Historical Reissue Classical CDs, LPs, 78s,
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An Unlikely pair,
ARTHUR ENDREZE and ZINKA MILANOV . . .
An Unlikely pair, except musically: we celebrate Marston’s new issue of the Complete Recordings of ARTHUR ENDREZE . . . as we remember the glorious ZINKA MILANOV, born 17 May, 1906, Zagreb!ARTHUR ENDREZE: The Complete Arthur Endrèze, incl. unpublished broadcast performances, plus an interview. 5-Marston 55001. Specially priced - 5-CDs for the price of 3. (V2162)
"Arthur Endrèze was born Arthur Endres Kraeckmann in Chicago where the conductor Walter Damrosch discovered his beautiful voice and recommended him to study singing. It was not until 1928 when he came to France by way of the American Academy at Fontainebleau. While there, he took instruction from Jean de Reszké and began a career as a recitalist. He made his opera début in 1925 as Don Giovanni at the Nice Opera House. It was the composer and baritone Reynaldo Hahn, who invited Endrèze to appear in some opera performances at Cannes and Deauville. He débuted as Karnack in Lalo’s LE ROI d’YS at the Opéra-Comique in 1928, followed by the first appearance at the Grand Opéra as Valentin, where he created a variety of roles of French contemporary operas. The most successful creation was the title role in Magnard’s GUERCOEUR. In 1937 he took part in the first performance of Honegger/Ibert’s L’AIGLON. Endrèze was the leading baritone at the Grand Opéra for almost 20 years where he enjoyed a remarkable success in the title-role of Méhul’s JOSEPH. During his entire career he was also a frequent guest at the operas of Nice, Brussels and Monte Carlo (he never appeared in the United States).
The greatest French tenor of the latter part of the 19th century, Jean De Reszké, in fact the greatest French singer of his day, was Arthur Endrèze’s teacher for three years. De Reszké began as a baritone and restudied as a tenor. Arthur Endrèze and Jean de Reszké were not French by birth, but ‘we should remember that vocal style is the product of cultural identification, not the accident of birth - a baby born in a stable is not a horse’, as Michael Scott explained. Endrèze found his artistic temperament destined for the serious and tragic incarnations. He never appeared in Mozart and Rossini (except DON GIOVANNI)
There is neither roundness nor brilliance in his voice (as we know from Italian baritones), but his is a warm and highly individual instrument of a velvety quality in the upper register. Particularly in the lyrical parts, you can hear his perfect mezza voce and his great ability to sing with inner emotion. He articulates each phrase with a feeling for the particular color that helps to illuminate its meaning. Endrèze had a perfect French pronunciation (all the more remarkable for a native American) and, when listening to him, you will know what French diction is about. His Hérode, Hamlet and Athanaël - not to forget his song recordings - are wonderful examples of French singing art. Arthur Endrèze is a favorite baritone of mine because of his entirely personal and sensual approach to music.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
“On records, Endrèze projects a romanticism that supports his image. His voice is velvety and sensual. He articulates each phrase with a feeling for the particular color that helps illuminate its meaning. As a singing actor, Arthur Endrèze was the heir to Jean de Reszké's legendary magic; he also deserves recognition as one of the greatest American baritones.”
- Harold Bruder
“A pupil of Jean de Reszké, a young American baritone, Mr. Endrèze did unusually good work in the difficult rôle of Guercœur. He has the best voice which has been heard for some years on the Opéra boards. His voice has, in reality, the characteristic timbre of a tenor, and he is able to reach both the upper and lower extremes with ease. The power of his voice is unusual. He is, moreover, an artist who is full of intelligence and one who has proved himself to be an excellent actor. His success was great.”
- Henry Prunières, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“As for the twelve songs [Endrèze] recorded with piano, they give one the opportunity to hear him, for once, in languages other than French—and dare one say that he impresses more in German than in his native tongue? The gems are, nevertheless, the two Faurés, the delightful Paladilhe, and the three Hahns, with the considerable bonus of having the composer as accompanist. Among the songs he recorded for the French radio in the late 1930s or early 1940s, particularly interesting, on account of their relative rarity, are the Chaussons, Nanny and Hébé, and the even rarer Paysages tristes, the cycle on Verlaine poems composed in 1886 by Charles Bordes a disciple of César Franck, chiefly remembered for being, along with Vincent d’Indy, one of the founders of the Schola cantorum in 1894.”
