Remington R-199-121 excerpts from "The Seven Last Words of Jesus
Christ" (Haydn) and from "Stabat Mater" (Rossini) conducted
by Joseph Messner were coupled with "Libera me" from Verdi's
Requiem, conducted by Gustav Koslik.
Gueden, early 1950s.
taken from an old Dutch encyclopedia.
from the Messner recordings and of Verdi's Requiem were released on Plymouth
Messner was a deep religious man. He was ordained a priest in 1916,
studied composition and organ at the Munich Academy of Music (Münchener
Akademie für Tonkunst) to become an organist, a prolific composer
and eventually a famous conductor of mostly religious works.
Messner (Josef, as printed on the Remington boxes with Mozart's Requiem
and Haydn's Seven Last Words) was one of the great conductors to lead
the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and the Salzburg Dome Choir
(Salzburger Domchor) in several series of religious concerts, and this
for more than twenty years, starting in 1945. Several of Messner's early
performances appeared on Remington Records of which
Prawy was the producer in Vienna and Salzburg. However, Prawy
never mentions the name of Joseph Messner in his book "Marcel Prawy
talks about his life" (Marcel Prawy erzählt aus seinem Leben).
Sacher as portrayed on Philips S 04003 L with works of J.S. Bach.
in a letter dated September 25, 1950, Prawy asks conductor Paul Sacher
to make recordings for the Remington label, Prawy writes that "we
have an exclusive contract with the Mozarteum Orchestra and the Viennese
Tonkünstler Orchestra", an argument to persuade Paul Sacher.
And it is not clear if Prawy wanted Sacher to conduct the Salzburg Mozarteum
Orchestra in specific works for Remington Records. Despite Prawy's bid,
Paul Sacher never recorded for Remington Records.
is probable that the recordings of the great works by Mozart, Haydn,
Handel and Rossini conducted by Joseph Messner, were not
supervised by Prawy himself, or just in a few instances. He may have
bought recordings from the organization of the Salzburg Mozarteum Festival,
or even directly from the OR, Österreichischer Rundfunk (Austrian
Public Broadcasting Service, later to be named ORF). The archive of
this company could show more details.
after the Annexation (Anschluss) of Austria by Germany on March
12, 1938, Joseph Messner had been degraded by the Nazis and was not
allowed to perform any longer.
However, there is mention of a concert with Joseph Messner conducting
the Mozarteum Orchestra during World War Two. It is a concert under
the auspices of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party)
held on August 24, 1942, when Messner's "Scherzo and Three Songs
for Baritone and Orchestra" with the title: "Schicksal
der Deutschen" (Fate of the Germans), on poems by Heinrich
Lersch, were performed. Soloist in the songs entitled "Fahneneid",
"Grabschrift" and "Bekenntnis" (Oath to the Flag,
Epitaph, Declared belief) was bariton Hans Herbert Fiedler. The other
conductor of the program was Willem Van Hoogstraten (former husband
of pianist Elly Ney). That was about the time when
conducted two concerts at the Salzburg Festival (one concert
with pianist Cor de Groot in Beethoven's Emperor Concerto Op.
fact that Messner conducted then and there when the Nazis were in charge,
gave many a critic the idea that Messner would have been on the wrong
side, politically, which, apparently, was a false accusation. The poems
could be interpreted in more than one way. When in 1945 the Austrian
cultural life and also the Salzburg community should make a fresh start,
the Americans choose Joseph Messner to conduct the first concert
of the Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele). Could well be that
they did not know about the 1942 event. Or that they were told but did
not adhere any significance to it.
Messner in the nineteen fifties in a characteristic pose with score
and baton. Picture courtesy Verband der Südtiroler Musikkapellen
to the excellent web site of the Salzburger Festspiele, Joseph
Messner's repertory was extensive and did not just include Giovanni
Battista Pergolesi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van
Beethoven, Giacomo Rossini, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, and Anton
Bruckner. On July 7, 1945, he led the first concert of the Mozarteum
Orchestra after the war, performing compositions by Bizet, Bruch and
August 31 of that same year he conducted for the first time the performance
of Mozart's Requiem K 626, in the Large Hall of the Salzburg
Mozarteum. Singers were Gertrude Erhardt (Soprano), Erna Kreuzer (Contralto),
Julius Patzak (Tenor), Ludwig Weber (Bass). The organist was Anton Dawidowicz.
They performed together with the Salzburger Domchor and Mozarteum Orchestra.
later performance of Mozart's Requiem Mass with Hilde Gueden,
Soprano; Julius Patzak, Tenor; Rosette Anday, Contralto;
Josef Greindl, Bass; conducted by Joseph Messner on August
27, 1950, was issued on Remington Records.
