B0760. The Grand Tradition: Seventy Years of Singing on Record (Corrected New Edition). J. B. STEANE. Portland, OR, Amadeus, 1993. 628 pp. Index; Bibliography; Photos; DJ. - 0780931340642 0-931340-64-0
"It's no exaggeration to say that this is the single most important music book published this year, perhaps in several years. Steane (longtime music critic of vocal discs for GRAMOPHONE) first published this magisterial history of recorded singing in 1974; it has been out of print for a number of years and is virtually unattainable. Steane has brought back the original book with errors corrected. Writing with elegance and wit that's always put at the service of the music and the listener, the author uses the recorded legacy of well over one hundred classical performers to illuminate the art of singing from Patti and Caruso to Price and Domingo. Both opera and song are included. A bible of singing on record, this should be in every collection that seeks to assist the musically inclined. A second volume, bringing the story up to the present, has been announced and is prayerfully awaited; meanwhile, get this one before it disappears again."
- Kirkus Associates
"This is a book that can't be adequately praised enough. For anyone who has shelves of recordings, especially of opera singers of the pre-WW2 era, this insightful writer has an uncanny way of describing the merits of each singer, especially given the aural limitations of the old recordings, and in describing certain phrases or certain colors at the singer's disposal, makes one run for the actual selection, and listen to it with new ears. It's also exciting to hear his reasons for praising a certain singer and to hear him articulate so brilliantly what it is about a certain artist that, in his opinion, makes them cherishable. For instance, I've tried to explain what it is about Tito Schipa and Lotte Lehmann that moves me to tears, and here in this book are ample descriptions and commentaries.
Especially interesting is the chapter about individual arias, for which he suggests up to 6 recordings by various artists to use as comparison, phrase by phrase, and sometimes note by note! For a lover of great singing, and a student of the history of singing, this book is literally priceless."
- Zillah Dorset Akron