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Wilhelm Loibner (1909 - 1971)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franz Schmidt 1874-1939

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before Theo Baylé started singing in Vienna he already recorded with the Residency Orchestra (The Hague) under Willem van Otterloo as is evident on this 78 RPM disc, reference X 10034, of the Dutch Decca Distribution Company with Prologue from
I Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), recorded in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (where most of Willem Van Otterloo's recordings took place).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frans Vroons - Tenor

 

 

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He may have been considered a talent with a great future in Vienna and possibly in Salzburg as well. After all he had studied under Clemens Krauss and Franz Schmidt and was appointed conductor at the Vienna State Opera already at age 28, in 1937.

 

Wilhelm Loibner in 1946, about four years before he started recording.
Edited image of the original signed photograph, courtesy of
Tamino Autographs.

Maybe times were not in favor in the years just before World War Two. "Austria is one of the poorest countries of Europe. The streets are filled with cripples and beggars and Vienna is considerably run down", young American conductor Thor Johnson wrote in a letter to his parents. There was an economic crisis going on and the cards were being reshuffled. A large scale war was at hand.

Even in 1945, after World War Two had ended, an important factor for succeeding was "luck". Both Vienna and Salzburg were filled with talent wanting a stage to perform on. And Austria was still occupied by the Soviets. Wilhelm Loibner had luck and continued to conduct the Staatsoper. Whether he had the aspiration and the desire to pursue a career outside of the Vienna State Opera is not very clear. Yet he became a convenient solution for several record companies that were to hire a conductor for the occasion. And thus his name became known in Europe as well as in the United States. Was he considered a commodity? A convenience? Could well be.

Listening to his performance of Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt, a fill out on a Van Otterloo Liszt disc, the first impression is that there is some lack of power that would be needed to mold the orchestra, and there is not enough authority to make an impact on the listener. The Philips recording of that Hungarian Rhapsody also shows that he is not the conductor who wants to impress his audience, in any case not right away. One has to listen for a second, even for a third time. He is not a story teller. His conducting is correct. As correct as in the recording of the Beethoven Concerto with Albert Spalding. After hearing more of Loibner it is evident that the Hungarian Rhapsody was probably not the best pick to comment on his conducting.

When accompanying Emmanuel List (former bass of the Metropolitan Opera New York) and contralto Else Schurhoff, in the Finale to Act II of "Der Rosenkavalier", he conducts with good timing, Viennese timing.
In lyrical music he is at home and knows exactly how to present drama and captivate the listener as is profusely illustrated by his conducting operas of Puccini which appeared on Remington. His HMV recording "Opern Ball", from 1962, was "a first-class record presenting charming music with affection and in true Viennese style", as music critic W.A. Chislett of The Gramophone put it.

Before Wilhelm Loibner was "appointed a resident conductor at the Vienna State Opera" - as is mentioned in John L. Holmes's book "Conductors on Record" - he had already been with that Opera since 1931 starting as a repetiteur. And that indicated already that first of all his forte was in opera. That is why the Compact Discs with historic material, that feature him, contain mostly arias with famous Viennese singers (and a few from abroad), and there are recordings of more than a few opera choruses available as well.

Albert Spalding's recording of Beethoven's Violin Concerto on Remington with conductor Wilhelm Loibner

Taking all this into account, it is clear that among the most important recordings Wilhelm Loibner made are certainly those of the Violin Concertos of Beethoven and Brahms with Albert Spalding, the works by Bruch with violinist Michèle Auclair, the Mozart Concerto with pianist Sari Biro, and the two complete operas of Puccini, all published on the Remington label. Plus there are a few recital disks. The recordings were made in 1950, 1951 and 1952. The recording of Madama Butterfly (Puccini) was released in June 1952. A complete La Bohème was available in the spring of the following year. It was also included in Schwann Artists Listing of 1953.

