Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hermann

jadlowker Hermann Jadlowker was born today in 1877 in Riga, Latvia.

Destined by his family to be a merchant, he ran away from home at 15 - heading to Vienna, where he studied classical singing with Josef Gänsbacher. In 1899 (some sources say 1897), he made his operatic début at Cologne in Kreutzer's Nachtlager von Granada. He then secured engagements in Stettin and Karlsruhe. Kaiser Wilhelm II heard him and was so impressed that he offered him a five-year contract at the Royal Opera in Berlin. Apart from Berlin, Jadlowker sang also in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Vienna, Lemberg, Prague, Budapest and Boston during the course of his career.

In 1910-12, Jadlowker appeared at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, where he proved to be one of the company's most versatile artists although his performances were overshadowed by those of Enrico Caruso. He returned to Europe prior to the outbreak of World War I and continued his operatic career in a number of German cities. During the 1920s, Jadlowker sang increasingly on the concert platform and, in 1929, he was chosen to be chief cantor at the Riga synagogue. Jadlowker subsequently became a voice teacher at the Riga Conservatory before emigrating to Palestine with his wife in 1938. He taught in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, dying in the latter city at the age of 75.

Jadlowker possessed a dark-hued, lyric-dramatic tenor voice of extraordinary flexibility. His agile vocal technique enabled him to sing runs, trills and other coloratura embellishments with ease and accuracy. He made a large number of records in Europe and America across a 20-year period, commencing in 1907. Many of these recordings, which include arias by composers as diverse as Mozart, Auber, Verdi, Rossini and Wagner, can be heard on CD reissues.

Among the very best of those is Hermann Jadlowker: Dramatic Coloratura Tenor which has everything he ever recorded, from Mozart to lieder by Strauss and Tchaikovsky, including his incomparable "Noch tönt mir ein Meer im Busen (Fuor del Mare)" (they say that when Mozart wrote Idomeneo, his tenor was a sexagenarian who thought Mozart was a brat. Be that as it may, he must have had a voice to die for: since then, not until Jadlowker, and (I think) not since, has anyone sung the "long" aka "hard" version of this aria, with trills and coloratura like you've never heard before.) and "Ecco ridente in cielo" from Rossini's "Barber of Seville". Marston 52017-2. Because of the age of the recordings, there is some noise, easily (in my opinion) overlooked.

As soon as I found this, I had to buy it. As Tom Kaufman's liner notes say, "Jadlowker's voice and skills were unique." Simply a fantastic collection, 2 discs, and I can (and have) listened to the first disc for literally hours. Here is "Fuor del Mare". Enjoy it.

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