field of oratorio, mass and passion is relatively well represented in
the catalog of the Remington catalog considering the fact that Remington
is a budget label. Joseph Messner (Handel: The Messiah - Haydn: The
7 Last Words - Mozart: Requiem - Rossini: Stabat Mater); Gustav Koslik
(Verdi: Requiem); Hans Grischkat (Bach: Christmas Oratorio). And there
is multi-talented Gottfried Preinfalk who is represented by just one
single LP record.
as a child Preinfalk studied the violin and the viola, then electrical
engineering and mechanics at the Technical University in Vienna, and
continued from 1936 till 1938 German Language Studies. In those same
years Musicology and later in Berlin, according according to the
Being a conservative, strict and apparently well organized man, he made
a few choices before World War II broke out. While most Austrians were
forced to serve in the German Army after the Annexation (Anschluss)
in 1938, Preinfalk joined the National Socialist Party and the paramillitary
Sturm Abteilung (Storm Detachment) already in 1934, when he was 20 years
of age, out of conviction.
His joining made
it possible for him to conduct the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the
Gau-Symphonie-Orchester Niederdonau during the war. His career was well
underway, but these choices had to be corrected later, when the war
was over. From 1946 on he worked as an assistant in a weaving factory
and as a private teacher he gave violin lessons and had some restricted
freedom in the first years after the war.
was conductor Kurt Wöss who brought him back to the larger music culture
by offering him a seat in the Tonkuenstler Orchestra as an alto player
(Bratsche) in 1949. In that same year he founded the Tonkuenstler Choir
and was its conductor till 1955.
was also a creative man who organized an ensemble or a chorus whenever
he had the chance to do so. In 1956 he organized the Vienna Radio Chorus
(Wiener Rundfunkchor) and led the choir until 1983. He also founded
a chamber ensemble of 16 singers which he led from 1974 till 1981 and
with it he performed difficult a-capelle compositions of Ligeti and
Penderecki. At the same time, from 1960 on, he had a film production
In the early 1950
when he was a member of the Tonkuenstlerochester, he was going to conduct
that orchestra as well. He led performances of Johannes Brahms' A German
Requiem (Ein Deutsches Requiem); Georg Friedrich Handel's Messiah; Joseph
Haydn's Die Schöpfung (The Creation). He also conducted the orchestra
in a performance by Richard Matuschka of Antonin Dvorak's Concerto for
Cello Op. 104. (Matuschka can be heard in the Sonata for Cello Op. 4
of Zoltan Kodaly on Remington R-199-107.)
R-199-78 with Excerpts from St. John Passion of Johann Sebastian
Bach. Cover by Curt John Witt.
December 9, 1951, starting at 4 p.m. in the Grosser Saal of the Musikverein,
he led the performance of St.John's Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach.
That performance must have been at the basis of Remington R-199-78 with
excerpts of that work performed by the Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester,
the Tonkünstlerchor and soloists Berta Seidl (Soprano), Hilde Rössel-Majdan
(Alto), Erich Majkut (Tenor), James Erb (Tenor), Otto Wiener (Bariton),
Walter Berry (Bass). Organist was Alois Forer, and harpsichordist was
Erb - founder of the Richmond Symphony - sang also in that performance.
His name is not mentioned on the cover of R-199-78, nor on the label,
though I suspect that he sang some of the abridged recitatives. At the
time James Erb studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts
in Vienna (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)
and sang on that Sunday in St. John's Passion. It is possible that the
excerpts were taped on the following Monday in the early morning and
later in the evening, in the Brahmssaal.
Fidelity Magazine of September 1955 reviewer Nathan Broder evaluated
an extensive series of recordings of choral works of Johann Sebastian
Bach. About the Preinfalk disc he wrote:
This performance is neither unmusical nor insensitive, and those
who would be satisfied with only some of the important portions
of the Passion on a single disk may find this one acceptable.
A harpsichord is the continuo instrument here. The numbers that
are retained are given complete, except for the recitative,
which is often considerably abbreviated, and for the great first
and last ( "Ruht wohl") choruses, which are cut before
the repeat. The highs are very much exaggerated; I had to turn the
treble control way down to achieve tone approaching reality. - Nathan
R-199 -78. $1.95.
Berta Seidl (s); Hilde Rössl -Majdan (a); Erich Majkut (t); Otto
Wiener (bs); Walter Berry (bs); Austrian Symphony Orchestra and Chorus,
Gottfried Preinfalk, cond. 12 -in.
1970s Preinfalk was responsible for the chorusses in several opera's
conducted by Lamberto Gardelli. He also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon
Gesellschaft and other labels.
A few recordings
Gottfried Preinfalk was involved with:
the Tyrols (Vanguard VRS-7037)
*Luigi Cherubini: Requiem in C Minor - ORF Chorus and Symphony
Orchestra conducted by Lamberto Gardelli and Gottfried Preinfalk (Philips
*A Treasury of German Folksongs (Columbia ML-5344)
*Oskar Nedbal: Polenblut (operetta). Hertha Schmidt (Helena)
- Karl Terkal (Bolo) - Christine Spierenburg (Wanda) - Hilde Längauer
(Jadwiga) - Karl Weber (Popiel) - Leo Heppe (Zaremba). Der Chor von
Radio Wien, Leitung: Gottfried Preinfalk; Das Wiener Volksopernorchester,
Leitung: Kurt Richter (Philips)
*Schubert: Choruses. Choir conducted by Gottfried Preinfalk (DGG
Stereo 25363 77)
*Johan Sklenka: Naive Musik - ORF Chorus Chamber Ensemble. (Preiser
*Verdi: I due foscari. Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey.
ORF Symphony Orchestra and ORF Chorus, Lamberto Gardelli and Gottfried
Preinfalk. (Philips ?6700 105)
*Verdi: La Prima Donna (selections) - Lamberto Gardelli, John
McCarthy, Gottfried Preinfalk (Philips 6527 220)
*Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe, Rapsodie Espagnole. Austria Broadcast
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Milan Horvat conducting and the ORF
Choir conducted by Gottfried Preinfalk (Classical Excellence-CE 11048)
Preinfalk was born on August 8, 1914, in Vienna and died in Vienna on
December 20, 1986.
A. Bruil. Page first published on February 6, 2018. Concepted in 2014.