- Vincent Giroud, Program Notes
And a complementary title:
VANNI-MARCOUX: The Complete Vanni-Marcoux, recorded 1924-55 (including the 1955 recital of Delmet songs accompanied by Irène Aïtoff). 6-Marston 56001. Transfers by Ward Marston. Booklet notes by Vincent Giroud. Specially priced - 6-CDs for the price of 4. (V1807)
“Vanni-Marcoux was one of the giants of what can fairly be described as the golden age of French singing. He enjoyed a huge career in opera and concerts, from 1894 when he made his debut in Turin, to 1938…. Almost the entire recorded oeuvre of Vanni-Marcoux dates from the period 1924-34. Bizarrely, the exception was an HMV LP entirely devoted to the songs of Paul Delmet. It was recorded in 1955, some 17 years after he ceased to perform in opera and concert. The artistry is still there, but hardly surprisingly, the voice is clearly that of an old man…. the performances from BORIS GODUNOV, PÉLLEAS ET MÉLISANDE and DON QUICHOTTE are surely amongst the greatest recordings ever made of the repertoire concerned. The inclusion of BORIS GODUNOV may occasion some lifting of eyebrows. Conventional wisdom is that of Golden Age singers, Chaliapin was without equal as an interpreter of this work. The article by Vincent Giroud, in the lavishly illustrated booklet which accompanies this set, discusses the respective interpretations of Chaliapin and Vanni-Marcoux. The former had a unique histrionic ability demonstrated in virtually all his recorded output. Vanni-Marcoux is a much quieter and introspective Boris and has the advantage of a diction in which every single word is clear. The styles could not be more different, but for those anxious to build up a cross section of great performances both are essential…. And yet amongst all these wonderful operatic items my favourite remains the wonderful record of King Philip’s aria from DON CARLOS. Sung in the deepest sorrow and introspection and of course in the original French, it is the equal of the record by Pol Plançon, often considered the greatest of all the French basses of the period. These two versions have never been bettered…. We mostly listen to recordings for pleasure, but we should always remember that they are a key part of our cultural legacy. Complete issues such as the Vanni-Marcoux keep that legacy alive – Ward Marston and all those who made this one possible deserve our commendation and support.”
- Stanley Henig, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011
And highly recommended from among Milanov’s legendary favorites:AÏDA, recorded 1955, w.Perlea Cond. Rome Opera House Ensemble; Zinka Milanov, Jussi Björling, Leonard Warren, Fedora Barbieri, Boris Christoff, etc.; UN BALLO IN MASCHERA – Excerpts, recorded 1955, w.Mitropoulos Cond. Metropolitan Opera Orch.; Zinka Milanov, Jan Peerce, Leonard Warren, Roberta Peters & Marian Anderson. (E.U.) 3-Naxos 8.111042/44. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. (OP1384)
"No other singers have caught so well the serenity of two lovers whose readiness for death and anticipation of the ‘estasi d’un immortal amor’ is articulated in phrasing of constant refinement and beauty, mirroring the shimmering harmonics of the violins. Pianissimo singing in the upper register was a Milanov specialty."
- Stephen Hastings, THE BJÖRLING SOUND, p.313
IL TROVATORE, recorded 1952, w.Cellini Cond. RCA Ensemble & Robert Shaw Chorale; Zinka Milanov, Jussi Björling, Leonard Warren, Fedora Barbieri, Nicola Moscona, etc.; ZINKA MILANOV: Six Yugoslav (Bosnia, Macedonia & Slovenia) Songs, recorded 1944, Sonart. (Canada) 2-Naxos 8.110240/41. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. (OP0486)
"This is the classic RCA recording of 1952, with four of the reigning stars of the Metropolitan Opera at their peak, remaining among the very finest recorded versions. The transfer by Mark Obert-Thorn brings out the full beauty and character of all four principals very vividly and are particularly valuable when Zinka Milanov, always an iconic figure at the Met, is here recorded with a purity and firmness that transcends many of her later, all-too-rare recordings. Bjorling is, as ever, superb in his heroic projection, though in a performance with the usual cuts he is allowed only one stanza of 'Di quella pira'. Leonard Warren and Fedora Barbiere are also perfectly focused, with Renato Cellini drawing lively playing and singing from the RCA Victor Orchestra and the hand-picked Robert Shaw Chorale. The bonus items of six songs from Milanov’s native Yugoslavia, recorded in New York in 1944, give a different perspective on the voice: closer and earthier if just as characterful."
