Lotte Lehmann was a good writer. Go to “Misc. Writings” for proof of that. It includes: 1. The unpublished introduction to Eighteen Song Cycles. 1. a The published introduction “Lieder Interpretation” to Eighteen Song Cycles 2. Lotte Lehmann’s first poem in English. 3. “Listening to My Old Records” 4. On Eleanor Steber (Time Aug 17, 1953) 5. Toscanini Retired: I dare not believe it 6. Poem: Mit Bruno Walter am Klavier... (with English translation) 7. Wir von der Oper excerpt in English 8. Excerpt from Lehmann’s novel Eternal Flight 9. Lehmann’s Tribute to Elisabeth Schumann 10. Comparison of a Lehmann poem with her changes. 11. Lehmann’s Poetry (in English translation by Judith Sutcliffe) 12. Foreword and Postscript to Lehmann’s 1938 autobiography Midway in My Song 13. Foreword to Lehmann’s More Than Singing, the Interpretation of Songs.
And here’s what she wrote On Der Rosenkavalier (An in-depth analysis and interpretation of the story and music). Her enthusiastic appreciation for conductors such as Toscanini and Bruno Walter found outlet in writing too.
But you can also read what others have written about Lehmann.
Books by Lehmann (In chronological order)
Verse in Prosa, Hugo Heller-Bukum AG, Vienna (early 1920′s) (Leipzig and New York as well) Here’s an excerpt:
“Das muss ein Grosses sein: die Kraft zu tiefster Einsamkeit. Da oben sternennah zu wandeln, so hoch, dass aller Klang der Erde so wie ein Lied der Wogen wird, das ein urewig sprachenloses Rauschen dem Strand entgegenträgt. Das muss ein Grosses sein: den kühlen Odem schneebedeckter Bergesgipfel zu spüren und su wissen: das heisse Leben, das dort unten in den Tälern glüht, nie findet es den Weg zu mir in meine Einsamkeit. Wo ist die Kraft, die mich hinaufreisst in die Höhen, nach denen einzig meine Sehnsucht geht? Die Hände, die mich halten, heissen Liebe, Güte. Das muss ein schmerzlich Grosses sein: die Kraft, aus lieben, gütigen Händen sich zu lösen und einzugeh’n in stolze Einsamkeit.”
Here’s an English translation:
That must be an enormity: the strength to deepest solitude. To wander up there near the stars, so high, that all sounds of the Earth become like a song of the waves, carrying an eternal wordless murmuring (roar) towards the beach.
That must be an enormity: to feel (sense) the cool breath of the snow covered mountain peak and to know: the torrid life that glows down there below in the valleys, never finding its way to me in my solitude. Where is the strength, that pulls me up on to the heights, for which I alone yearn and long? The hands that hold me are called Love and Kindness.
That must be a painful enormity: the strength, from life, to release oneself from loving, kind hands to enter into proud solitude.
Anfang und Aufstieg, Herbert Reichner Verlag, Vienna 1937 (Original [German] version of Lehmann’s memoires)
Orplid, mein Land, Novel, Herbert Reichner Verlag, Vienna 1937 (Original [German] version of Lehmann’s complicated and intriguing novel)
Eternal Flight, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York 1937 (English translation by Elsa Krauch, of Orplid, mein Land)
Midway in My Song, Bobbs-Merrill New York 1938 (American publication of Anfang und Aufstieg in the English translation by Margaret Ludwig) (Reprinted: Greenwood, Westport, Conn., 1970)
Wings of Song, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1938 (UK publication of Anfang und Aufstieg in a translation by Margaret Ludwig)
More than Singing, (translated by Frances Holden), Boosey & Hawkes, New York 1945 (reprinted: Greenwood, Westport, Conn., 1975; Dover paperback 1985)
My Many Lives, (translated by Frances Holden), Boosey & Hawkes, New York 1948; (reprinted: Greenwood, Westport, Conn., 1974)
Five Operas and Richard Strauss, (translated by Ernst Pawel), Macmillan, New York 1964 (reprinted by Da Capo 1982)
Singing with Richard Strauss, Hamish Hamilton, London 1964 (UK publication of Five Operas and Richard Strauss)
Gedichte, Rudolf Reischl OHG, Salzburg 1969 (121 pages of poetry in German)
Eighteen Song Cycles, Cassell, London 1971 (mostly taken from earlier books)
Biographies of Lotte Lehmann
(In the chonological order of their publication)
Lotte Lehmann…mehr als eine Sängerin, Berndt W. Wessling; Residenz Verlag, Salzburg, 1969. In German; a kind of biography with input from many authors (including Lehmann), a wide range of photos; reproduced letters from composers, colleagues and conductors; programs and other memorabilia.
