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Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

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Tito Schipa (tenor) Schipa Edition Volume 2
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) E il sol dell’anima (Rigoletto) (1,3)
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Verranno a te (Lucia di Lammermoor) (1, 3); Tornami a dir che m’ami (Don Pasquale) (1, 3)
Richard BARTHELEMY Pesca d’amore (3)
Tito SCHIPA (1888–1965) Ave Maria (3)
Vincenzo DE CRESCENZO (1875–1964) Ce steve ‘na vota (3)
CAMPERO Madrigal Español (3)
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La donne e mobile (Rigoletto) (3)
Manuel DE FALLA (1876–1946) Jota (Siete canciones populares españolas) (3)
Eduardo DE CAPUA (1864–1917) O Sole Mio (3)
Franz LISZT (1811–1886) arr. Tito SCHIPA Liebestraum (3)
Tito SCHIPA (1888–1965) A Cuba (3)
Traditional La farfalleta (4, 3)
Anonymous La girometta (4, 3)
Arturo BUZZI-PECCIA (1854–1953) La nina querida; Mal d’amore (3)
Friedrich von FLOTOW (1812 - 1883) M’appari (Martha) (3)
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Una furtiva lagrima (L’elisir d’amore) (3)
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Sono andati?; Oh! Dio, Mimi! (La Bohème) (2, 3)
Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Pourquoi me reveiller? (Werther) (3)
Leo DELIBES (1797–1848) Fantasie au divins mensonges (Lakmé) (3)
Tito Schipa (tenor)
Amelita Galli-Curci (soprano) (1)
Lucrezia Bori (soprano) (2)
Victor Orchestra/Rosario Bourdon (3)
Jose Echaniz (piano) (4)
rec. September 1924 – November 1925
NAXOS 8.110333 [72.14]

 


Tito Schipa had the sort of voice that the early gramophone recording processes loved. The results sounded convincingly like Schipa’s own voice and as a result the singer was remarkably relaxed in the recording studio.

This CD is volume 2 of the Naxos Schipa Edition and covers acoustic and electric recordings from the singer’s prime. These 1924–25 sessions are often overlooked, overshadowed by the rarer early recordings and the later electric ones.

The disc opens with three duets recorded with Amelita Galli-Curci. In the Rigoletto duet, Schipa displays his customary elegance of line, though there is a suspicion of heaviness in the more elaborate vocal ornaments. Galli-Curci is touching, but a bit distantly recorded. In the Lucia di Lamermoor duet, Galli-Curci’s white voice impresses with its fluency but sounds far removed from modern interpretations of the role. But it is Schipa that we want to hear and his voice is one that would stand transfer to the modern age. For the Don Pasquale duet the singers are well balanced. Rarely can this duet have been better recorded.

Schipa’s recording schedule included a significant number of lighter items, things with which he delighted the audiences in his recitals. His own Ave Maria is not modern in style, but is surprisingly passionate. Inevitably there are the necessary character numbers, De Crescenzo’s Ce steve ’na vota has the aura of a Neapolitan Song and Campero’s Madrigal Español is the first of a number of Spanish and Latin American items on the disc.

In La donna e mobile Schipa provides wonderful characterisation within the music, his elegance of line rarely causing distortion; the track is pure pleasure. Falla’s Jota is a pleasant surprise and is remarkably successful. The arrangement of Liszt’s Liebestraum is surprisingly intimate and shows us how well Schipa scales down his voice.

O Sole Mio is given a startling tango/habanera makeover. Schipa’s own A Cuba is attractively Latin-American. The two traditional songs are done with piano accompaniment and again Schipa charms; you have to love the performances because of the care that Schipa bestows on this rather flimsy material.

With M’appari from Flotow’s Martha we return to the opera house and Schipa again impresses with his beautiful phrasing. For the two duets from La Boheme Lucrezia Bori is a moving, girlish Mimi with an attractive catch in her voice. You could perhaps wish for a Rodolpho with a richer, more rounded tone but Schipa is well balanced with Bori. These performances are elegant and affecting rather than intense and vibrant. At Mimi’s death, Schipa is suitable passionate and theatrical. In the Massenet excerpt, Schipa sounds a little careful, but the final track, from Lakmé, displays the singer at his elegant best.

The problem with complete editions is that they give you everything. Not everyone will want all the lighter items on this disc and we get two versions of Una furtiva lagrima. But as both are well nigh perfect, you can hardly complain. But, as ever with recitals from this period, it amazes me how much of the lesser known material was by living composers.

There are sufficient interesting tracks on this disc and Naxos’s price is so attractive that anyone interested in hearing Schipa in his prime should invest in the disc.

Robert Hugill

see also Reviews by Jonathan Woolf and Göran Forsling

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