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Maria Galvany (1878-1949)
Giacomo ROSSINI (1792-1868)

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1816) - Una voce poco fa [3’12].

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)

La Sonnambula (1831) - Son geloso del zeffiro errante [3’38] (with Aristodemo Giorgini). I Puritani (1835) - Qui la voce sua soave [3’14]. La Sonnambula (1831) -: Prendi, l´anel ti dono [3’39] with Fernando De Lucia; Oh ciel, che tento [3’18] with Andres Perello de Segurola; Ah, Non giunge uman pensiero [3’11].

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)

L’Elisir d’Amore (1832) - Chiedli all´aurora lusinghieri [3’34]. Don Pasquale (1843) - Tornani a dir che m’ami [3’51] both with Aristodemo Giorgini. Lucia di Lammermoor (1835) - Splendon le sacre face [8’04]. Linda di Chamounix (1842) - O luce di quest’anima [2’59].

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)

Mireille (1864) - Oh d’amor messaggera [2’52]. Giulietta e Romeo (Romeo et Juliette, 1867): Nella calma [3’10].

Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896)

Amleto (Hamlet, 1868) - Ed ora a voi cantero una canzon [4’04].

Luigi ARDITI (1822-1903)

L´ Incantatrice [3’34].

Heinrich PROCH

Variazioni [3’18].

Ruperto Chapi y LORENTE

Hijas de Zebedeo: Carcelleras [3’27].

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)

Dinorah (1859) - Ombra leggiera [4’21].

Leo DÉLIBES (1835-1891)

Lakmé (1883) - Dov´é l´India bruna [3’44].

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

La Traviata (1853) Sempre ligera degg’io [4’00] with Remo Andreini.


Maggio-Valzer [3’48].

Maria Galvany (soprano)
Unidentified orchestras and accompanists.
Recorded 1906-08. Mono ADD
PREISER 89578 [75’10]

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My colleague Jonathan Woolf gives a brief overview of Galvany’s career in his review of this very disc ( ). From these discs it appears that Galvany’s strength was that she knew her weaknesses. Or more to the point, she knew what she could sing and stuck to it. Her armoury of stratospheric staccato may be impressive the first time one hears it - I would lay money on it - but as a near-omnipresent entity it soon palls; similarly the sameness of repertoire-type. First and foremost, this is a disc for sampling. It is true that your reviewer here has listened to it in one sitting - plus revisiting various tracks, some several times - but I would not recommend it for those of unstable sanity; it could just tip them over the edge.

The recordings here are all from red label G&Ts and all come from the short period 1906-08 and are mostly with orchestra - or scratch band if we’re being honest – the splatter that is an excuse for a tutti opening chord in, of all places, the final track, attests to this trend. It is instructive to hear Galvany in the more familiar items. And few arias are more familiar than Rossini’s ‘Una voce poco fa’, a 1906 recording; plenty of reassuring noise around it, then. The cadenzas are superb. The Queen of the Night holidayed in Seville, clearly, and one can but enjoy Galvany’s rolled ‘r’ around the two-minute mark; she clearly did. The Traviata excerpt, too, shows her enjoying herself, showing off her astonishing agility. Yet the L’elisir d’amore excerpt (‘Chiedi all’aurora lusinghiera’) shows she is also capable of sustaining the longer line (Giorgini partners). Shame the orchestra sounds so terribly uninterested. Granted the accompaniment cannot make for a gripping three minutes for the players, but this really is pedestrian.

The longest excerpt comes from Donizetti Lucia (track 15, ‘Spendon le sacre face’, 8’04). There are at least two voice and solo flute exchanges, another repeating element of this disc that may well irritate after a while.

The duets here are very enjoyable if only for vocal variety’s sake. Try the Sonnambula ‘Son geloso’ with Georgini, who has a simply lovely voice, or the ‘Prendi, l’anel ti dono’, with the amazingly honeyed De Lucia - a real shame this is accompanied by a piano! For me, though, the most valuable parts of this disc are the inroads into repertoire we might not hear too often these days. Gounod’s Mireille is there, sparkly and attractive, as is Thomas’s Amleto - Hamlet, of course, but in Italian - a sad aria that also shows off Galvany’s superb scalic work. Linda di Chamounix is represented by ‘O luce di quest’anima’, which fizzes along nicely - Galvany’s pitching is excellent - before ‘Obra leggiera (from Meyerbeer’s Dinorah) enables Galvany to indulge in yet more flute-combined frolickery. The various unattached songs by Proch, Arditti, Chapi and Dufau are enjoyable enough.

Colin Clarke

see also review by Jonathan Woolf

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