Lotte Lehmann: A Life in Opera and Song, Beaumont Glass; Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1988. A complete biography, the “official” biography. This official status allowed Glass access to original sources in the Lehmann Archives at UCSB and many interviews with Lehmann’s friend Frances Holden in Orplid where they lived. Many photos. Includes a complete discography by Gary Hickling.
Lotte Lehmann: 1888-1976 A Centenary Biography, Alan Jefferson, Julia MacRae Books, A Division of Walker Books, London, 1988. A fairly complete biography. Since Jefferson didn’t have access to the Lehmann Archives, his book relies more on testimony of students and colleagues. Some photos, good statistical tables of Lehmann’s opera performances. An excellent discography by Floris Juynboll; doesn’t include much information on the non-commercial portion of Lehmann’s legacy.
Lotte Lehmann: Eine Biographie, Alan Jefferson, trans. into German by Ulrike and Manfred Halbe-Bauer, Schweizer Verlagshaus, Zürich; 1991. Essentially the same as the English version. An updated discography by Juynboll, again with a short version of the non-commercial material.
Lotte Lehmann: “Sie sang, dass es Sterne rührte”: Eine Biographie, Berndt W. Wessling, P.J. Tonger Musikverlag, Köln-Rodenkirchen, 1995. A complete biography in German, which includes much of the same material used in Mehr als eine Sängerin such as the good photos, reproduced letters, memorabilia etc. A bit more of the sordid side of diva battles and much conjecture by the late author.
Never Sang for Hitler, The Life and Times of Lotte Lehmann, Dr. Michael Kater, Cambridge University Press, 2008. A thorough look at the historic context of Lehmann’s eighty-eight years. Kater doesn’t hesitate to analyze or criticize or speculate. No mere account of LL’s successes, this book tells the difficult aspects of LL’s personality and her various relationships.
Covering 1935-1970 in alphabetical order; assembled by Sherman Zelinsky
Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, New York: G. Schirmer, 1959, p. 931.
Eustis, Morton, Players at Work: Acting According to the Actors, New York: Theatre Arts, Inc., 1937, p. 118-27.
Eustis, Morton Corcoran, Players at Work: Acting According to the Actors, Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1967. (reprint of 1937 edition)
Ewen, David, Living Musicians, New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1940, p. 212-214.
Ewen, David, Living Musicians: First Supplement, New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1957, p . 98.
Ewen, David, Men and Women Who Make Music, New York: Readers Press, 19, p. 135-48.
Haggin, B. H., Music in the Nation, New York: Sloane, 1949, p. 65-6, 134, 227-29.
Kaufmann, Mrs. H. (Loeb) and Hansl, Mrs. Eva Elise (vom Baur), Artists in Music of Today, New York: Grosset, 1941, p. 67.
“Lotte Lehmann,” Current Biography, New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1941, p. 504-6.
“Lotte Lehmann,” Current Biography, New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1970, p. 250-3.
“Lotte Lehmann,” Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed., New York St. Martin’s Press, 1959, v. 5, p. 116.
“Lotte Lehmann,” International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1964.
“Lotte Lehmann,” Who’s Who in America (v. 36), Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who, Inc., 1970-1971.
