Below is the second Lehmann tribute. The first one was originally available on Arabesque records CD but is now offered as MP3 downloads. It includes spoken and sung tributes by Grace Bumbry, Beaumont Glass, Kurt Ollmann, Lotfi Mansouri, Jennifer Larmore, Paul Sperry, Dalton Baldwin, Marcella Reale, Mildred Miller, Wolfgang Holzmair, Luba Tcheresky, Judith Kellock, Norman Mittelmann, Marni Nixon, Nathalie Stutzmann, Christoph Prégardien, Alice Marie Nelson, Lois Alba, Juliane Banse and Speight Jenkins.
The generosity of all of those mentioned above (and their pianists) and the following artists, singers, pianists, speakers, and in many cases, the recording engineers, in giving of their time and talent with no payment, is beyond comprehension. If it weren’t for their respect for Lotte Lehmann, the first tribute, as well as the following one would never have been possible. My thanks to all participants!
One of Lehmann’s final students was Jeannine Altmeyer, who went on to an international career, specializing in the Wagner heroines that she studied with Lehmann. Her Bayreuth years have been well documented on DVD, but her dedication to song is less recognized. In the following performance (made especially for this tribute) of Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinrade with Val Underwood, piano, you’ll hear Jeannine’s complete involvement with every aspect of the words of Goethe and Schubert’s setting. (I’ve provided the text and translation below).
Evangeline Noël Glass studied opera and Lieder with Lehmann (in Santa Barbara 1958/59 and the summer of 1961, Vienna, and Salzburg in 1964) and has recorded Schumann’s Aus den hebräischen Gesänge with her husband, Beaumont Glass. We’ve provided the song’s German words and English translation. Both the singer’s spoken tribute and the pianist’s memories are available.
Marilyn Horne worked with Lehmann at the MAW in the 1950’s, and remained in touch with her by mail and through returning for advice. Herspoken memory provides ample evidence of how these two strong personalities interacted.
It is as an opera singer that Carol Neblett is best known, although she has sung and taught the solo song repertoire. Her memories of Lehmann’s private lessons are obviously part of her teaching now. Carol shares some of these memories in her spoken tribute.
Katsuumi Niwa began study with Mme. Lehmann in 1962 and besides Lieder, he studied opera roles and even Japanese folk songs, such as the one Niwa sings for this tribute: The Wooden Ladel-Seller’s Song. His pianist is Shoko Matsui. Included is a background commentary on the words of this song. You may also hear two extended interviews with Niwa 01 Niwa 02 about his studies with Mme. Lehmann.
Shirley Sproule was a Lehmann student from the early years at the Music Academy of the West. In her 80th year at the time of this performance of Schumann’s Der Himmel hat eine Träne geweint, her spoken introduction demonstrates her devotion to Lehmann. She used the pianist Paula Fan, from the University of Arizona, with whom she had taught before her retirement.
Page Swift studied with Lehmann at the MAW in 1954 and has always enjoyed singing Lieder, though her professional singing career has been with the San Francisco Opera Chorus. In her spoken prelude she mentions the importance that Die Mainacht by Brahms holds for her. The pianist is Dietrich Erbelding.
Artists who were not Lehmann students:
Thomas Hampson speaks profoundly about Lehmann’s interpretations. He could be considered a “grand” student of Lehmann, because his first teacher, Sister Marietta Coyle, had studied with her.
Graham Johnson never met Lehmann, though he knows many who knew her and of course, knows her recordings and books. He is able to articulate, in his spoken tribute, his insights into her special interpretive genius.
Countertenor Derek Lee Ragin has chosen the Negro spiritual This Little Light of Mine for his Lehmann tribute. His pianist is Andrew McMillan. I have heard Lehmann masterclasses in which she coached African Americans in spirituals with the same demands of her Lieder classes.
Frederica von Stade’s vast repertoire includes opera, American song, French mélodie, and German Lieder, but I am not aware of her recording Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben, from which she chose Seit ich ihn gesehen to present for this Lehmann tribute, which she recorded with Jim Meredith.
Mein Herz ist schwer,
Ich finde sie nimmer
Und nimmermehr.Wo ich ihn nicht hab
Ist mir das Grab,
Die ganze Welt
Ist mir vergällt.Mein armer Kopf
Ist mir verrückt,
Mein armer Sinn
Ist mir zerstückt.Nach ihm nur schau ich
Zum Fenster hinaus,
Nach ihm nur geh ich
Aus dem Haus.Sein hoher Gang,
Sein’ edle Gestalt,
Seine Mundes Lächeln,
Seiner Augen Gewalt,Und seiner Rede
Und ach, sein Kuß!Mein Busen drängt sich
Nach ihm hin.
Ach dürft ich fassen
Und halten ihn,
Und küssen ihn,
So wie ich wollt,
An seinen Küssen
My heart is heavy,
I will find it never
and never more.Where I do not have him,
It is like the grave to me.
The whole world
Is bitter to me.My poor head
My poor mind
distracted.For him only, I look
Out the window
Only for him do I go
Out of the house.His tall bearing
His noble form,
The smile of his lips,
His eyes’ power,And his talk’s
The clasp of his hands,
and ah! his kiss!My heart yearns
Ah, might I grasp
And hold him!
And kiss him,
To my heart’s content,
Under his kisses