V0295. RICHARD CROOKS: Songs by Bach, Arne, Haydn, Purcell, Schubert, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Franz, Strauss, Quilter, Morgan, Pessard, MacDermid, White, Molloy, Burleigh, Warren, Foster, Lehár, Romberg, etc.;
DIE SCHÖNE MÜLLERIN (Complete Cycle, w.several Unpublished parts, 1933) (Schubert); Arias from Die Meistersinger, Lohengrin, Carmen, Aïda, L'Elisir & L'Arlesiana; w.Bing Crosby: Two Stephen Foster Songs, w.spoken banter, Live, 13 Feb., 1943. 2-Delos The Stanford Archive Series DE 5501, recorded 1918-67, (the latter from wedding ceremony); Much Unpublished Material, partially from Mrs Richard Crooks' collection. Final copy! - 013491550121
“Delos' Stanford Archive series approaches matters from an American perspective. The project, years in the making, is a brainchild of William R. Moran, a recordings expert in California. Though Delos proclaims grand ambitions, only four titles have been released so far. Yet great care has gone into these two-disk sets. Not only has Mr. Moran filled them with unusual material from the Archive of Recorded Sound at Stanford University, but he has also provided transfers of clarity and dimension. His notes are informed and lucid. And happily, Delos includes complete texts and translations. Presumably, Mr. Moran selected the singers based on personal preference, but who will quibble with choices like the tenor Richard Crooks, the contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink and the baritones Lawrence Tibbett and Richard Bonelli?
Crooks was blessed with a voice of John McCormack-like lyric beauty. In this compendium of mostly unpublished material (DE 5501), the tenor spins shimmering musical lines, his ringing sound unforced, his phrasing graceful. A 1929 ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima’ could hardly be more ardent, even if it is sung in German. And Crooks' crisp diction is nowhere better sampled than in a 1941 recording of Roger Quilter's ‘Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal’. Yet this album's chief prize may be a long-buried 1933 account of Schubert's SCHÖNE MÜLLERIN, with Frank La Forge at the piano. Though linguistically unidiomatic, Crooks is tonally ravishing.
Romophone, Delos and Marston are by no means the only labels linking today's music lovers with the milestone singers of the past. But their fusing of the highest technical standards with superior esthetic judgment distinguishes them from their rivals. Thanks to their efforts, we are reminded again of William Faulkner's remark that the past is not dead; it isn't even past.”
- David Mermelstein, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 July, 1998
“This much admired tenor from New Jersey was one of the mainstays of the Metropolitan Opera from 1933 until 1946. The Great Depression of the early 30's brought about the departure of several distinguished Italian colleagues, which did much to further his career. But he was already a great favorite with the general public by virtue of his weekly broadcasts on American radio. His lovely, fresh-sounding, unforced tenor voice ensured a vast circle of admirers; and his recordings of light classics, operetta, and popular songs sold in vast quantities world-wide. Since he died it is fairly safe to state that collections of his recordings have always been available in one format or another. They reveal a disarming freshness of tone akin, perhaps, to a young McCormack. This youthful quality remained to some extent for his entire career.”
-Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2011
"...Crooks'...voice was by far the most attractive among the American tenors of his generation, combining the sweet Irish lilt of a John McCormack with the weightier accents of a German lyric....he was a favorite with Toscanini, Walter, and Mengelberg - under the latter's baton, Crooks participated in the American première of Mahler's DAS LIED VON DER ERDE."
- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, pp.366-67