Covering 1935-1970 assembled by Sherman Zelinsky
Bell, Lisle, “Eternal Flight,” Books, p. 37, November 14, 1937.
Ericson, Raymond, “Five Operas and Richard Strauss,” New York Times Book Review, p. 22, October 11, 1964.
Erskine, John, “Midway in My Song,” Books, p. 4, September, 1938.
“Eternal Flight,” Boston Transcript, p. 4, November 20, 1937.
“Midway in My Song,” Booklist, 35:47, October 1, 1938.
“Midway in My Song,” Christian Science Monitor, p. 11, October 12, 1938.
“Midway in My Song,” Cleveland Open Shelf, p. 17, November, 1938.
“Midway in My Song,” New York Times, p. 5, September 18, 1938.
“Midway ln My Song,” New Yorker, 14 : 96, September 17, 1938.
“Midway in My Song,” Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 34:179, November, 1938.
Miller, C. K., “Five Operas and Richard Strauss,” Library Journal, 89: 3317, September 15, 1964.
Miller, C. K., “My Many Lives,” Library Journal, 76 :653, April 15, 1948.
Miller, P. L., “My Many Lives,” Music Library Association Notes, 5: 373, June, 1948.
“More Than Singing,” Cleveland Open Shelf, p. 7, March, 1946.
“More Than Singing,” Theatre Arts, 30: 125, February, 1946.
“More Than Singing,” Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 42 : 58, April, 1946 .
“My Many Lives,” Booklist: 44: 311, May 15, 1948.
“My Many Lives,” Cleveland Open Shelf, p. 23, December, 1948.
“My Many Lives,” New York Times, p. 11, June 27, 1948.
Pettis, Ashley, “More Than Singing,” Saturday Review of Literature, 29 : 25, January 26, 1946
Powell, Anthony, “Wings of Song,” Spectator, 160 : 976, May 27, 1938.
Shawe-Taylor, Desmond, “Wings of Song,” New Statesman and Nation, 15 : 1079, June 25, 1938.
Sheean, Vincent, “More Than Singing,” Weekly Book Review, p. 8, February 17, 1946.
Simon, Robert, “Midway in My Song,” Saturday Review of Literature, 18:19, October 1, 1938.
Sloper, L. A., “More Than Singing,” Christian Science Monitor, p. 17, January 12, 1946.
Veinus, Abraham, “My Many Lives,” Saturday Review of Literature, 31: l0, July 24, 1948.
Wallace, Margaret, “Eternal Flight,” New York Times, p. 30, November 14, 1937.
“Wings of Song,” Manchester Guardian, p. 7, June 3, 1938.
“Wings of Song,” Times (London) Literary Supplement, p. 318, May 7, 1936.
Magazine Articles Covering 1935-1970 assembled by Sherman Zelinsky
I. Titled Articles II. Untitled Articles
I. Titled Articles
“Ave Atque Vale,” Newsweek, 37 :50, February 26, 1951.
“Bids Farewell to Career as Concert Artist,” (with editorial comment), Musical America, 71 : 3+, March 14, 1951.
Bowen, G. “Happy Birthday to a Great Lady of Song,” American Record Guide, 29 : 424-5, February, 1963.
Breuer, Gustl, “To Lotte, with Love,” Opera News, 32 : 6, February 24, 1968.
Comfort, A., ed. “Teaching the Singer to Become an Interpretive Artist,” Etude, 64 : 744, February, 1946.
“Dowager of Song,” Time, 47 : 55, January 28, 1946.
“Exit Crying,” Life, 30 : 72+, March 5, 1951.
Gelatt, Roland, “Birthday Tribute to Lotte Lehmann That Lets the Radiance Shine Through,” High Fidelity, 18 : 63-4, June, 1968.
Graves, N. R., “More Than Teaching,” Etude, 73 : 13+, November, 1955.
