V1282. THE EDISON LEGACY, Vol. 1, Unpublished Treasures of the Edison Archive, incl. Emmi Leisner, Carmen Melis, Lucrezia Bori, Lucette Korsoff, Rosa Olitzka, Emmy Destinn, Marcella Craft, Dinh Gilly, Edoardo Faticanti, Luisa Garibaldi, Italo Cristali, Melitta Heim, Frieda Hempel, Heinrich Hensel, Valentin Jaume, Paola Koralek, Oreste Benedetti, Maria Labia, Umberto Macnez, Margarete Matzenauer, Marie Rappold, Edyth Walker, Carolina White, Fritz Vogelstrom & Domenico Viglione-Borghese. 2-Marston 52042. Transfers by Ward Marston. - 63833520422
“These two sets, the most important historical vocal releases in my lifetime of 70 years, have many lessons for us….The recorded sound is exceptional, as far as the voices are concerned. The accompaniments are pushed a little into the background but I imagine this order of priorities will offend few vocal buffs. Virtually everything here, by names such as Bori, Delna, Destinn, Hempel and Kaschmann, is previously unpublished….From the distinguished baritone Domenico Viglione-Borghese we have his first two records, hitherto unknown….These are good souvenirs of a worthwhile singer. Much of the excitement generated by these Edison sets concerns the American soprano Carolina White, previously unknown to me. Had she not abandoned opera in 1914, aged 29, she would have given Rosa Ponselle a real run for her money….She is a real discovery for me….Handel’s ‘Sweet Bird’ is a good souvenir of Frieda Hempel, with lovely trills, her only Handel I think: the duetting with an unnamed flautist is celestial. Tenor Valentin Jaume displays his forward production and good enunciation in a single ‘O Paradis!’….We hear lovely, vibrant singing from the great Carmen Melis in ‘Io son l’umile ancella’ from ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, complete with its introduction and recitative. Though Tosti’s ‘Io son l’amore’ is not one of his best songs, she is persuasive….Four unpublished tracks by the wonderful Marie Delna [offer] the Letter Scene from WERTHER [which] again brings the best out of her, with glowing tone, natural phrasing and total immersion in the rôle….Aged 60 [de Segurola] has quite a tremolo but still commands a lovely tone and a fine legato. ‘Sei vindicata assai’, with its recitative, is very well sung in the old bel canto style, with a delectable morendo at the end of the first verse….Presentation is up the usual Marston standards, with quite a chunky biography of each singer. The sound quality is nearly always superb and often startling. And there is more to come!”
- Tully Potter, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2013
“We are pleased to present here a collection of 36 rare and unpublished disc recordings made almost a century ago under the supervision of Thomas A. Edison, the inventor of the phonograph. The sound archive at the Edison National Historic Site houses a collection of several hundred original test pressings of Edison disc recordings that for one reason or another were never released to the public. From this collection, we have chosen recordings based on the merit of the singing and the reputations of the various singers. Some are well known names such as Lucrezia Bori, Emmy Destinn, Frieda Hempel, and Emmi Leisner, while others were not so prominent but had substantial careers. In several cases, these Edison recordings are the only examples of their voices.
Aside from the musical content of the recordings, what makes them so enjoyable is the sheer superiority of sound that Edison was able to achieve given the limitations of the acoustical recording process. Many of these discs were recorded between 1910 and 1913 when Edison was beginning to experiment with disc-recording. He made certain that every aspect of his recording technique was kept absolutely secret with no paper trail. Even today, no one really knows how Edison achieved a sonic clarity which was in many ways superior to the recordings of his competitors.”
- Ward Marston