V0574. THREE EDISON TENORS, incl. Giuseppe Anselmi (Arias from Mignon, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, L'Africaine, La Favorita, Lucia, La Gioconda & I Pagliacci); Alessandro Bonci (Arias from Aïda, Luisa Miller, Rigoletto, Tosca, Marta, Lucia & L'Elisir); José Mojica (Arias from Les Huguenots, Lakmé, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, L'Elisir & Barbiere). Marston 51002, recorded 1913-26. Transfers by Ward Marston. Very Long out–of–print, final copy! - 638335100227
"This 1998 CD from famed restorer of old recordings Ward Marston, on his own label, features three lyric tenors all of whom recorded for Thomas Edison. The first two, Anselmi and Bonci, were Italians of Caruso's generation and were in their primes 1900-1910; Edison recorded both of them in 1913 in his search for tenors to compete with Caruso. The third, Mojica, was a Mexican who sang in the 1920's and 1930's; Edison recorded him in 1925-26 (acoustically, not electrically). This CD contains all of the operatic selections recorded by these three tenors for Edison: seven arias by Anselmi and seven by Bonci (all in Italian), and five by Mojica (four in Italian and one French), for a generous total timing of 78:39. The notes and documentation are exemplary, and include multiple photos of each singer. The Edison ‘hill and dale’ (or vertically cut) recording process was different from and incompatible with the horizontally cut recording process of Victor and Columbia, which dominated the marketplace (Edison's record company ceased operations in 1929). Many aficionados of acoustic recordings believe that Edison's process was superior, including Mr. Marston: ‘ Edison's recordings of singers provide the listener with an extremely lifelike reproduction of the voice, unrivaled by any other acoustic recordings’.
The restorations here are fine, as aficionados have come to expect from Marston, but the results are a mixed bag. The much younger José Mojica (1896-1974), the least important of these singers historically, is the pleasant surprise here. His operatic career was primarily in Chicago, and he sang in several early Spanish sound films. His is a light voice, but of pleasing quality and flexibility, used intelligently and stylishly. He has the technique for Ecco ridente in cielo, and sings French well in an aria from LAKMÉ.”
- David A. Kemp
“All three of these tenors deliver vocal thrills, but the reason to buy this is the five cuts by Mexican tenor José Mojica. His is simply one of the most sumptuous, stylishly deployed tenor voices in history.”
- David Patrick Stearns