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REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
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Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

A-Z of Singers
rec. 1902-57
Includes booklet of biographies of 300 singers
NAXOS 8.558097-100 [4 CDs: 76:52 + 79:25 + 78:48 + 77:49]

This compilation is designed to continue Naxos's "A-Z" compilation series. This has so far consisted of two genre sets, one devoted to Classical Music generally and one to Opera, and three sets devoted to types of performer (Conductors, Pianists and String Players). They are excellent starters for those who are just beginning an interest in the development of these aspects of music and performance, though they are perhaps less likely to be of great interest to anyone who frequents a review website such as this.

Compiling an issue like this is positively begging for brickbats of the "Why on earth is So-and-So included when Such-and-Such is missing?" sort. I cannot deny wanting to fling a few myself, particularly on behalf of earlier singers - are Erich Kunz, Suzanne Danco, Lily Pons, Mado Robin and Hermann Uhde (admittedly all fine singers) worthy of inclusion when Pol Plançon, Fernando De Lucia, Lilli Lehmann, Francesco Tamagno and Adelina Patti are missing? Decisions about inclusion cannot but be influenced by the personal predilections of the compiler, and in the case of the present issue the choice was also restricted by what Naxos had already issued - all tracks are taken from previous Naxos CDs; there is no completely new material at all. Having said all this, however, it would be very difficult to make a convincing case against the inclusion of the vast majority of the singers, and for the neophyte this set provides pretty well as comprehensive an introduction to singing in the first half of the twentieth century as could be fitted onto four well-filled CDs. On the whole, David Patmore has made a very good job of the selection of singers, and in the great majority of cases I thought that the choice of example was an excellent introduction to the particular singer. Purchase of this set also allows access to a website which includes a huge number of tracks from other Naxos CDs to supplement the selection although none of the missing singers I listed above is present. The quality of the transfers is extremely high; many are by Mark Obert-Thorn and Ward Marston, which is recommendation enough.

For me, the big attraction of the set is the booklet - though "booklet" hardly does justice to it: it is thicker than the CD box. Its 856 pages provide articles on 300 singers who recorded, including all those on my list of the "missing". The format is essentially the same for each singer: a small photograph, dates and a list of career highlights, a list of selected recordings and a biography with a final paragraph which gives a brief analysis of the career and style. This is a very useful source of basic information and, as far as I have been able to tell from a sampling, commendably accurate.

To review this set fully would require a small book, and would be essentially unnecessary. For anyone who wants on overview of this period, it is self-recommending, especially at the very cheap price of around £15 on the internet; the booklet alone is worth that.

Paul Steinson



List of Singers featured
Anderson, Marian
Angeles, Victoria de los
Bastianini, Ettore
Battistini, Mattia
Berger, Erna
Bjorling, Jussi
Breviario, Giovanni
Callas, Maria
Callegari, Giordano
Caniglia, Maria
Carena, Maria
Caruso, Enrico
Chaliapin, Feodor
Christoff, Boris
Cigna, Gina
Cottone, Salvatore
Dal Monte, Toti
Danco, Suzanne
Dansereau, Jean
Del Monaco, Mario
Della Casa, Lisa
Di Stefano, Giuseppe
Favero, Mafalda
Ferrier, Kathleen
Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich
Flagstad, Kirsten
Frick, Gottlob
Galli-Curci, Amelita
Garden, Mary
Gigli, Beniamino
Gobbi, Tito
Guarrera, Frank
Gueden, Hilde
Hayward, Thomas
Hotter, Hans
Jurinac, Sena
Klose, Margarete
Kunz, Erich
Lapitino, Francis
Lauri-Volpi, Giacomo
Lehmann, Lotte
Leider, Frida
Ludwig, Christa
Martinelli, Giovanni
McCormack, John
Melba, Nellie
Melchior, Lauritz
Merli, Francesco
Merrill, Robert
Milanov, Zinka
Modl, Martha
Nilsson, Birgit
Olivero, Magda
Pagliughi, Lina
Pasero, Tancredi
Patzak, Julius
Pertile, Aureliano
Pons, Lily
Ponselle, Rosa
Rethberg, Elisabeth
Robin, Mado
Ronald, Landon
Rosvaenge, Helge
Rysanek, Leonie
Sayao, Bidu
Schipa, Tito
Schumann, Elisabeth
Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth
Scott, Norman
Seefried, Irmgard
Simionato, Giulietta
Simoneau, Leopold
Stabile, Mariano
Stich-Randall, Teresa
Stignani, Ebe
Stracciari, Riccardo
Supervia, Conchita
Tauber, Richard
Tebaldi, Renata
Tetrazzini, Luisa
Teyte, Maggie
Thill, Georges
Tibbett, Lawrence
Tucker, Richard
Uhde, Hermann
Varnay, Astrid
Votipka, Thelma
Welitsch, Ljuba

