Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







Buy through MusicWeb for £7.00, 7.70, 8.50 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button


Robert Merrill and Jussi Björling - Operatic Arias and Duets
rec. 1949-51
NIMBUS NI 7945 [78:31]

Experience Classicsonline


Charles GOUNOD (1818 – 1893)
1. Salut! Demeure chaste et pure² [5:01]
Georges BIZET (1837 – 1875)

Les Pecheurs de perles
2. Au fond du temple saint ¹² [4:40]
La fleur que tu m’avais jetée² [4:08]
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791 – 1864)
4. O Paradiso!² [3:34]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901)

Don Carlo
5. Io l’ho perduta!¹² [10:30]
6. Cortigiani, vil razza dannata¹ [4:26]
Il trovatore
7. Il balen del suo sorriso¹ [3:14]
La forza del destino
8. Solenne in quest’ora¹² [4:15]
Un ballo in maschera
9. Eri tu¹ [4:15]
Credo in un Dio crudel¹ [4:45]
11. Si, pel ciel¹² [4:29]
Pietro MASCAGNI (1863 – 1945)

Cavalleria rusticana
Il cavallo scalpita¹ [2:44]
13. Mama, quell vino è generoso² [3:58]
Ruggiero LEONCAVALLO (1858 – 1919)

14. Si può? Si Può?¹ [4:57]
15. Vesti la giubba² [4:00]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924)

La bohème
Che gelida manina² [5:11]
O mimi, tu più non torni¹² [4:14]
Jussi Björling (tenor, Robert Merrill (baritone)¹

RCA Victor Orchestra/Renato Cellini (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 11, 15, 16, 17); Arthur Fiedler (6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14); Swedish Radio Orchestra/Nils Grevillius (3; 13)
New York, November 1949 (6, 7, 9, 10 12, 14); November 1950 (5); January 1951 (2, 8, 11, 16, 17); March 1951 (1, 4, 15); Stockholm, September 1950 (3, 13)


The centrepiece of this release is the series of duets that Björling and Merrill recorded, one that has stood the test with the best of those ‘from the dawn of recorded time’ as the phrase sonorously has it. We have never lacked for transfers of this material but its appearance here, in the context of solo forays from the two men, is still warmly to be welcomed.

 I suppose the most famous is The Pearl Fishers duet, a recording that has doubtless graced many a Desert Island gramophone over the half century since its release. The mellifluousness and warmth of the singing are imperishable but no less admired, surely, is the Forza del Destino extract. This is every inch a match for the classic Peerce/Warren recording, singing of nuance and authority. Even though Björling never sang it on stage his singing of it is characteristically insightful as to dynamics and blending with the more overtly extrovert Merrill.

 The duets are interspersed among solo items sung by both men. This is a perfectly reasonable position programmatically – it brings variety to the seventy-eight minute recital. Björling sings Salut! Demeure chaste et pure with a highly expressive legato and discloses an unusually warm and interior dramatic self. The sole aria from Carmen, La fleur que tu m’avais jetée is a most attractive example of his vocal art, though he doesn’t make much of the concluding pianissimo and the interpretation is inclined to sound somewhat generic.

 His companion in arms Merrill takes a stentorian, forceful and dramatic approach to Rigoletto’s Cortigiani, vil razza dannata. It’s splendidly done, as far as it goes, but is a touch unsubtle. His Un Ballo though is considerably better – commanding and sensitively done. The two men take one aria each from Pagliacci, then Bjorling moves onto La Boheme singing Che gelida manina before he and Merrill sing the duet from the same opera. 

 Not all the solo songs are as well known, by a long way, as the duets so they will be a catch for collectors especially in these very quiet and attractive sounding transfers.


Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Goran Forsling






Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.