There are few composers who have vanished from music history to the extent of Johann Abraham Schmierer. We know very little about this composer’s origins, education, career and life journey. Some listeners, during or after hearing this recording, may well wonder why this music – despite its undeniable qualities and relatively early publication (already in 1902 in the tenth volume of Denkmäler Deutscher Tonkunst) – has not been recorded earlier. One reason is surely the fragmentary character of the collection, for six suites are obviously missing.
This is in short a really good recording. Gerdes' handling of the opera is very good (though his tempo in the Pilgrims' Chorus theme of the Overture is almost disturbingly fast), the orchestra is well controlled and very expressive. Birgit Nilsson, one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos of the 20th Century, sings the two principle female roles - Venus and Elisabeth; Wolfgang Windgassen, who sings the role of Tannhauser, is one of the greatest Wagnerian tenors of the century. And Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who sings Wolfram, is virtually undisputed as THE baritone of the century.Highly recommend this recording.