DeMotte said about the recording: 'Messner's performance is
impressively lofty, but on two 12" disks.'
1933 on up to and including World War Two, the Nazi influence in the
arts was not only restricted to the celebration of Richard Wagner at
Bayreuth, and in the condemnation and prohibition of modernistic, so
called degenerated art ("Entartete Kunst, entartetet Musik").
Also books and manuscripts were edited, complete encyclopedias were
rewritten and entries in existing encyclopedia were omitted or changed.
Also the text of Mozart's Requiem Mass had to suffer.
was Polydor (originally the German division of The Gramophone
Company named "Deutsche Grammophon") that had made a recording
of Mozart's Requiem Mass KV 626 in 1941 with singers Tilla Briem (Soprano),
Gertrude Freimuth (Contralto), Walter Ludwig (Tenor), and Fred Drissen
(Bass). Used was an alternate Nazi-text (according to The Gramophone
Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music). The New York Times later
wrote: "All references to the Jewish roots of Christianity are
purged." 'Quam olim Abrahae promisisti' ('As was promised to Abraham')
becomes 'Quam olim homini promisisti' ('As was promised to man'). 'Deus
in Sion' ('God in Zion') becomes 'Deus in coelis' ('God in heaven')."
The performance was of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bruno
Kittel Choir (Bruno Kittelscher Chor), all conducted by Bruno Kittel.
Polydor PD-67731/9 (9 x 12" shellac records).
did not finish his Requiem Mass. After he had died, the work was completed
by his alleged pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayer. That was the
version Joseph Messner conducted according to the liner notes of the
Remington box edition, which - I presume - were written by well known
critic and music writer of Opera News
- MOZART (1756-1791)
generally accepted version of the story of the Mozart D Minor
Mass has it that in July 1791 Mozart received an unknown visitor
clothed completely in black. This visitor refused to identify
himself and said that the person whom he represented wished Mozart
to write a Requiem Mass. He asked Mozart to name his fee and to
tell him approximately how long it would take him to complete
the work. A few days later the mysterious messenger returned with
the advance requested by Mozart. He insinuated that his master
thought Mozart's price exceedingly low and that if the Requiem
were finished on time there would undoubtedly be a large bonus
who unknowingly had six months of life remaining, felt a strong
premonition about this work. He was suffering physically and the
composition added strange mental tortures. He had the delusion
that the strange messenger clothed in black was a messenger of
death and that he was writing a Requiem for himself. Nevertheless
Mozart started the composition immediately. During the next few
months work was halted by prior commitments on "The Magic
Flute" production. Mozart, who normally wrote very rapidly,
found it increasingly difficult to get the Mass under way. Undoubtedly
this was caused by the strange hallucinations he had about his
work. Each time he worked steadily on the composition there was
a noticeable decline in his health, and whenever he put the work
aside and turned to other matters his physical condition improved.
Almost before Mozart was aware of it he had passed the deadline
he had promised the strange messenger. Finally in a last burst
of effort to complete the piece, his powers ebbed until in December
1791 the master passed away leaving the manuscript unfinished.
After his death his wife Constanze approached a number of his
friends and asked them to complete the work using Mozart's notes.
After several people had refused she turned to Süssmayer,
Mozart's beloved pupil, to complete the work. Süssmayer,
who had been a very close friend and confidant of the master,
had heard Mozart play parts of the composition many times during
the last six months of his life. The story is even told that as
he was dying, Mozart gave his beloved pupil instructions as to
how the mass should be finished.
Using Mozart's style which he knew so well, and having complete
access to his notes, Süssmayer completed the work. Years
later he said that he recopied the whole, destroying the original
manuscript so that the patron who had ordered the Requiem would
not notice a difference in the handwriting. Finally the messenger
called for the completed manuscript which Constanze delivered
with what must have been a sigh of relief.
later the mystery of the strange patron was disclosed when the
Requiem Mass was performed privately. The work had been commissioned
by a Count von Wallsegg, a well-known patron of music who had
a private orchestra under his permanent employ. The Count was
noted for frequently commissioning work, recopying them in his
own hand, and having them performed as his own compositions. This
was apparently his idea in commissioning the Requiem which he
planned to have performed in the memory of his wife.
The whole story of the Requiem will never be known unless the
original manuscript, supposedly destroyed by Süssmayer, should
be discovered in some long forgotten archive. The D Minor Requiem
however, still remains one of the world's greatest musical works.
The Requiem received its first performance at Jahn's Hall, Vienna
in 1792. - John W. Freeman
sources mention that the Requiem did not receive its first performance
in 1792, but one year later on December 14, 1793, at Wiener Neustadt.
Constanze first asked Joseph Eybler (1765-1845), who had studied
composition with Mozart, to finish the instrumentation. But when he
was asked to complete sections and to write missing parts to be added,
he refused to do so. Enter Franz Xaver Süssmayer (1763-1803).
