ORFEO International


January 2007

ORFEO 1 CD C 138 851 A

Werner Hollweg † 1.1.2007

Writing Werner Hollweg
Werner Hollweg
Foto: Ellinger/ORFEO
to his father during preparations for the first performance of Idomeneo in Munich in the winter of 1780/81, Mozart described the difficulties that he had encountered in trying to create a proper sense of balance between his protagonist’s coloratura agility and an expressivity that would be effective onstage. Anyone who ever heard Werner Hollweg sing the title role in either Idomeneo or La clemenza di Tito must have a good idea of the golden mean that lies between these two extremes. Hollweg’s voice had the necessary dramatic bite (a quality frequently missing today) and a cleanness of attack that allowed him to give vivid expression to a character’s inner conflicts. At the same time he was able to maintain a lightness of tone, a precision and an agility that enabled him to do justice to all the demands of these parts. It is significant in this context that Werner Hollweg was valued equally by conductors working in the Romantic tradition and by the practitioners of early music, all of whom were keen to enlist his services. That he also made a contribution to musical scholarship is clear from his recording of Mozart’s Zaide W.A. Mozart: Zaide
W.A. Mozart: Zaide
F. Schubert: Lazarus
F. Schubert: Lazarus
for Orfeo (C 055 832 I), in which he not only sang the role of Gomatz but assumed responsibility for adapting the words of Mozart’s unfinished Singspiel. He also sang the title role in a recording of another rarity, Schubert’s Lazarus (Orfeo C 011 101 A), adding lustre to the release by doing so. His name and abilities are further associated with an exquisite live recording of Haydn’s The Seasons under the direction of Rafael Kubelík. With Edith Mathis and Franz Crass as his fellow soloists, it is difficult to think of a more beautifully sung performance (C 477 982 I). J. Haydn: The Seasons
J. Haydn: The Seasons
G. von Einem: Dantons Tod
G. von Einem: Dantons Tod
Werner Hollweg invariably conducted his career along astute and cautious lines, refusing to allow even Karajan to talk him into taking on roles such as that of the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem – a refusal to experiment that in no way affected their working relationship. The fact that he none the less remained inquisitive and open to new works, including 20th-century music theatre, is clear from his authoritative reading of the role of Camille Desmoulins in Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod. A versatile artist and much sought-after teacher has been lost to the world of music.