Max Meili
Max Meili, a Swiss
Swiss (people)
The Swiss are citizens or natives of Switzerland. The demonym derives from the toponym of Schwyz and has been in widespread use to refer to the Old Swiss Confederacy since the 16th century....

The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

, was born 11 December 1899 in Winterthur
Winterthur is a city in the canton of Zurich in northern Switzerland. It has the country's sixth largest population with an estimate of more than 100,000 people. In the local dialect and by its inhabitants, it is usually abbreviated to Winti...

 and died 17 March 1970 in Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. He first trained as a painter then turned to singing, leading to lessons with Felix von Kraus
Felix von Kraus
Felix von Kraus was an Austrian dramatic bass. Born in Vienna, he received a doctorate in musicology from the University of Vienna in 1894; as a singer, however, he was mainly self-taught...


Meili was mainly a concert singer, concentrating on music from the time of Bach
Bạch is a Vietnamese surname. The name is transliterated as Bai in Chinese and Baek, in Korean.Bach is the anglicized variation of the surname Bạch.-Notable people with the surname Bạch:* Bạch Liêu...

 and before, then just beginning to experience a revival
Early Music Revival
See Early music and Historically informed performance for a more detailed explanation of this topic.The general discussion of how to perform music from ancient or earlier times did not become an important subject of interest until the 19th century, when Europeans began looking to ancient culture...

 of public interest; he was recognized as a specialist in medieval vocal music. His appearances at the Salzburg Festival
Salzburg Festival
The Salzburg Festival is a prominent festival of music and drama established in 1920. It is held each summer within the Austrian town of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart...

 in 1936 and 1937 were as a recitalist. Curiously, one of Meili's rare appearances in opera involved music at an extreme remove from his usual repertory; in May 1931 he participated in the premiere of Alois Hába
Alois Hába
Alois Hába was a Czech composer, musical theorist and teacher. He is primarily known for his microtonal compositions, especially using the quarter tone scale, though he used others such as sixth-tones and twelfth-tones....

's opera Die Mutter
Mother (opera)
Mother, op. 35, is a quarter-tone opera in ten scenes by Czech composer Alois Hába. It was completed in 1929 on the composer's own libretto, its plot is drawn from author's native Valašsko...

at the Gärtnerplatztheater
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz is an opera house and opera company in Munich. Designed by the architect Michael Reiffenstuel, it opened on 5 November 1865 as the city's second opera house after the National Theatre....

 in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Ten years later, on 15 January 1941, Meili sang Addio terra, addio cielo from Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the funeral service of James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 at Zürich's Fluntern Cemetery
Fluntern Cemetery
Also known as Friedhof Fluntern, Fluntern Cemetery is located in the Zürichberg district of Zürich. It contains the graves of James Joyce, Therese Giehse, Elias Canetti, and Warja Lavater....


Meili's recordings from the 78 RPM era included Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 lute song
Lute song
The lute song was a generic form of music in the late Renaissance and very early Baroque eras, generally consisting of a singer accompanying himself on a lute, though lute songs may often have been performed by a singer and a separate lutenist...

s recorded for HMV
His Master's Voice is a trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone...

 (issued in the United States by Victor
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

) and early music released on L'Anthologie Sonore. He continued to record into the LP
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

 era, among other things appearing in the title role in the first post-World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 recording of Monteverdi’s L'Orfeo, taped by the Berlin Radio in the late 1940s and released by American Vox
Vox Records
VOX Records is a budget classical record label. The name is Latin for "voice."-History:Vox was founded in 1945, starting out with 78-rpm discs, specializing in licensed pressings of classical recordings made in Europe. It was one of the last major recording companies to adopt stereo recording,...

. By this time, however, critics began to note a decline in his voice.

Meili was a founding member of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Schola Cantorum Basiliensis is a music academy and research institution located in Basel, Switzerland, and focusing on early music and historically informed performance....

 in 1933. In 1955 he founded the Collegium Cantorum Turicense, which he directed in music of Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

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