He wrote the instrumentation and composed the Lacrymosa (after bar 8),
and completed the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. There are many
weak instances in Süssmayer's score and the Sanctus really shows
his poor style of instrumentation and composing. Despite all the criticism
regarding the skill of Franz Xaver Süssmayer, it is thanks to him
that the Requiem, Mozart's last composition, was completed and because
of that found it's prominent position in Mozart's oeuvre, and was not
lost but can be heard today in full. Although many may argue that if
Süssmayer had not completed it, someone else may have done it sometime
later, provided all of the original pages with Mozart's handwriting
had been available.
27, 1893 - February 23, 1969), was born in Schwaz, Austria, not far
from Innsbruck. He was the second son of Jakob Messner and Maria Speckbacher.
In 1923 he was appointed organist and in 1926 "Kapellmeister"
at the Dom church in Salzburg. And since 1932 he conducted the so called
Dome Concerts of the Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele).
Messner was not only a devoted conductor and choir leader. As an organist
he gave concerts in many a European city. Furthermore he composed over
two hundred works of all kinds and forms: church music, secular music,
choral works, songs, concertos, symphonies and chamber music. He wrote
"Missa poëtica" on texts of Ilse von Stach; "Zwei
Marienlegenden" (Two Mary Legends); a Symphony for organ; "Esther",
a so called church opera; he composed the opera "Hadassa";
and also violin concertos and piano music. He wrote the stage music
for "Jedermann" (Everyman, Elckerlyc), the play about
"The Dying of the Rich Man", written by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
and every year he was present at the Festival. He conducted for the
last time in Salzburg on August 13, 1967, and that, again, was the performance
of Mozart's Requiem K 626. But now the singers were Laurence Dutoit
(Soprano), Friederike Baumgartner (Contralto), Lorenz Fehenberger (Tenor),
and Max Pröbstl (Bass). The organist was Gerhard Zukriegel. About
one and a half year later, after a full life and 45 years of devoted
music making, Joseph Messner passed away, on February 23, 1969, in St.
Jakob am Thurn, a short distance from Salzburg.
only recording of Joseph Messner in the era of the 78 RPM shellac records,
is a 12 inch disc: His Master's Voice DB 5054. He conducts an
orchestra accompanying Eidé Noréna singing "Care
Selve" from Atalanta (Georg Friedrich Handel). This recording of
Noréna (=Andre Karoline Hansen) was probably made in 1939
when she sang during the Salzburg Festival. In "The New Guide to
Recorded Music" (1950) Irving Kolodin wrote: "All singers
save Noréna use an English version of the Italian text, which
was one more reason for retaining a preference for her version (...).
However, Noréna, whose singing of opera has not often moved me,
is an inspired artist on this disk." Maybe Joseph Messner's conducting
had an inspiring influence.
recording of Joseph Messner conducting Mozart's Requiem on August 9,
1931, is neither listed in "The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of
Recorded Music" of 1942, nor in the 1948 edition. The performance
which was transferred to CD by Orfeo must be a live recording
from the Austrian Broadcasting Service. In that performance the singers
were Hanna Seebach-Ziegler (Soprano), Jella von Braun-Fernwald (Contralto),
Hermann Gallos (Tenor), Richard Mayr (Bass), the Salzburger Domchor
and the Orchestra of the Dom-Musik-Verein, and the (prewar) Mozarteum
is a recording of Orazio Benevoli's "Messe solennelle pour 53 voix
et hymne pour la consécration de la cathédrale de Salzbourg"
(Solemn mass for 53 voices and hymn for the consecration of the Salzburg
Cathedral; Festmesse und Hymnus zur Einweihung des Domes in Salzburg
1628 ) written in 1628, conducted by Joseph Messner, on Philips A
00622/3 L (2 LP set) from 1954. Issued in the US on a single
disc, Epic LC 3035 in April 1954 (without the hymn); released
in Great Britain in August 1955 on Philips ABR 4015/6, two 10
inch discs. The performers are the Salzburger Dom Choir, Vienna Symphony
Orchestra, Franz Sauer, organ.
recordings of Joseph Messner on the Remington label:
- Josef Haydn - The Seven Last Words of Christ - Hilde Gueden,
Soprano; Clara Ölschläger, Contralto; Julius Patzak, Tenor;
Hans Braun, Baritone; Ernst Reichert, Harpsichord; The Salzburg Mozarteum
Orchestra, The Salzburg Dome Choir. Joseph Messner, Conductor. This
is the recording of the live performance on July 30, 1950 in
the Aula Academica. Released in May 1952. In France issued on Concerteum
almost ten years this Remington R-199-66/2 was the only available recording
of the oratorio untill the Westminster disc with reference 17006 became
availble with Virginia Babikian (Soprano), Eunice Alberts (Alto), John
van Kesteren (Tenor), Ina Dressel (Soprano), Otto Wiener (Bass), Vienna
State Opera Orchestra, Vienna Academy Choir, and Hermann Scherchen (Conductor).
