24. April 2008

Remembering the Era Karl Richter in Munich: Year 1969 ff. [EN]

Numerous ZDF/Unitel film productions, as well as many organ concerts and Georg Friedrich Handel’s Feuerwerksmusik, recorded in the new Schloss Schleissheim, affected the years between 1967 and 1971. Pieces for Cembalo and Organ were produced in Ottobeuren. The Marienmuenster in Diessen in Ammersee was an ideal setting for the recording of Bach’s High Mass in B-minor, featuring the soloists Gundula Janowitz, Hertha Toepper, Horst Laubenthal and Hermann Prey.

Marienmuenster Diessen, the Lake Ammersee

Elmar Schloter

For these television recordings, Karl Richter wanted a very special organ sound in certain passages, a sound he could not be produced on the continuo. We decided to fall back on the church organ in Diessen and recorded different sequences with this organ in the background. That worked out very well, because the church was not so big. For example in the B-minor Mass, at the Confiteor, where only the continuo and the choir were fairly present, this whole sequence was recorded on the Diessen Church Organ.

Elmar Schloter playing the Continuo-Organ in Diessen

These Recordings as well as the Johannes Passion, which had been recorded in Diessen, at the same time with Peter Schreier as Evangelist, Ernst-Gerold Schramm as Christus, together with the soloists Helen Donath, Julia Hamari, Siegmund Nimsgern and Kieth Engen were digitally transferred and published on DVD in 2006.

The Brandenburg Concertos, recorded at Schloss Schleissheim, are in the meantime available on DVD, as well as Bach’s Matthews Passion, which was dramatically staged in the Bavaria Studios in Munich Geiselgasteig again featuring the soloists Helen Donath, Julia Hamari, Peter Schreier, Ernst-Gerold Schramm and Siegmund Nimsgern, the Bass part was sung by Walter Berry.

Ernst-Gerold Schramm and Siegmund Nimsgern

Siegmund Nimsgern

If you ask me other colleagues had been primarily intended, the engagement happened very quickly and only the 'bad men' came for me in question. Kieth Engen and Walter Berry had the Bass arias, they were essentially established people. Of course I would have liked to have sung the really important parts, although I must say: Pilatus in the Johannes Passion, if you count the notes and not the importance of the role, has almost more to say than Jesus. And that is a very good figure. He is the one who says the only phrase that most people remember from the Passions at all: 'WHAT IS TRUTH'

Siegmund Nimsgern and Karl Richter amidst Chor and Orchester

Julia Hamari

The Matthews Passion was in the Bavarian Film Studios, I can remember this huge Studio. And we had to sing properly. There was no Playback, we had to sing. And he stood there and as I opened my mouth for the first time, I thought, I didn’t have much of a voice. But then I got used to it: I hear so much - and I sing so much - nothing more. And when I had sung the aria for the first time, the directors’ voice came over the loud speaker: "You sang that fantastically, Hamari!"

Julia Hamari and Helen Donath in Geiselgasteig