V0272. ROSA PONSELLE: Rosa Ponselle on the Air, Vol. II, The Chesterfield & General Motors Broadcasts, 1936–37, also featuring Ponselle’s M-G-M Screen Test, and her participation in Schumann-Heink’s 75th Birthday Party. 2-Marston 52032. Transfers by Ward Marston. Very Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 638335203225
“The treasure of treasures [above], though, is a meeting between Ponselle and a singer who was undoubtedly the finest of her voice type, the incomparable coloratura Ernestine Schumann-Heink. This took place on 15 June, 1936, Schumann-Heink’s 75th-birthday-party broadcast, and to hear them converse, and Ponselle sing to her the ‘Wiegenlied’ and ‘Home, sweet home’, is like being able to listen in on the talk on Mount Olympus….[Ponselle’s] caressing tone in ‘Carry me back to old Virginny’ is stunning, and the famous 1936 screen tests are electrifying, especially cleaned up in inimitable Ward Marston fashion.”
- James Camner, FANFARE, May/June, 2001
“On the subject of her studio recordings, opera legend Rosa Ponselle thought that none, except for a few songs, really reflected the way she sang. ‘If you want to hear what I truly sounded like’, Ponselle told writer John Ardoin, ‘listen to my radio broadcasts’. Between April 1934 and April 1936 Chesterfield sponsored Ponselle in a regular series of mini-concerts on the air, all conducted by André Kostelanetz. The first ten are reissued here complete for the first time. In some ways, one can understand Ponselle’s attitude. The microphone placement captures her sonority as it projects and congeals in a hall, which was never the case in the very different recording studio (as opposed to broadcast studio) environment. And what a sound it is! There’s virtually no break in the voice. Every register is as evenly regulated as telephone rates used to be. Top and bottom extremes lack nothing in color or richness of expression. Add her musicianship, taste, and effortless, understandable diction, and you’ve got one of the 20th century’s five greatest singers (some might say she WAS the five greatest singers!).”
- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
"This is a continuation of Vol 1 by Marston of broadcast transcriptions by Ponselle. Most are taken from 16" acetate discs recorded at 33 1/3 rpm. In general, these were made for delayed broadcasts or later audition.
In some cuts there is random noise, like walking thru underbrush, but you can hear thru to reasonably high fidelity recording. In most cases Ponselle's very large voice is well accommodated, with distortion only on fortissimo notes.
The tone is not as mellow as she was given by Victor engineers, but she has a more relaxed and expansive feeling; in this setting SHE was in control, rather than the conductor, and the live audience encouraged her.
There is a mixture of her favorite opera and operetta arias, and some popular items, together with soundtrack recordings from screen tests. Actually, the operetta recordings are some of the most interesting items, hearing them done to a turn.
Her voice is in full flower here, wondering whether any later transcriptions are out there. In the meanwhile, enjoy these to the fullest!"