Track Listings
 
CD 1
1. Mon Coeur S'ouvre a Ta Vox - Marion Anderson/Studio Orchestra
2. Vien, Leonora - Ettore Bastianini/Giulietta Simionato/Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Orchestra
3. Oh, De'verd'anni Miei - Mattia Battistini/Rosa Ponselle/Studio Orchestra
4. Letzte Rose - Erna Berger/Berlin State Opera Orchestra
5. Che Gelida Manina! - various
6. Vissi D'arte - Maria Callas/Milan La Scala Orchestra
7. Pace, Pace Mio Dio! - various
8. Questa O Quella - Enrico Caruso/Salvatore Cottone
9. Against the Cruel Crags, 'Song of the Viking Guest' - Feodor Chaliapin/Studio Orchestra
10. Il Lacerato Spirito - various
11. Deh! Non Volerli Vittime - various
12. Spargi D'amaro Pianto - various
13. Non So Piu Cosa Son, Cosa Faccio - various
14. Er Ist Der Richtige Nicht Fur Mich - Lisa Della Casa/Hilde Gueden/Vienna Philharmonic Orch.
15. Se Quel Guerrier Io Fossi!...Celeste Aida - various
16. The Death of Margherita: L'altra Notte in Fondo Al Mare - Mafalda Favero/Mila La Scala Orchestra
17. Che Faro Senza Euridice - Kathleen Ferrier/London Symphony Orchestra
18. Ich Hab' Ein Gluhend Messer - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Orchestra

CD 2
1. Mild Und Leise Wie Er Lachelt - various
2. Hat Man Nicht Auch Gold Beineben - Gottlob Frick/Martha Modl/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
3. Ah! Tardai Troppo...O Luce Di Quest Anima - Amelita Galli-Curci/Studio Orchestra
4. Depuis Le Jour - Jean Dansereau/Mary Garden
5. Donna Non Vidi Mai - Beniamino Gigli/Studio Orchestra
6. Si Puo Si Puo - Tito Gobbi/Milan La Scala Orchestra
7. Der Alte Sturm, Die Alte Muh! - Hans Hotter/Margarete Klose/Berlin State Opera Orch.
8. Cavatina: Porgi, Amor - various
9. Ach, Wie So Herrlich Zu Schau'n - Erich Kunz/Philharmonia Orchestra
10. Un Di All'azzurro Spazio - Giacomo Lauri-Volpi/Milan La Scala Orchestra
11. Die Zeit, Die Ist Ein Sonderbar Ding - Lotte Lehmann/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
12. Isolde! Tristan!...Doch Es Rachte - various
13. Allons!...Il Le Faut!...Adieu, Notre Petite Table - Victoria de los Angeles/Paris Opera-Comique Orchestra
14. Then You'll Remember Me - John McCormack/Studio Orchestra
15. Apri La Tua Finestra - Francis Lapitino/Giovanni Martinelli
16. Ah! Je Ris De Me Voir - Nellie Melba/Landon Ronald
17. Eri Tu Che Macchiavi Quell'anima - various
18. D'amor Sull'ali Rosee - various
19. Abscheulicher! Wo Eilst Du Hin - Gottlob Frick/Martha Modl/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 3
1. Die Trommel Geruhet - Birgit Nilsson/Philharmonia Orchestra
2. Tu Che Di Gel Sei Cinta - various
3. Caro Nome Che Il Mio Cor - Lina Pagliughi/Italian Broadcasting Authority Orchestra
4. Von Der Jugend - Julius Patzak/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
5. Ah, Si Ben Mio...Di Quella Pira - various
6. Chi Mi Frena in Tal Momento - various
7. Ernani! Ernani, Involami - Mattia Battistini/Rosa Ponselle/Studio Orchestra
8. Einsam in Truben Tagen - various
9. Ou Va La Jeune Indoue? 'Bell Song' - Mado Robin/Paris Opera-Comique Orchestra
10. Du Bist Meine Sonne - various
11. Dich, Teure Halle, 'Elisabeth's Greeting' - Leonie Rysanek/Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
12. O Soave Fanciulla - various
13. Una Furtiva Lagrima - Tito Schipa/Victor Orchestra
14. Wie Mein Ahnl Zwanzig Jahr - Elisabeth Schumann/Vienna State Opera Orchestra
15. Come Scoglio Immoto Resta - various
16. The Prologue: Sein Wir Wieder Gut - Irmgard Seefried/Philharmonia Orchestra
17. O Mio Fernando - various
18. Un'aura Amorosa Del Nostro Tesoro - various
19. Ho Da Fare Un Dramma Buffo - Mariano Stabile/Milan La scala Chorus/Milan La Scala Orch.

CD 4
1. Mir Ist Die Ehre Widerfahren - various
2. Mira, O Norma...Cedi, Deh Cedi!...Si, Fino All'ore Estreme - various
3. Alla Vita Che T'arride - various
4. Voi, Che Sapete Che Cosa È Amor - various
5. Gern Hab' Ich Die Frau'n Gekusst - Richard Tauber/Studio Orchestra
6. Ritorna Vincitor! - various
7. Io Son Titania, 'Polonaise' - Luisa Tetrazzini/Victor Orchestra
8. Le Spectre De La Rose - Maggie Teyte/London Symphony Orchestra
9. Toute Mon Ame Est La!...Pourquoi Me Revelier - Georges Thill/Paris National Opera Orchestra
10. Credo in Un Dio Crudel, 'Iago's Credo' - Lawrence Tibbett/New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
11. La Vita E Inferno...O Tu Che in Seno Agli Angeli - various
12. Du Wilde Seherin! Wie Willst Du Doch - various
13. Ah! Du Wolltest Mich Nicht Deinen Mund Kussen Lassen, Jochanaan! - Ljuba Welitsch/New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra


 




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