The concert that brought together Peter Schreier, the leading Mozart tenor of the 1970s from Dresden, and Erik Werba, the Vienna-born doyen of lied accompanists on 25 January 1978 featured 17 songs, the cantata with piano accompaniment “Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt” K619 from the final year of Mozart’s life, as well as two encore pieces.
Peter Schreier is unquestionably one of the greatest tenors of the twentieth century. For over 40 years he was known above all for his embodiment of Mozart tenor roles, and dazzled as a lieder singer in songs by Schubert, Schumann and Hugo Wolf. The sacred works of Johann Sebastian Bach, his oratorios and passions, formed another key element in the repertory of this native Saxon. He sang at all the world’s major opera houses – at the New York Met, at La Scala in Milan, in Buenos Aires, Vienna and Paris – and needless to say on his “home turf” of Dresden and Berlin. Not forgetting his many years of guest appearances at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals. It was in Salzburg, in 1967, that he sprang into the breach as Tamino in place of Fritz Wunderlich, who died so tragically young. The successes that followed thick and fast upon that were to make Peter Schreier into the opera world’s Mozart tenor of choice in the course of the following decades.