Fritz Cortolezis

Havergal Brian

Selected and annotated by Malcolm MacDonald

Reading in a German paper of the death of Fritz Cortolezis1 I recalled his fine figure of a man when he toured England as conductor with the Ernst Denhof Opera Company in 1911. I was fascinated by his interpretation of Strauss’s Elektra at Manchester, and travelled to hear it again at Liverpool, but from a better seat, whence I watched him conducting. He seemed like a being enthralled. It was a great occasion, because I also heard the remarkable singing of Frederick Austin in the part of Orestis, who sadly enough has ceased to sing in recent years2. All agree that Cortolezis was great as an interpreter of the works of Richard Strauss.

  1. Cortolezis (1878—1934), an ex-army officer, studied under Thuille and Mottl in Munich. After his appearance in England, he became musical director at Karlsruhe. ↩︎

  2. Austin (1872—1952) was a talented composer as well as a singer: he is best remembered today for his performing edition of The Beggar’s Opera (Drury Lane, 1920). ↩︎

On the other hand, by La main gauche

Musical opinion, July 1932, p. 860