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Ezio Pinza - Volume V
Harold ARLEN (1905-1986)
Andiamo [3:23]
My love and my mule (Mr. Imperium) [3:03]
Let me look at you (Mr. Imperium) [3:11]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
September song (Knickerbocker Holiday) [3:15]
Jerome KERN (1885-1945)
Yesterdays (Roberta) [3:28]
All the things you are (Very warm for May) [3:06]
The way you look tonight (Swing time) [2:43]
Agustin LARA (1900-1970)
You belong to my heart (Solamente una vez) [3:08]
Richard ROGERS (1902-1979)
With a song in my heart [3:06]
Victor SCHERTZINGER (1888-1941)
One night of love [3:04]
Arthur SCHWARTZ (1900-1984)
Dancing in the dark [2:36]
Isham JONES (1894-1956)
I'll see you in my dreams [3:31]
Burton LANE (1912-1997)
Everything I have is yours [3:01]
Alan Jay LERNER (1918-1986)/Frederick LOEWE (1901-1988)
I still see Elisa (Paint your wagon) [3:12]
Alex ALSTONE/Saul TEPPER
My concerto [3:03]
Frank CHURCHILL/Larry MOREY
One song (Snow White) [2:44]
Cole PORTER (1891-1964)
So in love (Kiss me Kate) [3:10]
Antonio VIAN
Luna rossa [2:18]
Traditional
Kalinka [2:56]
Harold ROME (1908-1993)
Why be afraid to dance (Fanny) [3:40]
Welcome home (Fanny) [3:28]
I like you (Fanny) [2:39]
Love is a very light thing (Fanny) [2:12]
Other hands, other hearts (Fanny) [1:50]
Ezio Pinza (bass) with
Fran Warren; Florence Henderson; William Tabbert
Orchestras conducted by Jonny Green, Norman Leyden, Peter King, Lehmann Engel and the Balalaika Orchestra (Kalinka)
rec. 1950-54
PREISER 89707 [74:17]
Experience Classicsonline


Now that we’ve reached volume five in Preiser’s Pinza edition we can allow ourselves the luxury of warm-hearted fare. Show and theatre songs predominate, though there is a sprinkling of folk songs and that well loved favourite, Kalinka. The whole programme lasts an hour and a quarter and catches Pinza in admittedly post-prime form in the years between 1950 and 1954.
 
This is the MGM Pinza and it was fortunate that RCA Victor captured him so often in the recording studios as, despite the clear deterioration in his vocal mechanism, these show tunes provide ample evidence of his magnetism and personality. He died three years after the last of these tracks was recorded – at the age of sixty-five in 1957.
 
He has to compete with a cod Blues trumpet arrangement in My love and my mule and next to the stylistically appropriate Fran Warren he does rather sound like a game old uncle at a disco. His huge voice is put to the service of one Weill song; it’s inevitably a relatively immobile voice and lacks shading but the string layering in September Song is evocative.  One of the pleasures of listening to these MGM recordings c.1950 is to wonder at the fabulous string players in the orchestras. One wonders, for example, who takes the concertmaster’s chores in Kern’s Yesterdays – such succulent playing; it’s not Louis Kaufman. Whilst Pinza tends to steamroller through the score, behind him some superb things are happening, as if by routine.
 
The guitar and some Latin American percussion enliven Lara’s You belong to my heart (Solamente una vez) though the grisly male back-up singers weigh it down again but Pinza does sound more at home in a song of this kind. He certainly doesn’t sound at ease in his butch rendition of Richard Rogers’ With a song in my heart though there are certainly dichotomous pleasures to be savoured in something like Dancing in the dark where his cavernous voice contrasts with the diaphanous orchestration.
 
Amongst the less persuasive examples of his art here are All the things you are and So in love. These artefacts are the aural equivalent of navigating the Queen Mary down a rural canal. So indeed is The way you look tonight. Welcome Home is a singular improvement, in fact a beautifully accomplished piece of singing and arranging, and the parlando levities of I like you with William Tabbert, from Fanny, are also pleasurable.
 
Many nourishing and likeable, echt-Pinza moments then in these well transferred sides. Some are marmoreal of course but Pinza addicts without these MGM-sized songs will want to hear them in this accomplished selection.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 


 


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