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Marian Anderson - Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit (1930-1947)
Franz Rupp (piano)
Recorded 7 May 1947
NAXOS NOSTALGIA 8.120779 [60.52]



TRADITIONAL

Heav'n Heav'n (arranged H.T. Burleigh)
William King (piano)
Recorded October 1930
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (arr. L. Brown)
William King (piano)
Recorded October 1930
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

L'Enfant prodigue: Pourquoi m'as-tu quittée? (Air de Lia)
Studio Orchestra
Recorded November 1930
Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

The Maid Of Orleans (Jeanne d'Arc): Adieu, forets
Studio Orchestra
Recorded November 1930
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)

Samson et Dalila: Amour viens aider (O Love From Thy Power)
Studio Orchestra
Recorded: November 1930
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)

La favorita: O mio Fernando
Studio Orchestra
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Ave Maria, D. 839
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 7 July 1936
Die Forelle, D. 550
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 13 November 1936
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Myrthen, Op. 25, No. 3: Der Nussbaum
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 3 July 1936
TRADITIONAL

I Can't Stay Away (arranged R. Hayes)
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 2 November 1937
Were You There (arranged H.T. Burleigh)
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 16 December 1937
Dere's No Hidin' Place (arranged L. Brown)
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 2 November 1937
Ev'ry Time I Feel De Spirit (arranged L. Brown)
Kosti Vehanen (piano)
Recorded: 2 November 1937
Oh! What A Beautiful City (arranged E. Boatner)
Franz Rupp (piano)
Recorded: 1 July 1941
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)

Elegie
Franz Rupp (piano) / William Primrose (viola)
Recorded 1 July 1941
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

In The Silence Of The Secret Night, Op. 4, No. 3
Franz Rupp (piano) / William Primrose (viola)
Recorded 1 July 1941
TRADITIONAL

Hold On! (arranged H. Johnson)
Franz Rupp (piano)
Recorded: 12 April 1945
Poor Me (arranged R.N. Dett)
Franz Rupp (piano)
Recorded 10 May 1946
On Ma Journey (arranged E. Boatner)
Franz Rupp (piano)
Recorded 7 May 1947
De Gospel Train (arranged H.T. Burleigh)

 

This is the second of Naxos’s Anderson compilations – the first was Softly Awakes My Heart and contained pretty much the same mix as here: arias, songs and spirituals. This one spans seventeen years, from 1930 to 1947 and recording locations vary from Berlin (the earliest), Paris (the middle years) and New York, from 1941 onwards. Most of these tracks have been around on various compilations and editions over the years and many are deservedly famous. The Primrose-accompanied sides are classics though ironically the two presented here, the Massenet and Tchaikovsky, are certainly inferior to their Brahms collaborations. Some interest accrues to the fact that producer David Lennick has transferred two items from Phonycord flexible blue vinyl issues (of Artiphon originals), issues that are, he notes, very quiet, albeit tricky to play.

Her singing of Spirituals was not that of, say, Mahalia Jackson, whose lineage came via the oracular, oratorical magnificence of Bessie Smith. Anderson’s was clearly the product of a powerful classical technique though one that served the narrative and expressive qualities of such as Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child extremely closely. Though it was something of a theme tune of hers I find Heav'n Heav'n rather less convincing – the rolled "r" is out of place and the texture of the voice remains arguably too light, the piano vamp accompaniment certainly too disjoint here. But when one turns to a superior example of her art, I can’t stay away, one hears immediately a special charge and increase in vocal colour, a real intensity and idiomatic command – and just enough intensity of relaxation as well. The 1930 Berlin sides also explored her theatrical repertoire, albeit pursued by a swoony little band whose apotheosis of ungainliness comes in the Tchaikovsky. Here Anderson could be somewhat static as an interpretative artist, a feeling reinforced by her Donizetti. Idiosyncrasies of pronunciation bear upon her lieder. She sings "Ave May-ria" for Ave Maria and her vibrato in this instance is not under perfect control, though her Schumann is fresh.

The transfers have been well managed. I marginally prefer the Biddulph transfers of the Anderson-Primrose-Rupp sides but that’s an otherwise exclusively Primrose affair and won’t otherwise be of interest to Anderson admirers. Recommended.

Jonathan Woolf



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