COMPOSERS: Brahms,Loewe & Strauss,Schubert,Wolf
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Hans Hotter Liederabend
PERFORMER: Hans Hotter (bass-baritone), Walter Martin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: C 507 991 B AAD mono
This palpably live recording of a concert in Hanover in February 1961 ensures that, in this year of renewed Fischer-Dieskau fever, his elder contemporary, the great bass-baritone Hans Hotter, will not be temporarily overlooked.
Hotter’s career began in the late Thirties, and he was renowned as much as the gentle giant of Lieder as for a wide range of operatic roles. His performances of Schubert’s Winterreise are legendary: in this recital, Goethe’s visionary ‘Grenzen der Menschheit’ and ‘Prometheus’ reveal the drama of the voice’s heroic resonance and articulation being shaped by a grave thoughtfulness and intimacy, entirely characteristic of Hotter.
For Brahms’s ‘Auf dem Kirchhofe’ there is a deep, sighing sadness in the voice behind its deep-etched contours; yet Hotter can also fine his voice down to the lightest, dancing rhythms for ‘Sonntag’. With his observant accompanist, Walter Martin, Hotter captures the wry solemnity of two of Hugo Wolf’s Goethe settings. And his sense of dramatic timing makes real performance art of three songs by Carl Loewe, including his thrilling ‘Erlkönig’. Hotter often worked with Richard Strauss: the three songs here, including a proud, exuberant ‘Nichts’, are robust, full-toned and word-lively. Readers should be warned that this series contains no song texts. Hilary Finch