Green, London: “Welitsch’s Salome, Lehmann’s Marschallin, Pauly’s Elektra,” The Opera Quarterly, 15(1999)3, S.401 – 414 : Ill.
“Great Lady, Great Marschallin,” Newsweek, 25 : 88, March 5, 1945.
Haggin, B. H., “Records,” Nation, 174 : 162, February 16, 1952.
Haggin, B. H., “What an Artist!” Nation, 160 : 498, April 28, 1945.
Heylbut, R. (interview), “Let Nothing Discourage You,” Etude, 53 : 701-2, December, 1935.
“It Is Time,” Time, 57 : 75, February 26, 1951.
“Joy of Singing at Home,” House Beautiful, 103 : 142+, October, 1961.
Kolodin, Irving, “Lehmann and the Lieder Season,” Saturday Review of Literature, 33 : 26, February 4, 1950.
Kolodin, Irving, “Lehmann’s Farewell,” Saturday Review of Literature, 34 : 35, March 3, 1951.
“Lady of Song,” Newsweek, 35 : 78, February 27, 1950.
Lehmann, Lotte, “Bruno Walter,” Theatre Arts, 26 : 50-4, January, 1942.
Lehmann, Lotte, “Bruno Walter; September 15, 1876- February 17, 1962, ” Opera News, 26 : 14-15, March 24, 1962.
“Lehmann Idyll,” Newsweek, 33 : 86, March 7, 1949.
“Lehmann, 1936 Tosca, Gets a Hand from an Older Tosca,” Newsweek, 7 : 30, February 8, 1936.
Lingg, A. M., ed. “Three Lives in Vienna,” Opera News, 27: 25-7, December 22, 1962.
“Lotte Lehmann Gets Curtain Calls,” Newsweek, 5 : 27, January 12, 1935.
Luten, C. J., “Records,” Opera News, 33 : 30, November 23, 1968.
Miller, P. L., “Birthday Greeting to Lotte Lehmann,” American Record Guide, 34 : 934-5, June, 1968.
“More,” Time, 55 : 62, February 27, 1950.
“Overcoming a Musical Crisis,” (Excerpt from Midway in My Song), Etude, 56 : 789+, December, 1938.
Portrait as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Theatre Arts, 25 : 722, October, 1941.
“Prima Donnas,” Time, 32 : 24, October 31, 1938.
Recitals, Town Hall, Musical America, 69 : 18, 28, March, 1949.
“Recorded Farewell,” Newsweek, 38 : 94, December 17, 1951.
“Salzburg Summer,” Arts and Decoration, 48 : 16-18, April, 1938.
Sheean, Vincent, “Lehmann Story,” Commonweal, 46 : 57-60, May 2, 1947.
“Singing Actress Attacks Her Part,” Theatre Arts Monthly, 21 : 285-292, April, 1937.
Smith, C., “Singers of Songs,” Theatre Arts, 31 : 37-40, April, 1947.
“They Stand Out from the Crowd,” Literary Digest, 117 : 9, January 20, 1934.
Watt, D., “Musical Events,” New Yorker, 27 : 102, March 3, 1951.
“Where Are They Now?” Newsweek, 49 : 16, February 4, 1957.
II. Untitled Articles
Arts and Decoration, 45 : 27, January, 1937.
Arts and Decoration, 47 : 15, December 1937.
Christian Science Monitor Weekly Magazine Section, p. 11, October 12, 1938.
Etude, 59 : 516, August, 1941.
Etude, 61 : 86, February, 1943.
Etude, 63 : 71, February, 1945.
Literary Digest, 117 : 24, February 17, 1934.
Musical America, 72 : 29, January 15, 1952.
Musical America, 76 :1 3, February 1, 1956.
Newsweek, 8 : 27, October 17, 1936.
Saturday Review of Literature, 34 : 70, November 24, 1951.
School Arts, 45 : 328, June, 1946.
Time, 30 : 37, July 26, 1937.
Time, 91 : 42, March 8, 1968.
