) that can be heard on Koslik's
recording (and on many other performances available on Youtube) were
omitted. That indicates that the technicians who cut the masters for
the Vibraton made the mistake. That same edited tape was used
by the technicians who prepared the Joker LP.
issue from 1969 of the 1952 recording of Verdi's Requiem conducted
by Gustav Koslik on Vibraton
issue from 1982 of the 1952 recording of Verdi's Requiem conducted
by Gustav Koslik on Joker
recordings of Gustav Koslik on the Remington label:
Amadeus Mozart: Overtures (La clemenza de Tito; Don Giovanni; Die
Entführung aus dem Serail) REMINGTON R-199-125
Borodin: Prince Igor Overture & Polovetsian Dances; Modest Mussorgski:
Night on Bald Mountain (coupled with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov Capricio
Espagnol conducted by Ernst Mehlich) REMINGTON R-199-130
Borodin: Prince Igor Overture & Polovetsian Dances were also coupled
with Highlights from Kismet played by Tony Osborne and his Orchestra
and sung by Reg Gray and Glen Campbell on Remington R-199-186
Friedrich Handel: Watermusic (coupled with Gaston Poulet's performance
of Violin Concerto K 216) REMINGTON R-199-131
Gustav Koslik was
born on March 29, 1902 in Vienna and died September 1, 1989, in Essen,
A. Bruil. Page first published on February 6, 2018.