The techniques of the audio resurrectionists become
cleverer by the year. Caruso has sold steadily if not furiously for
many years. His barrel-chested tubbiness, molasses-bound viscosity of
tone and ringing fortissimo have sold well since the days of Berliner
His 78s have been exhumed time after time. From the
moment when software made it possible to strip out the poverty-stricken
orchestral accompaniment of acoustic days people have quite naturally
wanted to breathe new life into these tracks. This will not be the last
time this happens.
Caruso sounds amazingly consistent of tone - some would
say unvaried - but in Luna d'estate he breaks the mould and sounds
fresh and bright. Tracks 8, 9 and 10 are the ones to sample if you are
in a hurry. Peter Matzka's solo violin in Musica proibita is
well worth hearing as is the coaxing hush of the flute in Core 'ngrato.
Amongst the Italian sentimentality and occasional silliness you get
the odd track like Senza nisciuno which is gloriously operatic
- à la Turandot. I loved this track - it is number 16
if you want to try it.
I little thought at the time when I last encountered
the Vienna RSO and Rabl (Miaskovsky 2 and 10 on Orfeo) that our next
crossing of paths would be with this delightful piece of zombie reanimation,
It uses Peter Kindl's computer skills and Gottfried Rabl's arrangements
all overseen by Hans Moralt (a relation of the conductor Rudolf Moralt?).
Clearly Rabl rather likes the havanaise; ditto the Neapolitan ambience
of the mandolin serenade, ditto the Viennese Straussian lilt. All put
in appearances. Caruso's voice is well blended into the orchestral sound
which is big and beefy if not specially opulent.
Documentation and discographical detailing is good
with a decent chronology of Caruso's life.
If you go for this then don't forget Caruso
2000 which is on BMG 74321 69766 2.
This is good of its sort and though the playing time
is far too short I can see open-minded Carusophiles rushing to grab
this item. They are unlikely to be disappointed.