Time, 96 : 28, July 27, 1970.
Lehmann in Other Books
Some of the books are still in print, others you will have to find in second hand bookstores, mail order book lists, or from book “search” services on the internet.
Bloomfield, Arthur (1978), The San Francisco Opera, Comstock Editions, Sausailto, California. This paperback book traces the history of the opera company from 1922-1978 with many LL references and quotations from contemporary critics: “Lehmann, of course, was the Sieglinde of all time, tremendously warm and, in her harrowing second act scene, chillingly intense.”
Busch, Max W. and Dannenberg, Peter (Editors), Die Hamburgische Sraatsoper, M&T Verlag AG, Zurich. In German. This handsome book, with many color, as well as black and white photos, devotes an important chapter to LL written by Busch. Many unfamiliar photos and precise information on roles and salaries make this an interesting look at Lehmann’s first engagement. (She earned 15,000 Marks in her [final] 1915/16 season there.)
Christiansen, Rupert (1984), Prima Donna, Penguin, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England. Also available in hardback from Viking, this history devotes considerable space to LL in a chapter entitled: “Strauss and the Prima Donna in Vienna”. Christiansen writes of LL “Her recordings are still extraordinarily vivid documents which communicate something of what everyone who witnessed her recalls as a radiant exultant intensity. There was no posing, no faking, no imposition of false effect…”
Crichton, Kyle (1939), Subway to the Met: Risë Steven’s Story, Doubleday & Company, Farden City, New York. The great mezzo told her srory to the aurhor, and LL comes in for a few mentions: “Opera buffs still cherish individual Lehmann performances as jewels of perfection. There was never a cheap or tawdry or careless Lehmann appearance. There were great performances that are still spoken of with reverence by opera lovers.”
Davenport, Marcia (1967), Too Strong for Fantasy, Chas Scribner’s Sons, New York. A personal memoir by Davenport who counts LL as one of the best singers she ever heard as well as a personal friend. LL is frankly described as a person, and her impact as a singing actress in the role of Sieglinde evokes the following: “No voice had ever hit me in that way… the voice, the artist, the personality were all of a piece… She was both feminine humanity and total dramatic illusion… ”
Davenport, Marcia (1936), Of Lena Geyer, Grosser & Dunlap, by arrangement with Chas Scribner’s Sons, New York. A novel inspired by LL’s performance as Fidelio. A well-written novel, it doesn’t pretend to follow LL’s life, but is modeled on such dedicated artists as Lehmann represented to Davenport. “I could see myself… in the balcony at the opera house, and feeling, so acutely that the sensation has never diminished, the first glorious impact of that unforgettable sound.”
Hall, David (1978), The Record Book: a Guide to the World of the Phonograph, Greenwood Press, Westport Conn. This book provides information about the whole field of recorded sound, so naturally Lehmann can only be briefly sited: “Lotte Lehmann has well deserved her reputation as one of the great vocal artists of our time; for every work she sings she brings a warm understanding and humanity that makes us overlook occasional weaknesses such as lapses of intonation, too pronounced aspiration, or a strained delivery of a high passage.” He mentions the famous Rosenkavalier and Walküre recordings.
Hirschmann, Ira (1994), Obligato, Fromm International Publishing Corporation, New York. His strong impressions of Lehmann, expecially her performance of Winterreise.
Horne, Marilyn with Jane Scovell (1984), Marylin Horne, My Life, Atheneum, New York. Probably the most readable singer’s autobiography that I’ve ever encountered and LL has a whole chapter to herself, as Horne appeared in master classes at the Music Academy of the West. LL comes in for a mixture of praise and condemnation. (See “An Archivist Checks History” elsewhere in the Newsletter portion of this Website,) “Fair is fair, though. If I tell you of Lehmann’s dark side, then I must also tell you that she opened the doors of singing Lieder for me. Her instruction is inextricably woven into my own interpretations. As exponent and teacher, she was incomparable and inspirational.”
