> Caruso 2001 Tenor of the Century 74321825692 [RB]: Classical Reviews- April2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Enrico CARUSO (1873-1921)
CARUSO 2001 - Tenor of the Century

Italian Songs:-

Vieni sul mar; O sole mio; Tu can nun chiagne; Santa Lucia; Pecche; L'Alba separa luce l'ombra; Fenesta che lucive; Mamma mia; Musica proibita; Core 'ngrato; Luna d'estate; Ideale; A Vucchela; Vaghissima sembianza; Tarantella sincera; Senza nisciuno; Addio a Napoli
Vienna Radio SO/Gottfried Rabl
rec: orig 78s rec 1908-1921; orch tracks Jan 2001
BMG CLASSICS 74321 82569 2 [59.14]


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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 and Edison.

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.

Rob Barnett


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