• February 26, 2009 /  Commentary, Recordings

    A couple of years ago I purchased a recording of the Flute by Wolfgang Sawallisch with the Bayerische Staatsoper (EMI Classics re-release, originally recorded in 1972).
    On my first hearing I was immediately impressed. Then, in the second act, a surprise! A duet by Tamino and Papageno, “Pamina, wo bist du?”, that I had never heard, or heard of, before. The reference books I have listed nothing. Very curious I searched the Net for anything I could find. But the only references were to this recording (for the track listing). Hmmm.

    Well, I finally decided that I would write to Herrn Sawallisch and ask him about it. A quick search and I had an address that I hoped was valid.
    To my great delight, Herr Sawallisch very kindly answered me a few weeks later. I quote a portion of his letter (I translate):
    ‘I also had no knowledge of [the duet’s] existence prior to my recording and the gathering of documents by the [recording’s] producer. You will find the duet in the large Köchel catalog [“im großen Köchelverzeichnis”] on page 790 as an appendix. … The piano transcription from [the music publisher] Edition Peters includes the duet as a supplement.’
    (Thank you, Herr Sawallisch!)
    So, with the text from Köchel and music from a piano transcription, they recorded the duet for what is almost certainly the first time. In fact, it may be the only time it was ever openly performed.
    This performance is a gem. I highly recommend it. The second act in particular has a dramatic feel that really carried me along. The cast is great and the ensemble singing, particularly with the two armored men (zwei Geharnischte), is very, very good.
    As Herr Sawallisch mentions in his letter it is difficult to find new nuances in a work so often performed and recorded. I think his interpretation here is a very fine one with a beautiful balance of joyfulness and drama. And I applaud his decision to try something new and include “Pamina, wo bist du?”.
    However, I do have my doubts as whether this duet was written by Mozart or even if the text was from Schikaneder. It occurs just before the appearance of the three ladies during the first trial and does not fit the mood. The music is a jumble of styles and overall too light for the sentiment and situation. And the text is, well, lame. The brief coloratura singing by Tamino has lead me to suspect that the duet may have been written for, or even by, an early Tamino performer. Years ago it was not uncommon for singers to add a bit extra for themselves.
    Regardless whether this duet was written by Mozart/Schikaneder, it is my opinion that it was best forgotten. Listen and decide for yourself. But do seek out this performance of Die Zauberflöte. It is a very good one.
    The sample here is from a recording made in August 1972 and released on CD as EMI 3 58607 2 . Wolfgang Sawallisch directs the Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper. Tamino is sung by Peter Schreier and Papageno by Walter Berry.


    Here is a transcription of “Pamina, wo bist du?”

    Duet
    Tamino & Papageno

    T: Pamina, wo bist du?
    P: Ach Weibchen, wo bist du?
    Getrennt von dir zu sein,
    ist mir die größte Pein.
    T: Schatz meinem Herzen,
    P: Ach Weibchen, wo bist du?
    T: Pamina!
    P: Ach Weibchen,
    T: Pamina!
    P: Wo bist du?
    T: Pamina!
    Getrennt von dir zu sein,
    ist mir die größte Pein.
    T: Pamina,
    P: Ach Weibchen, wo bist du?
    T: Pamina, wo bist du?
    P: Ach Weibchen,
    T: Pamina,
    P: Wo bist du?
    T: Wo bist du?
    T:
    Nur sehen will ich dich,
    Und fragen liebst du mich,
    Nur sehen und fragen liebst du mich.
    Dann tret’ ich kühn
    Die Bahn zum neuen Leben an.
    T: Nun zur Pamina
    P: Und Papagena
    Stille, stille…

    Posted by Papageno @ 01:01

8 Comments to Pamina, where are you?

  • […] Peters piano score to Die Zauberflöte mentioned by Herr Sawallisch. (I wrote about this in a previous post.) And sure enough, as an appendix is the duet “Pamina wo bist du?”. Interesting is the comment […]

  • I’ve known “Zauberfloete” almost fifty years – since I was a child – and was startled today to find the “Pamina, wo bist du?” duet when listening for the first time to the Sawallisch recording. I googled, discovered your website, and am endebted to all this information. Very many thanks.

  • Alastair, you are very welcome. I know exactly what you mean when you say you were ‘startled’ and I am truly pleased that my humble post could help another.
    As Henry in a previous reply mentions, the duet is also included on the Mackerras recording. The remarks regarding the duet in the notes for that recording make for interesting reading. I quote, “… Although it contains many charming, typically Mozartian touches, it also betrays gaucheries in harmony and orchestration quite unthinkable for the mature master of 1791. … We leave it to the listener to make his own judgement. …”
    So, what do you think?

  • this is on mackerras’ telarc recording with thomas allen as papageno and jerry hadley as tamino. by the way, r.i.p. sir charles, you will be missed ny musicians and audiences alike

  • joe blogs,
    Thanks for the comments. I was not aware that Sir Charles Mackerras had died (last Wed. 14. July, 2010). He will live on through his recordings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>