Fritz Wunderlich – Immortal Beloved
Fritz Wunderlich
Catalogue No.

‘It was altogether shocking how absolutely wonderful his voice sounded … so unique, so individual, so clear and authentic – a voice that could be compared to no other.’ Rolando Villazón

‘What he did – there was no one who came close to him. I don’t think he will ever be surpassed.’ Nicolai Gedda

‘The sheer quality of his incredible voice is unique and will always be unique. Fortunately, there is the medium of the gramophone record.’ Peter Schreier

During the eleven years of his career, Wunderlich became a versatile lyric tenor who combined opulence of tone with intellectual weight. After some deliberation he turned to the heavier types of heroic roles before being invited to sing Walther von Stolzing in Wieland Wagner’s production of ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ at Bayreuth. Although his repertoire included Rossini, Donizetti, Strauss, Pfitzner, Stravinsky, Egk, Orff and many oratorio parts, he is chiefly remembered, in the recordings bequeathed to posterity, as a singer of Lieder and an exponent of Mozartian roles (Belmonte, Tamino, Don Ottavio, Ferrando). He breathed fascinating life into these roles with his cultivated tone, refinement, stylistic awareness, intensity and intelligence.

These recordings – partly ‘live’ (Beethoven, Haydn), partly studio (Strauss) – enshrine many of Wunderlich’s qualiies as a Lieder singer ‘par excellence’. Although previously released on Philips CD, for this Eloquence release, the recordings were remastered from the original tapes.



An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98
Heinrich Schmidt, piano

Schottische und Walisische Volkslieder
Scottish and Welsh Folk Songs, rev. Bernhard Engelke

Fließ leise, mein Bächlein, Hob.XXXIa/253A
Ein Wanderer kommt, Hob.XXXIb:3
Ich stehe auf der Heide, Hob.XXXIb:27
Es weiden meine Schafe, Hob.XXXIa:153
Im Schummern, Hob.XXXIb:26
Mein süßes Liebchen, Hob.XXXIa:194
Rose rot, Rose weiß, Hob.XXXIb:10
Heinrich Schmidt, piano
Walter Weller, violin
Ludwig Beinl, cello

Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No. 3
Ich trage meine Minne, Op. 32 No. 1
Ständchen, Op. 17 No. 2
Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4
Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Jan Koetsier

Fritz Wunderlich, tenor

Recording information

Recordings: Vienna, May 1963 – Live recording: ORF (Beethoven, Haydn), Munich; December 1962 – Bayerischer Rundfunk (Strauss)
Remastering Engineer: Paschal Byrne (Audio Archiving Company)


‘The memory of Fritz Wunderlich’s glorious tenor lives on in the heads of all those lucky enough to have heard him in person but it is 22 years now since he was killed, at the early age of 35, in a household accident, so for many he is no more than a voice on a record. This CD issue will inform those who come fresh to his singing of his sappy tenor and eager, unaffected, articulate way of using it. These attributes are most apparent in the Beethoven cycle for which he had the almost ideal tone. This is the longing, ardent admirer of the distant beloved to the life. Wunderlich phrases this ever-attractive cycle with a secure legato, a keen feeling for the text and a natural buoyancy that produce the right sense of art concealing art. There are one or two moments where note values aren’t observed or pitch falters slightly – the performance was a live one, in Vienna; otherwise this is a reading I heartily recommend. The charming Haydn settings of Scottish and Welsh folk-songs are just as admirable, especially Mein süßes Liebchen where the serenader, out in the frost and snow of winter, begs to be let into his lover’s chamber: Wunderlich sings it with just the right brio.’ Gramophone, January 1989