During the 1930s and `40s, Wagnerian tenor Lauritz Melchior was the most famous Danish tenor in the world, singing virtually every role Wagner ever wrote worldwide, but in Denmark during the same period a very different kind of tenor was flourishing: Aksel Schiøtz, with his light, silvery voice, high standards of musicianship, excellent command of lieder and wide popularity among his countrymen for his singing of Danish folk and art songs.
All of this came to an abrupt end in the fall of 1946 when Schiøtz, suffering from severe headaches and impaired vocal control, was diagnosed with a brain tumor that had to be removed immediately. The operation saved his life but left one side of his face, and vocal muscles, paralyzed. Through sheer hard work he was able to com back, two years later, as a baritone, but though the phrasing and musicianship remained intact the voice no longer had its silvery bloom. He continued to perform and record as a baritone through the late 1950s, then became a teacher of voice and interpretation in Colorado before accepting a similar post in his native Denmark in 1969. He died ten years later.
This, the last album in the Schiøtz series, contains all of his recordings of songs by the great composer Carl Nielsen, better-known internationally nowadays than he was in the 1930s and `40s. Schiøtz' readings, long considered classic, are here lovingly restored to their original pristine sound. The result is an incredible sense of intimacy created between performer and listener. The Danish engineer responsible for most of the Schiøtz recordings had one object in mind: to properly balance voice and piano or voice and orchestra, then let them perform as they would in a natural concert environment.
None of the cramped, dry LP pressings we all became to familiar with were used here, or indeed in any of the volumes of this series; every single track was lovingly and meticulously restored in London's Abbey Road studios from mint-condition copies of the original 78s or brand-new transfers made from the original metal parts. The results are simply magical, creating a tremendous intimacy between the tenor and listener in a way that is hard to describe unless you hear it for yourself. A shame that most of these CDs are now hard to obtain, but I urge you to get them if you can!