The Happiest Day of Martin Mitterutzner’s Life

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MAY: Heut’ ist der Schönste Tag im Meinem Leben. Ein Lied geht um die Welt. TAUBER: Du bist die Welt für Mich. CARSTE: Hallo! Wie wär’s mit einer fährt ins Glück? GROTHE: Mon bijou. MARTINI: Plaisir d’amour. FISCHER: Süduch der Alpen (Tarantella). WINKLER: Ja, der schöne chianti Wien. COTTRAU: Santa Lucia. TOSTI: Marechiare. L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra. DI CAPUA: O sole Mio. STOLZ: Gruss aus Wien. SIECZYNSKI: Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume. KÁLMÁN: Gräfin Maritza: Wenn es abend wird. DE CURTIS: Verghissmeinnicht (Non ti scordar ti me). STOLZ: Uno-Marsch. Mein Herz ruft immer nach dir, oh Marita. SPOLIANSKY: Heut’ nacht oder Die. BOHM: Still wir die Nacht / Martin Mitterutzner, ten; Deutsches Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken; Christoph Poppen, cond / SWR Music 19104CD

Following on the heels of Daniel Behle’s and Jonas Kaufmann’s successful recordings of old German tenor chestnuts and Viennese operetta arias, tenor Martin Mitterutzner takes a crack at the repertoire once trod by the likes of Joseph Schmidt, Richard Tauber, Marcel Wittrisch and Jan Kiepura back in the 1930s.

First we must start with a caveat. Mitterutzner doesn’t have nearly the voice of those tenors mentioned in the above paragraph, not even as much as Kiepura who probably had the least voice of that lot. Yes, it’s a pleasant timbre, but he just gets by, and when you consider that none of those 1930s tenors I named had particularly large voices, that’s not saying much. But he’s miked well and sings with a pleasing style, though not as good or as individual as the styles that Tauber, Schmidt and Wittrisch had.

And believe me, I know what I’m talking about, having gotten pretty heavily into the old records of those tenors when I was in college. As coincidence would have it, that was exactly the period of time that Seraphim, the budget American label of EMI, was reissuing Tauber and Schmidt recordings on LP, not to mention the even cheaper Eterna label that cranked out vintage recordings of old singers (adding the older Leo Slezak and others to the ‘30s stars) which I also listened to.

Yet someone at SWR Music must have thought that Mitterutzner was the bees’ knees, so here is his tribute to singers he’s never heard sing live, sprinkled with a few instrumentals like Hans Carste’s Hallo! Wie wär’s mit einer fährt ins Glück? and Ernst Fischer’s Süduch der Alpen (Tarantella). Christoph Poppen conducts everything on this CD with an ebullient style and flair, sometimes making up for Mitterutzner’s lack of individuality. Fritz Wunderlich he isn’t.

The record thus makes a nice break from routine for those who are tired of the same-old-same-old in tenor repertoire. It’s a nice, cheerful 71 minutes’ worth of fun music, pleasant to hear if lacking in individuality. If you want something closer to the real thing, pick up Behle’s Nostalgia album, which includes several arias along with the songs, or just get a Joe Schmidt album and you’ll be in tenor heaven.

—© 2021 Lynn René Bayley

Follow me on Twitter (@Artmusiclounge) or Facebook (as Monique Musique)

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