SHEILA BRAGGINS, one of Alfred Wolfsohn's first London pupils:

"This is one of the most important recordings made by Alfred Wolfsohn and his pupils. It is unique in three ways: firstly because it portrays his expressive, gentle and sincere voice before it became altered by his tuberculosis chest condition; secondly, each demonstration made by his pupils lasts far longer than those previously made public; thirdly, the arias from the Magic Flute and the Rilke poem recital are sung and spoken by one pupil who demonstrates Wolfsohn's theory that the voice is the instrument of the soul, able to sing both male and female ranges with real expressive beauty whilst also to speak a dramatic poem with meaning and colour, describing the story with an exciting depth of feeling but without declamatory exaggeration."

Sheila Braggins, 2005


A comment from Linda Pardo Wise

".....I have just listened to whole of the CD - the most outstanding revelation for me is Jill Johnson's voice - particularly the 'male' voices - the voice of Tamino is very very beautiful - she really captures the feeling of a young innocent man. The other striking thing is how melodic and easy the voice sounds - a very different attitude from the directions that Roy took with his voice.....I find it great archive material and wonderful that we have this as a contribution to the Myths of the Voice - thank you. I think too that having Sheila's presence will make this archive material more present...... - it is invaluable to understand where ideas come from and how they have been 'transformed' by each succeeding generation - but goodness what work I don't know any woman who can sing with this musicality and interpretative range....inspiring."

Malerargues 2005


Ralf Peters, RHT teacher of Köln

"On this CD you hear recordings by Alfred Wolfsohn and some of his female students, that originated probably at the end of the fifties. They were only recently rediscovered by Paul Silber in the archives of the Roy Hart Centre. For everybody who knows something about the ideas of voice development, as Wolfsohn and after his death Roy Hart propagated them, this might be a very important discovery. For several reasons. At first there exist only very few recordings of the voice of Alfred Wolfsohn and because of that alone we are happy about every new discovery. Especially if he gives the quintessence of his notions about the human voice as he does on the present tape. But also this CD is an incidence for a story that is told in workshops with various Roy Hart teachers again and again: Wolfsohn had male and female students who were able to sing every aria from Mozarts opera "magic flute" from the queen of the night down to Sarastro. Those voices embraced in fact the total range of human voice capacity. They were human voices in Wolfsohns sense. In this recording it is Jill Johnson who takes up the many characters from Mozarts opera with her voice.

Finally those recordings are a valuable testimony for a somewhat early phase in the process of the liberation of the human voice towards itself. The recorded voices already show a variety of sound that is astonishing. It would be difficult today to find voices that have the capacity to do what they did. ...But it is not about acrobatics! These recordings testify that Wolfsohn understood the development of voice not as a goal of its own. The whole voice was supposed to be the medium through which the whole range of human possibilities might be expressed. The recordings of the magic flute together with those of Rilkes Cornett demonstrate how this expressivity might be used in terms of art, in this case in more traditional artistic conditions.

At the time of our recordings here Wolfsohn had apparently reached a point where he had transcended the classical ideal of voice that is limited to a certain range like tenor or soprano in practical terms. His male and female students give a living example for the variety of the whole human voice. The artistical possibilities that might result from these experiences have been revealed in the years to follow. At the end of the fifties Wolfsohn is still quite close to the conventional idea of art that extends all forms of singing and recitation but doesn´t blow them to pieces. But it may be that at that time he thought audiences would not be able to take more! Only a couple of years later this had changed considerably, as you can hear on the CD "the Human Voice". There sounds of the voice have been recorded, that have left conventional notions about singing or speaking far behind and open the door to an art of voice quite apart from classical forms. The last step towards a voiceart that is in the process of searhcing for its own proper form and rules was taken by Roy Hart, through his soloperformances on hand as well as through the Roy Hart Theatre. Nevertheless, the foundation and the prepositions for this kind of voiceart leaving all conventions behind have been laid by Alfred Wolfsohn and his students working together for years on the practical exploration of their own voices. This present CD testifies the daring enterprise to go on searching for and sounding the whole voice in the fifties of the 20th century.

Ralf Peters, Köln, 2005


Commentaries on the CD "Alfred Wolfsohn his musical ideas"








































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