V0388. BENIAMINO GIGLI: The Complete HMV Recordings, Vol. III, 1936 - 1938, featuring ‘Giovinezza’ & ‘Inno a Roma’; Songs by Bach-Gounod, Bizet, Franck, Schumann, Grieg, Denza, Tosti, Rossini, etc.; Arias & Duet (w.Caniglia) from L’Arlesiana & La Boheme. (England) Romophone 82020. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. Elaborate booklet features discographic data, photos & extensive notes by Alan Blyth. Long out-of-print; Final copy! - 754238202025
“This is the fifth Romophone release devoted to Gigli's complete recordings; earlier volumes carried him from 1921 to 1935. By the mid-1930s the great tenor was in his 40's and at the height of his popularity everywhere he sang, which was just about everywhere. He was singing as sweetly and effortlessly as ever, his voice still rich, vibrant, and flexible, perhaps even stronger than earlier, and still able to produce a haunting mezza voce and ringing high notes. The familiar faults are there: aspirated vowels, some undesirable portamento, and a fair amount of exaggerated emotionalism. Don't look to Gigli for the best of taste--for that, turn to Carlo Bergonzi, but in its place you get his sheer beauty of voice and infectious joy in singing. This is particularly the case for the Italian songs that make up a good part of the 22 selections on this disc. Mark Obert-Thorn’s transfers are excellent, as always. Many critics and listeners believe Gigli had the most beautiful voice of the century, and there is nothing here to disprove that contention.”
- Alexander J. Morin, Audiophile Audition
“For a remarkably long period of time that spanned the second quarter of the 20th century…Beniamino Gigli was the most important Italian lyric tenor of the operatic world. Yes, there were others, notably Tito Schipa, but none with the breadth of repertoire and the career longevity of Gigli. And then there was that unique sound – melting, sweet, unlike any other….This is, without question, one of the most important and satisfying singers of the 20th century.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE, July/Aug., 2005
"They're very collectable, these Romophone complete editions. Up they go on the shelves, and you know that there is another small but quite important area in the history of singing on records properly covered, ready for reference at any time, and reference that will be a pleasure because the standard of transfer is so reliable."
- J. B. Steane, GRAMOPHONE, Feb., 1995