The performances by Albert Spalding were recorded in November 1952 and issued one year later. Since Kurt Wöss had left for Japan to take up the post of principal conductor of the NHK (Japanese Radio) Symphony Orchestra, Hans Wolf planned to return to the US, and Arthur Brown had stopped recording (for whatever reason), Wilhelm Loibner continued to make recordings produced by Marcel Prawy.

It is rather strange that there is not much known about this conductor, except for the few data in the book of Holmes and the entry in the Austrian Music Lexicon (Austrian Academy of Sciences) stating that Wilhelm Loibner was born in Vienna on January 1, 1909 and died in Bad Hall, Upper Austria, on April 23, 1971 at the age of 62. There is no Wikipedia page about Wilhelm Loibner at the time I publish this text on January 16, 2012.

On the back of the cover of the Spalding-Beethoven disc is printed: "The orchestra is the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Loibner, youngest of the leading conductors of the Vienna State Opera, who has already become recognized in other European capitals". There are no details mentioned in liner notes on other Remington covers of his other recordings.

Liner notes written for the Philips recording of Antonin Dvorak's Violin Concerto, with violinist Thomas Magyar, have this somewhat awkward paragraph:


"The soloist is supported by the well-known, deeply-musical conductor, Wilhelm Loibner, whose receptive, sensitive ear invariably detects the slightest rubato and tempo nuances, almost as if he possessed a sixth sense. He had one of the greatest orchestral instruments at his disposal for this recording, the Wiener Symphoniker, rendering under his baton, every one of the soloist's slightest nuances in glorious music"

This is - except for the annotation that he was Principal Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra from March 1957 till February 1959, and that he was married to soprano Ruthilde Boesch - as far as the record collector gets.

Marcel Prawy produced many recordings on his own account like 'Rêve de valse' (Ein Walzertraum, Dreamwaltz) by Oscar Srauss, released in France on Counterpoint CMC 120.001, the composer conducting the 'Tonkünstlerorchester', listed in 1955. The actual conductor in this recording is not Oscar Strauss who was already very old, yet very satisfied with the way Max Schönherr conducted the music.

NOTE On Remington R-199-122, which is Mona Paulee's Gershwin and Porter disk, we find Ruthilde Boesch on the B-Side singing the Musette Waltz from La Bohème, conducted by Wilhelm Loibner. This excerpt was taken from the complete recording of La Bohème on R-199-80/3. On R-199-41 she sings with Emmy Funk (soprano), Rosette Anday (contralto), Hugo Meyer-Welfing (tenor) and Georg Oeggl (bass) in selections (Vocal Highlights) of Die Fledermaus (The Bat), with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Max Schönherr. She also sang in "Rêve de valse" (Ein Walzertraum - A Dreamwaltz) of Oscar Strauss who himself conducts the Tonkünstler Choir and Orchestra. Other soloists of the Viennese Opera in this recording were Georg Oeggl (baritone), Karl Wagner (tenor), Martha Rohs (contralto), Rudolf Christ (tenor), Gerhard Engel (baritone), Margit Opawsky (soprano), and Franz Boeheim (tenor). This production was not bought by Don Gabor. Marcel Prawy arranged for the release on other labels, for example Counterpoint in France.

Remington Recordings of Wilhelm Loibner

R-149-41
Christina Carroll sings Famous Soprano Arias
Jewel Song (Faust - Gounod)
"Ah, Je veux vivre (Romeo and Juliet - Gounod)
"Donde lietas" (La Boheme - Puccini)
"Tu che di gel sei cinta" (Turandot - Puccini)
Aria of the Page Boy (Ballo in Maschera - Verdi)
Bird Song (Pagliacci - Leoncavallo)
"Batti, batti, o bel Masetto" (Don Giovanni - Mozart)
"Guinse alfin momento" (The Marriage of Figaro - Mozart)
Christina Carroll (soprano) with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra, Wilhelm Loibner conducting.

R-199-70 - Mozart: Piano concerto No. 24, performed by Sari Biro. The recording was coupled with Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" performed by the Austrian Symphony Orchestra, Robert Heger conducting. The record was released in June 1952.

