Prima Voce Party DELANNOY Philippine – Complainte
de l’hommea [3:15]. De FONTENAILLES
A l’aiméb [4:00] MENDELSSOHN
Ich wollt’, mein Liebe ergösse dich, Op. 63/1c
Cher petit Rossignold [2:48] DI CAPUA O sole mioe
Der Vogelhändler - Nightingale Songf (sung
in English)[3:40] RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Aimant la roseg [3:22] YRADIER La Palomah
[2:09] STRAUSS (arr. Bodenstedt)
Wiener Bonbonsi [2:26] TCHAIKOVSKY None but the
lonely heartj [3:37] RASBACH Treesk
[2:38] COWARD Tonight at 8.30 –
Shadow Playl [9:03] FOSTER I dream of Jeanniem
[3:16] ARDITI Se seran rosen
The Lost Chordo [4:36] BREWER
Fairy Pipersp [2:30] TRADITIONAL (arr. Diack,
with apologies to Handel) Little Jack Hornerq [2@35]
L’Heure exquiser [3:00] HEUBERGER Der Opernball
– Im Chambre séparées [3:13] TRADITIONAL O Lord, what a mornin’t [3:19].
Sicilian Cart Driver’s Song (arr. Sadero)u [2:14]
bRosa Ponselle, dMiliza Korjus, fElisabeth
Schumann, hAmelita Galli-Curci, jNina
Koshetz, nNellie Melba, rMaggie Teyte
(sopranos); uBlanche Marchesi (mezzo); pSigrid
Onégin (contralto);a,tHugues Cuénod, cRichard
Tauber, eBeniamino Gigli, gTito Schipa,
iJoseph Schmidt, mJohn McCormack, oEnrico
Caruso, sHerbert Ernst Groh (tenors); kPaul
Robeson, qAlexander Kipnis (basses); lNoel
Coward, lGertrude Lawrence (singers); bRomano
Romani, hHomer Samuels, jNicolai Stember,
mEdwin Schneider, qErnst Victor Wolff,
rGerald Moore, tHughes Cuénod, uAgnes
Bedford (pianos); orchestra/aMaurice Jaubert, cFrieder
Weissmann, dBruno Seidler-Winkler, e,i,k,o,punnamed
conductor, fLawrence Collingwood, gCarlo
Sabajno, nWalter B. Rogers; lPhoenix Theatre
Orchestra/Clifford Greenwood; sOdeon-Künstler Orchester/O.
rec. a19 November 1937; b31 October 1939;
c11 March 1933; d,i1936; e26
March 1934; f1930; g24 April 1932; h5
September 1928; j1922; k1938; l16
January 1936; m24 August 1934; n23 August
1910; o29 April 1912; p1926; q30
September 1940; r17 April 1941; s1932;
tc.1935; uc.1936. ADD NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 7839 [71:21]
What a remarkable track kicks off this compilation! Hugues Cuénod’s
first, sustained tone of the Delannoy piece is infinitely arresting
in its unique, ultra-beautiful sound and suave ease of delivery.
The whistles at the end of the piece announce that we are, indeed,
at a party, albeit with a difference. Cuénod’s exemplary diction
is likewise worthy of note. No less impressive is Rosa Ponselle’s
A l’aimé - piano accompaniment this time. Although recorded
only two years after the Cuénod, the quality is significantly
better: this is a Victor; the Cuénod was a Columbia. Ponselle’s
honeyed voice is perfect for this slower number.
A multi-tracked Tauber duets with himself in the famous Mendelssohn
“Ich wollt’, mein Liebe ergösse dich”. The accompaniment is
orchestral, which in the present context adds to the warmth
of it all. Great fun, but hardly as mesmeric as Miliza Korjus’s
stratospherically high nightingale for the Moszkowski.
Gigli’s recording of “O Sole mio” seems remarkably true to the
work’s geographical origins and avoids degenerating into Three
Tenors overdrive. One just revels in the golden splendour of
Gigli’s voice. Elisabeth Schumann nearly usurps him in her sung
- and whistled (the documentation credits her with the whistles,
too) - Zeller excerpt. What impresses most here is her sense
of easy style. Pure delight; as is, by the way, Amelita Gall-Curci’s
La Paloma (The Dove).
In total contrast comes Tito Schipa’s glorious, meltingly beautiful
Rimsky excerpt: also known as “The Nightingale and the Rose”.
Schipa’s subtle art is fully on display here, and the orientalisms
from the oboe seem entirely in place.
The more than unfortunate circumstances of Joseph Schmidt’s
life - he died aged 38 in a concentration camp - stand in high
contrast to the joie-de-vivre of the delightful Strauss compilation.
Schmidt’s high register is wonderfully free. Contrast the high
spirits of this song with Tchaikovsky’s “None but the lonely
heart”, memorably sung by Nina Koshetz on a 1922 Brunswick;
there is also a cello obbligato, but the cellist is unnamed.
Another contrast comes in the form of Paul Robeson, with the
much easier on the ear “Trees”. One just revels in the resonance
of his bass voice, just as one revels in the period piece “Shadow
Play”, deliciously rendered by Coward and Lawrence. McCormack
is in fine voice for “I dream of Jeannie”, and is sensitively
accompanied by Edwin Schneider on piano.
Interesting to compare the Nimbus transfer of Melba’s 1910 Victor
version of “Se seran rose” with the Marston Romophone transfer
(“Nellie Melba: The complete Victor recordings 1907-16”, 81011-2).
The Nimbus is laudably clear, and we hear all of Melba’s ease
and character, yet perhaps in the Romophone we hear a little
more. The Romophone set (a three-disc box) also includes the
more recessed, but still musically fresh, 1907 Victor version.
We have to wait until relatively late in proceedings before
Caruso turns up, but when he does he makes it count with a glorious
Lost Chord. Sigrid Onégin provides Christmassy, tinkly
contrast with “Fairy Pipers”; hardly what one expects from this
singer, but a marvellous success. Alexander Kipnis is likewise
out of character in “Little Jack Horner”. To calm the senses,
Maggie Teyte hypnotises in a Hahn song to words by Paul Verlaine.
From thence to operetta, a delicate “Im chambre séparée” on
a 1932 Odeon courtesy of Herbert Ernst Groh, in smooth and charming
voice. Cuénod returns for a Negro Spiritual, set so high initially
this could be a soprano. He returns to his normal, lower voice
for the second verse; note he also accompanies himself on the
piano. Tender in the extreme, this is a lullaby par excellence.
This is about as magical and as Christmassy as it gets. Finally,
Blanche Marchesi. She was at the end of her career when she
recorded this Sicilian Cart Driver’s Song and I remain
unsure that this was the best way to end the disc, even if the
final impression is haunting.
The witty and informed booklet notes tidily pull all the tracks
together, adding commentary to each. This is a magnificent and
A magnificent, fascinating, compilation. … see Full Review
Founding Editor Rob Barnett Senior Editor
John Quinn Seen & Heard Editor Emeritus Bill Kenny Editor in Chief
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