- Penguin GuideWagner at the Met, Legendary Performances, 1936-54 ,from the Metropolitan Opera w.Bodanzky, Szell, Reiner, Stiedry & Leinsdorf Cond. Marjorie Lawrence, de los Angeles, Flagstad, Varnay, Branzell, Thorborg, Harshaw, Melchior, Svanholm, Hopf, Schorr, Hotter, Svéd, List, Greindl, Schöffler, Hines, George London, Sven Nilsson, etc. (E.U.) 25-Sony 88765 42717, Boxed Set Edition w.128pp. book. A truly spectacular boxed set of Live Performances which cannot be missed by any true Wagnerite. A glorious way to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Wagner’s birth! (OP2749)
“Wagner at The Met is the first authorized release of Richard Wagner’s operatic masterpieces, including the complete RING CYCLE, captured live in historic broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera. The recordings have been newly restored from the original sources and display the grandeur of these legendary, once-in-a-lifetime performances. The casts include such celebrated Wagnerians as Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior and Hans Hotter, led by conductors including Artur Bodanzky, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Fritz Stiedry and Erich Leinsdorf. The Boxed Set includes a 128-page book with synopses and essays on each opera.”
DAS RHEINGOLD, Live Performance, 22 May, 1962, Köln, w.Sawallisch Cond. Gürzenich Orch. Ensemble; George London, Zoltán Kelemen. Erwin Wolhfahrt, Gerd Nienstedt, Elisabeth Schärtel, Ingeborg Kjellgren, etc. (E.U.) 2-Archipel 0554. (OP2687)TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Live Performance, 1962, w.Bohm Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Kerstin Meyer, Josef Greindl, Eberhard Waechter, etc. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00328. (OP2681)DAS RHEINGOLD, Live Performance, 28 July, 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Otto Wiener, Gerhard Stolze, Otakar Kraus, Marga Hoffgen, Grace Hoffman, etc. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00323. (OP2677)DIE WALKÜRE, Live Performance, 29 July, 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Astrid Varnay, Jutta Meyfarth, Fritz Uhl, Otto Wiener, Gerhard Stolze, Gottlob Frick, Grace Hoffman, etc. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00324. (OP2678)SIEGFRIED, Live Performance, 30 July, 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hopf, Otto Wiener, Otakar Kraus, Erich Klaus, Marga Hoffgen, etc. (E.U.) 3-Myto 00325. (OP2679)GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, Live Performance, 1 Aug., 1962, w.Kempe Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hopf, Gottlob Frick, Jutta Meyfarth, Margarete Bence, Grace Hoffman, Gundula Janowitz, etc. (E.U.) 4-Myto 00326. (OP2680)KHOVANSCHINA (Moussorgsky), recorded 1953, w.Nebolsin Cond. Bolshoi Opera Ensemble; Mark Reizen, Maria Maksakova, Alexei Ivanov, Alexei Krivchenya, Nikandr Khanaev, Grigori Bolshakov, etc.; Khovanschina – Excerpts, recorded 1939 from Gramplasstrest tone-film, w.Lev Steinberg Cond. Bolshoi Theatre Ensemble; Vasilly Lubentsov, Maria Maksakova, Alexei Ivanov, Dmitri Marchenkov, Sergei Koltypin, etc. (Russia) 3-Aquarius AQVR 370. (OP2688)DIE ROSEN DER MADONNA (Stolz), Broadcast Performance, 1962, w.Stolz Cond. Radio Wien Ensemble; Gundula Janowitz, Eberhard Waechter, Waldemar Kmentt, Alois Pernerstorfer, etc. (E.U.) Myto 00327. (OP2682)NINON VALLIN, Vol. I, incl. by Ackermans, Waldteufel, Benatzky, Lauweryns, Broqua, Beydts, de Fontenailles, Chaminade, Holmès, Bemberg, Chabrier, Hahn, Chopin, Yradier & Freire; w. Marguerite Long: Les Berceaux (Fauré). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-156, recorded 1932-34 , Pathé, French Odéon Columbia. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. Great transfers from pristine 78rpm copies, the first in a YSL series of some of Vallin’s rarest records! The second volume already under way! (V2148)ANDREE ESPOSITO: Arias from Benvenuto Cellini, Louise, Carmen, Manon, Faust, Phryne & Les Pecheurs de Perles - recorded 1958-72; w. Robert Massard; Albert Wolff Cond.: Thais - Excerpts, recorded 27 Aug., 1959. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 33-152. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. Along with Mady Mesple, Esposito was one of the last exponents of exquisite French style and taste! (V2145)
We continue to offer the remaining OPERA RARA elaborate boxed sets at 30% discount
, all from the private collection of a major discriminating collector. These are single available copies, many unplayed – a few having been played only once.
In a world in which recording companies find it increasingly difficult to survive, let alone expand their activities, the achievement of OPERA RARA is a remarkable success story. The secret of this success is that the company has always been a highly specialised venture founded on the conviction that there is an inexhaustible mine of fascinating, yet undeservedly forgotten, 19th-century Italian and French operatic music.
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