This recording was made in the Mozart Hall, Vienna, Januari 1962.
Warren DeMotte in "The Long Playing Record Guide"
said about The Seven Last Words of Christ on Remington: "The
oratorio is available in one recording. Messner leads a performance
of solid virtues and sensible pacing, in a surprisingly open recording.
However, there is little tension, and this may be inherent in
the oratorio version."
Burke in High Fidelity magazine of September 1954 writes:
"The Seven Last Words in its final vocal setting (Remington
199-66) is compulsive in spite of the minor damage undergone in
recording a public performance."
- Georg Frederick Handel - The Messiah
(this is the so-called Mozart-Hiller version for which Mozart added
to the instrumentation, made cuts and made a few changes). Performers
are Anneliese Kupper, Soprano; Rosette Anday, Contralto; Lorenz Fehenberger,
Tenor; Josef Greindl, Bass; The Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, The Salzburg
Dome Choir. Joseph Messner, Conductor. Recorded at the Salzburg Festival
Performance in the Aula Academica on August 28, 1949. Released
in May 1952. In France issued on
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem -
Hilde Gueden, Soprano; Julius Patzak, Tenor; Rosette Anday, Contralto;
Josef Greindl, Bass; The Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, The Salzburg
Dome Choir. Joseph Messner, Conductor. Recorded at the Salzburg Festival
Performance in the Aula Academica on August 27, 1950. First listed
in the Schwann edition of July 1952. In France released on Concerteum
Burke, in the 4th instalment of his discography of recordings of
works by Mozart, "Mozart on microgroove" (High Fidelity November-December
1953), comments on the live performance on Remington:
Remington the Salzburg specialist Prof. Messner has produced a
beautiful compromise suitable for churches, wherein a devout acknowledgement
of God's power ascends over the human revolt of a dying man against
the omnipotence that ends him.. Splendid soloists and confident,
expertise in the performance carried by a recording in which good
and bad battle to our exasperation. The violins cut and the bass
is inflated for service on the poorest phonographs. There is an
oppressive low frequency background noise more distracting than
the occasional coughs of the audience at this public performance.
Withal, direct and tonal phalanxes -. On the most resourceful
phonographs the sound can be disciplined to impress us and on
bad phonographs the sound has a meretricious effectiveness. Owners
of middling, respectable apparatus should be wary of this recording.
- G.C. Burke, High Fidelity, 1953
- Giacomo Rossini - Stabat Mater - Irmgard
Seefried, Soprano; Rosette Anday, Contralto; Lorenz Fehenberger, Tenor;
Ferdinand Franz, Bass; The Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, The Salzburg
Dome Choir. Joseph Messner, Conductor. Recorded at the Salzburg Festival
Performance in the Aula Academica on August 7, 1949. Released
in the course of 1953. In France released on Concerteum CR 291. Critic
Warren DeMotte wrote: "Messner is devotional and tones down the
operatic aspect of the score."
the US two more recordings of Joseph Messner conducting the Salzburg
Mozarteum Orchestra appeared on the Festival label:
Bruckner's Te Deum with Stefanie Holeschovsky (soprano), Fanny Elsta
(alto), Lorenz Fehenberger (tenor), Georg Hann (bass) and the Chorus
and Orchestra of the 1949 Salzburg Festival on Festival 101. And Coronation
Mass (Mozart) with Hilde Zadek, soprano; Eleanore Gifford, contralto;
Julius Patzak, tenor; Hans Braun, bass on Festival 100. Festival Records
Inc. was located at 125 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, Mass. The label
existed from 1950 till 1956.
for Mozart's Requiem: Fritz Hennenberg
"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig
1976. There was an article in the New York Times
about the purged text of Mozart's Requiem in the Third Reich. This is
no longer available online. Some details were taken from the liner notes
by Alfred Beaujean written for the Philips
edition of Mozart's Sacred Music conducted by Colin Davis.
for Joseph Messner's appearances in Salzburg are from the web site of
The Salzburger Festspiele.
A. Bruil, text and research. Page first published on the Internet on
December 13, 2007.
toeren opera en zang" - a blog about various artists and
labels from the 78 RPM era, and maintained since 2010, there is a interesting
article about recordings which appeared on the Christschall label in
the 1930s, and among those are recordings of conductor Joseph Messner.
Christschall is not mentioned in the Gramophone Encyclopedia of Recorded
Music. Apparently it was a private label, not a commercial one.