R/199-73
Emmanuel List in Opera and Song

SIDE 1:
- Finale to Act II of "Der Rosenkavalier" (Richard Strauss) - with Else Schurhoff, (contralto)
- La Calumnia e un venticello, from "The Barber of Seville"
- Si la rigeur et la vengeance" (Cavatine) from "La juive" (Halevy)
Wilhelm Loibner conducting the Austrian Symphony Orchestra.
SIDE 2:
With Otto Schulhoff at the piano:
Totengrabers Heimweh (Franz Schubert); O Wien, mein liebes Wien (Karl Ziehrer); Le tambour-major (from Le Caïd - Ambroise Thomas); Song of The Flee (Modest Mussorgsky).


Click here for a Sound Clip of Ratko Delorco/Delorko (Rodolfo) singing 'Che gelida manina' from La Bohème with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Loibner, taken from the 45 RPM EP with selections.
La Bohème was also issued on the Plymouth label, P-12-42/3.

R/199-80/3
Puccini: La Boheme
Daniza Illitsch, Ratko Delorco, Hildegarde Rössel-Majdan, Ruthilde Boesch, Theo Baylé, Marion Rus, Georg Oeggl, and Emil Siegerth. Austrian Symphony and Chorus, Wilhelm Loibner.

R-199-81/3
Giacomo Puccini: Madame Butterfly
Daniza Illitsch, Ratko Delorco, Hildegarde Rössel-Majdan, August Jaresch, Jovan Gligor, Emil Siegerth. Austrian Symphony and Chorus, Wilhelm Loibner.
Selections from Act 1, 2 and 3 were issued on Remington Extended Play REP-4 (45 RPM, 7").

R-199-123
Contemporary Opera
Emmnuel List (bass) and Else Schurhoff (contralto): Finale to Act II of "Der Rosenkavalier" (Richard Strauss)
Hilde Zadek and Anton Dermota: Gluck das mir verblieb from "Die Tote Stadt" (Erich Wolfgang Korngold)
Kurt Baum: Nessun dorma (Turandot - Puccini)
Coupled with Overture to "I vespri siciliani" (Giuseppe Verdi), conducted by Vittorio Gui.

At right the cover of the disc with Contemporary Opera, of which the Korngold selection with Hilde Zadek and Anton Dermota was in fact the only contemporary selection. That same duet was later issued by Tom Null on Varèse-Sarabande.
Producer Marcel Prawy also issued several recordings he had originally produced for Remington on 78 RPM shellac discs in Austria. Below at right Harmona "Marcel Prawy Production" 14004 with "Glück das mir verblieb". (Image courtesy Nikolaus Kühböck, Vienna.)
Korngold plays Korngold

At right:

Korngold by Korngold

Masterseal MW 46:

"A Marcel Prawy Production".

 
Wilhelm Loibner conducts Opera Scenes of Ludwig van Beethoven (Fidelio) and Richard Wagner (Flying Dutchman/Fliegende Hollander) on Masterseal MW 51. The disc also contains Serge Saxe's Keats & Shelley Songs sung by Paul Schöffler (bass) accompanied by Ignace Strasfogel at the piano.

R-199-127
 Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 Op. 26
and Kol Nidrei of Max Bruch on Remington R-199-127, misses the fire and nervousness of the Tchaikovsky performance. Both soloist and conductor remain in calm waters.

R-199-144
Ludwig van
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra and Wilhelm Loibner conductor.

R-199-145
Johannes Brahms:
Violin Concerto in D major Op. 77, with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra and Wilhelm Loibner.

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A few LP recordings of Wilhelm Loibner on other labels

 
 

Lyrichord 36
Haydn: Symphonies - Nos. 12, 23, 29 & 30.
Vienna State Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra.

