The original Caruso recordings
with a modern orchestral accompaniment
BMG 74321 69766 2
You are either going to love this recording or hate it. Caruso's original
recordings were made at the beginning of the last century between 1906-1920
in New York. They were clearly acoustic recordings made even before the advent
of the early electrical recording process (and I am referring to shellac
-- pre-LP vinyl). Therefore the orchestral accompaniment was necessarily
thin and primitive.
The concept of this disc was therefore a marriage of old and new technology
spanning a century. The Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra has recorded a modern
full symphonic accompaniment to 16 Caruso arias. Not so simple for balancing
problems had to be surmounted in respect of the actual recording process
(different speeds between the old and new recording practises) not to mention
the fine adjustments that the players had to (often intuitively) make to
pitch and tempi. They also had to adapt all their instruments to the pitch
of Caruso's New York recordings (approx. 438 Hz). This proved difficult enough
for some instruments but impossible for the organ in 'Manon' which had to
be replaced by a synthesiser.
Six Verdi items are in the collection including arias from Il Trovatore,
Un Balo in Maschera and Aida. Puccini's 'Recondita armonia'
from Tosca is here so too are the famous numbers from Cav
Rossini is represented by arias from the Petite
Messe Solennelle and 'La Danza' (Tarantella neapolitana). From Massenet
there are arias from Manon and Le Cid.
As an intriguing comparison the original version of 'Recitar!
la giubba' from I Pagliacci is included at the end of the collection.
An interesting experiment. No rating is applicable.