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Tito Schipa – The Complete Victor Recordings 1922-24
Tito Schipa, tenor (all tracks)
Tomas BARRERA and Rafael CALLEJA
01. Emigrantes: Granadinas [2:51]
Victor Orchestra/Joseph A. Pasternak
Recorded: 3 February 1922
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1858-1919)
02. Pagliacci: O Columbina, "Harlequin's Serenade" [2:06]
Victor Orchestra/Joseph A. Pasternak
Recorded: 3 February 1922
Jose PADILLA
03. La Corte del Amor: La de ojos azules ("Princesita Mariposa") [2:59]
Victor Orchestra/Joseph A. Pasternak
Recorded: 9 March 1922
TRADITIONAL
04. Ay, Ay, Ay "A soma te a la ventana" [3:56]
Victor Orchestra/Joseph A. Pasternak
Recorded: 28 March 1922
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
05. Manon, Act II: Chiudo gli occhi (En fermant les yeux) [3:31]
Victor Orchestra/Joseph A. Pasternak
Recorded: 3 May 1922
Richard BARTHELEMY
06. Chi se nne scorda 'cchiu [2:53]
Victor Orchestra/Nathaniel Shilkret
Recorded: 3 November 1922
Pasquale Mario COSTA
07. Napulitanata [3:46]
Victor Orchestra/Nathaniel Shilkret
Recorded: 3 November 1922
Gonzalo ROIG
08. Quiereme mucho [3:34]
Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 12 March 1923
Manuel Maria PONCE (1882-1946)
09. A la orilla de un palmar [3:01]
Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 12 March 1923
Pedro Palacios Y SOJO
10. A Granada, "Cancion andaluza" [3:02]
Victor Orchestra/Nathaniel Shilkret
Recorded: 31 May 1923
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
11. Il barbiere di Siviglia, Act I: Ecco ridente in cielo [3:32]
Victor Orchestra/Nathaniel Shilkret
Recorded: 31 May 1923
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
12. La Sonnambula, Act I: Son geloso del zefiro [4:28]
with Amelita Galli-Curci, soprano; Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 1 June 1923
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
13. Il barbiere di Siviglia, Act I: Se il mio nome saper [2:56]
Tito Schipa, tenor and guitar / Studio pianist, piano
Recorded: 22 September 1923
Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896)
14. Ah! non credevi (Elle ne croyait pas) [4:19]
15. Addio, Mignon, fa core (Adieu, Mignon, courage) [3:15]
Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 14 May 1924
Alfonso Esparza OTEO
16. Mi viejo amor [3:11]
Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 14 May 1924
Francesco CIMMINO
17. Serenata Medioevale (1st take) [3:24]
18. Serenata Medioevale (2nd take) [3:18]
Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 14 May 1924
Eduardo Sanchez De FUENTES
19. Rosalinda [2:47]
Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 14 May 1924
Manuel DE FALLA (1876-1946)
20. 7 Canciones populares espanolas: IV. Jota [2:52]
Victor Orchestra/Charles Adams Prince
Recorded: 16 May 1924
Emile PALADILHE
21. Suzanne: Comme un petit oiseau [2:22]
Victor Orchestra/Charles Adams Prince
Recorded: 16 May 1924
Tito SCHIPA (1888-1965)
22. A Cuba [2:36]
Victor Orchestra/Charles Adams Prince
Recorded: 16 May 1924
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
23. Un di felice eterea [3:20]
24. Parigi, o cara 03:41
with Amelita Galli-Curci, soprano; Rosario Bourdon, conductor
Recorded: 17 September 1924
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110332 [77.42]

 

 

This inaugurates another edition in the production line that is Naxos Historical.

Barely able to keep up with the various permutations of their Melba and Gigli releases we can at least agree that this is the first of their new Schipa Edition, one that takes as its starting point the 1922-24 Victors. His earlier acoustics are perhaps more prized but this series of American discs catches him in his mid-thirties, fully developed as a singer, and in the full flowering of his inimitable lyric sweetness.

A word about the transfers by Ward Marston. There’s a minimum of shellac noise on these well-engineered Victors. The voice was forwardly recorded, thankfully, but not so much as to create an unjust balance between Schipa and the accompanying Victor orchestra – musicians heavily weighted toward the brass and wind ends of the spectrum. The transfers are warm, clear and good. The mix of recordings is between popular song, some of them Spanish (Schipa was immensely popular in Spain) and operatic arias, most if not all of which he recorded electrically in the years to come.

The voice itself remains a marvellous instrument of patrician elegance. In a popular song such as Granadinas we hear a rare refinement, eloquently phrased and, at the end, exhibiting superb breath control. In his famous recording of Chi se nne scorda 'cchiu we hear all these virtues and those of idiomatic phrasing, a more tensile tone and greater vibrato usage. He lavishes great reserves of vocalism on these popular songs – listen to Roig’s Quiereme mucho; there’s no diminishment of lyric candour nor of effulgence; all registers of the voice respond with equal fervour. In a song such as Cimino’s Serenata Medioevale of which there are two takes here (one unreleased on 78) we hear a real admixture of wit, subtly yet infectiously done. Even in that famous song of yesteryear Ay, Ay, Ay he never forces his tone – the thread of sound remains perfectly warm and under perfect control.

Of his operatic arias we can simply reprise those qualities noted above. His Pagliacci is poised, the Massenet refined and lovely; his Rossini I find just a touch nasal but his Thomas is a delight – shading, colour, portamenti (gossamer) and diminuendi are all active components of some ravishingly adept characterisation – and how well he sustains breath. His duets with Galli-Curci are remarkable artefacts. His lyric elegance conspires with her bell-toned purity to produce musicianship of remarkable ease and grace, with a kind of aristocratic simplicity. The word for all this, I think, is refinement.

With fine sounding transfers, with shellac crackle to a minimum, and good quality originals employed, this is a fine start to the Schipa edition. You won’t necessarily want to listen to too many of the popular songs off the bat but the beauty of it is that you don’t have to. Pure, lyric beauty.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 

 

 



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