Decca LX 3126
(London LS 861)
Verdi: Un ballo in maschera (excerpts) in German
Carla Martinis (soprano), Helge Roswaenge (tenor) and Theo Baylé (baritone) with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, Wilhelm Loibner conducting

Philips N 00203 L
(NBL 5007)

Schubert: Complete Rosamunde Music

Vienna Symphony Orchestra - "Wiener Symphoniker" - conducted by Wilhelm Loibner

Philips N 00712 R
Verdi: Highlights from Aida, Un ballo in maschera, Otello

Gré Brouwenstijn (soprano), Frans Vroons (tenor), the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Loibner

Philips NBL 5024 (GB)
Smetena: Die verkaufte Braut - The Bartered bride
Hilde Zadek (soprano), Hans Hopf (tenor), Otto Edelmann (bass), Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Loibner

Philips A 00751 R
Dvorak: Violin Concerto Op. 53
Thomas Magyar and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Loibner

His Master's Voice ASD 471
The Opera Ball - Various excerpts from Operettas (Chambre separée, Wenn es Abend wird, Hör ich Zigeunergeigen, Meine Lippen, Wer hatd ie liebe uns ins Herz gesenkt, Wie eine Rosenknospe, Einer wird kommen, Alle maskiert, Komm' in die Gondel.
Emmy Loose (soprano), Lotte Rysanek (soprano), Murray Dickie (tenor), Karl Terkal (tenor), Vienna Volksoper Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Loibner

 

Most recordings were made in the years 1950 to 1955, except for the His Master's Voice recording "The Opern Ball" which was released in 1962 and likely to have been recorded a year earlier. An oddity (if that is not a too unfriendly qaulification) is the Eterna LP on which he conducts a Mozart Symphony. This means that he traveled to other music centers to conduct.

Eterna LPM 1010 (Series "Lied der Zeit")
Mozart Symphony K 563
Wilhelm Loiber conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin.

Philips 312 5-01 AF
Waldemar Kmentt sings Hindu Song from Sadko, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Lensky's Aria from Yevgeny Onegin, Tchaikovsky, with the Wiener Symphiker conducted by Wilhelm Loiber.

In this era of the convenient digital medium there are many CD's available on which Wilhelm Loibner conducts.

There is a studio recording from 1951 of Wilhelm Kienzl's opera "Der Kuhreigen" with a host of Viennese singers, among these Walter Berry, Otto Wiener, Anny Felbermayer, Kurt Equiluz, and Ruthilde Boesch.

And there is a recording of "Il tabarro" (Puccini) from 1950 with Christl Goltz, Günter Treptow and Armin Weltner. This performance was probably also offered to Don Gabor when he traveled to Europe in the early 1950s looking for recordings.

Rudolf A Bruil - Research and text.
Page first published January 16, 2012


NOTE American soprano Lynn Amos, who had performed with Wilhelm Loibner and had studied extensively with Loibner's wife Kammersängerin Ruthilde Boesch, in Vienna, pointed out to me that four days after I had published this page about the conductor, soprano Ruthilde Boesch had died. About Wilhelm Loibner she said:


Professor Loibner was a gentle, extremely sweet, kind man. I have fond memories of him. (The) really sharpest "musical" memory of him I retain (other than watching/hearing him conduct at the Staatsoper) was his observation of how to conduct the Viennese Waltz: "It isn't enough to go 'One, two, three; One, two, three' over and over; you have to remember that to be truly Viennese, the rhythm must be, 'One, two, three; One two....maybe three.'" And then he'd smile. - Lynn Amos, soprano

Ruthilde Boesch. was born on January 9, 1918 in Braunau (Austria), studied with Joseph Krips at the Vienna Music Academy and made her debut in 1945 as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro. She sang in Wiener Staatsoper-productions as Papagena ("Die Zauberflöte"), Olympia ("Les Contes d'Hoffmann"), Despina ("Così fan tutte"), Blondchen ("Die Entführung aus dem Serail"), Lola ("Cavalleria rusticana") oder Barbarina ("Le nozze di Figaro"). She travelled to London, Sydney, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin und Barcelona. She was also praised as a Lied singer and as a pedagogue.

January, 2012.


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