If you’ve arrived here for the first time, you’ll want to hear Lehmann sing! Dich, teure Halle Translation. Or listen to her sing in English. Or listen to Lehmann sing lighter songs and operetta. And what about who she was and wasn’t?! A bio or two would be good. You’ll enjoy some photos and a chronology (she sang a lot!). Her colleagues and students have recorded tributes that you can sample. You can learn about Lehmann’s roles and repertoire (during 2013, I’m hoping to complete this), the books she wrote, books about her and her discography. Check out the page of Lehmann reading poetry. Lehmann Firsts and Honors; Famous Conductors for Whom Lehmann Sang; new, as of September 2012, a page of Lehmann letters.
For students of opera and song, you’ll enjoy hearing Lehmann’s masterclasses. You can read about her work with the leading conductors and pianists of her time, including Bruno Walter, Arturo Toscanini, Paul Ulanowsky, Ernö Balogh, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, etc. Here also, is a page about Lehmann’s companion Frances Holden.
And how does Lehmann compare to other singers? You can enjoy singers of her time and our time in the same aria or song. Here’s a little game for you vocal experts: I’ve conflated four versions of Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade Gretchen am Spinnrade can you tell me who is singing each verse? (I’ll put the answer at the bottom of the page.) Translation
Winterreise was Lehmann’s favorite work; she was the first woman to record the cycle; she painted watercolors to go with each song and recorded the poetry, and you can sample all of this.
Lehmann taught and coached many singers, I’m trying to list as many as I can. Please send me names of those I’ve missed. I have some of her master classes, and, as of August 2012, thanks to Paul Koko, we have two of Lehmann’s classes from 1967 given at Northwestern University.
I’ll also try to keep you informed about news related to Lehmann, such as the on-going work that I’m doing in assembling and producing Lehmann “rarities” for a multiple CD set for the Music and Arts label; the release of a 2012 restoration by Immortal Performances of Lehmann’s live Met broadcast of Rosenkavalier in 1938; a new book: Lotte Lehmann in America: Her Legacy as Artist Teacher. The volume is number 23 in the CMS MBAM series (Monographs and Bibliographies in American Music) and includes commentaries from her master classes. There’s a new play list of Lehmann that includes a lot of the 1936 Meistersinger with Toscanini from Salzburg, with only a bit of Lehmann at the beginning and end. You can find an obituary of one of her assistants and biographers, Beaumont Glass. Look for “Waltraud Meier Receives the Lotte Lehmann Memorial Ring.” Also the non-Lehmann news, such as the passing of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. And interesting info in the Lehmann world such as a slightly cleaned up version of the acoustically horrible (but exciting) short-wave broadcast of Toscanini conducting Lehmann in the Abscheulicher and Komm’ Hoffnung of 16 August 1936. Also, the latest internet searches to find unusual Lehmann performances. At Amazon you can search through hundreds of available Lehmann recordings sampling or buying. YouTube has posted a really well-filtered version of one of Lehmann’s most popular recordings, the 1924 acoustic of Korngold’s famous duet from Die tode Stadt with Richard Tauber. From a wonderful researcher in Vienna, I receive from time to time information about Lehmann. Recently he sent the fact that her first book, her 1937 autobiography “Anfang und Aufstieg,” was banned by the Nazis on their list of harmful and undesirable writings (“schädlichen und unerwünschten”) on December 31, 1938. Up-to-date news includes the information on the Lotte Lehmann Akademie, which offers a three week course in August 2013.
What about art song? First a quick definition: poetry set to music for classical voice and piano. Yes, there are art songs with orchestra etc., but that will do for a beginning. You already know at least one art song, Brahms’ Lullaby. The first verse is taken from a collection of German folk poems called Des Knaben Wunderhorn; the second stanza was written by Georg Scherer (1824 – 1909) in 1849. Translation
You can go to the sample page where you can hear many other songs that you know, but may not have known as art songs. There’s many songs in many languages to hear in the art song world. You can hear lots of them on the art song page. For those of you who like the visual aspect, I put together a movie called Three American Art Songs. Each of the songs is in its own scenario. Enjoy!
You can see and hear French mélodie, German Lieder, Spanish cancion classica, and American art song, just by going to LyricLanguages. I offer the original poem, an English translation and beautiful images to accompany the song. On the art song page I provide samples of many great singers, past and present, some unusual examples and even some spoofs.
Finally, you may read about me, Gary Hickling, and my connection to Lehmann and art song. I founded the Lotte Lehmann Foundation in 1997, served as its president for six years and stepped down completely in 2005. But I find myself still obsessed with Mme. Lehmann, her wonderful voice and fascinating personality. So now I’m having fun allowing her to live again with this website in a personal rather than an institutional way. As the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, which is inactive now, lists less and less on its website, I’ve decided to provide the names of the donors and Advisors, for that time when the website itself disappears.
When I was preparing one of my radio programs for WBAI in New York City, I approached one of the most art song-knowledgeable experts I could find, Philip Miller. (He deserves a whole page unto himself! That will be a project for the future.) The program was to be the “top 40″ Schubert Lieder by 40 different singers. He helped tremendously. Finally, I asked him to recommend one of the many Schubert songs recorded by Lehmann. He said, without hesitation, that though Lehmann was 60 years old when she recorded it for RCA, there wasn’t a more beautiful version to be found of An den Mond. This is not the Schubert Lied to Goethe poetry, but rather to that of Hölty. Translation
I just received an email from Thomas Pasatieri, who set the “Sieben Lehmannlieder” or the Seven Lehmann Songs. These are songs using some of Lehmann’s poems, originally for voice and piano and then orchestrated by Mr. Pasatieri. Here’s what he wrote: Dear Gary, The seven poems are: Ich bin allein auf Bergesgipfeln- Wie lieb’ ich diese klare Stunde- So hort’ ich wieder deiner Stimme- In Flammen starb dein Bild- Wie schon ist dieser tiefe Schlummer- Narzissus- Die Welt scheint ganz aus Glut gesponnen. Theodore Presser publishes Sieben Lehmannlieder and the translations for each poem are in the front of this book. Thank you, Thomas Pasatieri
Singers in Gretchen am Spinnrade quiz above: Jeannine Altmeyer (Lehmann’s last student); Lehmann herself; Gundula Janowitz; Elisabeth Schumann.