Wolfgang Mozart joined the order of the freemasons at the lodge "Zur Wohltдtigkeit" (Benefaction) in Vienna on December 14, 1784. Mozart and freemasonry seemed an ideal match, and in a little over a year he would achieve the status of "master mason." A small number of works among Mozart's late output was intended directly for use in Masonic lodges, and two major non-Masonic works, the opera Die Zauberflцte (The Magic Flute, K. 620) and the Requiem K. 626, share strong Masonic connections. The best known of Mozart's Masonic compositions is the Maurerische Trauermusik, K. 477 (479a) scored originally for two violins, two violas, clarinet, basset horn, two oboes, two horns, and bass. Mozart later added parts for two additional basset horns and bassoon, resulting in an instrumentation absolutely unique in Mozart's vast output…- David Lewis
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.
The was the first digital recording of the B Minor, recorded in '82 and released on Eurodisc back in about '84. Since then, other recordings may have been more "polished" and may have added more spectacular sound (though the sound here is very natural and beautifully soft-focussed and grainy) but none conveys as much healthy love and devotion and none has such a fine ensemble of soloists (the much-missed Lucia Popp, Theo Adam, Carolyn Watkinson et al) and so committed a choir…
I’ve already made mention in these pages of my appreciation for the art of the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Where many other directors/stage designers see operas merely as department store manikins to hang any concepts upon—the more inappropriate, the better, when it comes to gaining notoriety and further employment—Ponnelle achieved his often startling results simply by finding effective solutions to stage problems few people consider…Barry Brenesal Reviewing earlier TDK release