Moran, William (Ed) (1990), Herman Klein and the Gramophone, Amadeus Press, Portland, Oregon. Moran provides a biography and edits Klein’s essays, reviews and other writings from the Gramophone magazine. LL comes in for frequent, if brief, notice. Here in reference to her Desdemona: “–and I have heard nearly all of them—the performance of Lotte Lehmann will remain a fragrant and delicious memory…. It was in that most difficult scene of all, the elaborate ensemble that follows after the Moor has struck Desdemona before his whole court—it was in this trying episode that Lotte Lehmann did so magnificently both as singer and actress, that she rose to heights never attained here before, at least in my experience.”
Preven, André (1991), No Minor Chords, Doubleday, New York. In a brief mention, Previn discusses Lehmann’s role in the MGM movie Big City. He was a young pianist on the set at the time.
Rasponi, Lanfranco (1982), The Last Prima Donnas, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Many interviews with great singers including one with LL from 1936, where he quotes LL “‘Inaccuracy in the notes here and there—that they can accuse me of; but of betraying the text, never. I have given of my voice with no restraint, and I am fully aware that this has to be paid for dearly. But I cannot restrain myself, for I become tremendously involved with a characterization or a song, and the reason for my success has always been that the public knows I am handing it all I have.”‘ The chapter devoted to LL is mainly comprised of the interview, but includes Rasponi’s own remarks and summary of her impact after her death: “Will we ever again hear Leonore’s declaration in the second-act trio sung so expressively, a mixture of terror and faith? There have been many more perfect singers, but few have been more intense and honest than Lotte Lehmann.”
Seebohm, Andrea (Ed. and contributor), (1987), The Vienna Opera, Rizzoli, New York. Also available in German: Die Wiener Oper: 350 Jahre Glanz und Tradition. This is a beautiful book, with many color, as well as black and white photos; Lehmann appears in photos and ensemble lists, but little text. But Egon Seefehlner does write “I am not embarrassed to say that Lehmann could move me to tears when she began to sing….Lehmann (was) a great musician who was a triumphant success both on the stage and in the concert hall… ”
Vincent, Sheean (1957), First and Last Love, Victor Gollancz Ltd., London. This very personal memoir was dedicated to Mme. Lehmann and has many enthusiastically positive appraisals of her and her work. At one point he writes that Toscanini declared to Lehmann “… at the end of a difficult passage in rehearsal ‘You are the greatest artist in the world.’” Sheean continues: “Well, she was…every note of her voice conveyed the meaning of the part. Her speaking voice (in Beethoven’s Fidelio)…had a tenderness…which extended the beauty of the music even to that part of the drama which is now…so often omitted.”
Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth (1982), On and Off the Record, A Memoir of Walter Legge, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Legge was a visionary record producer and husband/manager of Schwarzkopf who writes about him and quotes him extensively. Lehmann has a chapter to herself: “Her impact was, is, and, through her best records, will remain irresistible and engulfing. Lotte sang and acted as if she were inviting, urging every member of her audiences to enjoy her generous heart and her very self.”
Steber, Eleanor, Eleanor Steber: An Autobiography. Both colleague and student of Lehmann, Steber recalls many Lehmann performances that moved her and reprints a letter from Lehmann in which the balance between the music and poetry in a song is discussed.
Walter, Bruno (1946), Theme and Variarlons, An Autobiography, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. (In German: Thema und Variationen: Erinnerungen und Gedanken, S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1988) An immensely readable book. Walter has cause to mention LL several times. Once regarding LL’s first appearance with him in a Covent Garden performance early in her career: “… as for Lotte Lehmann’s work as the Marschallin, it was even then surrounded by the brilliance which has made her portrayal of that part one of the outstanding achievements on the contemporary operatic stage. Here, indeed, was that rare phenomenon of an artist’s personality becoming wholly merged with a poetic figure, and of a transitory theatrical event being turned into an unforgettable experience.”