V1718. HORACE STEVENS, Vol. I, incl. Songs by Henschel, Nelson, Sullivan, Sharpe, Hatton & Elgar; Arias from Messiah, Die Schöpfung, St Paul, Elijah, Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde, La Prigione d’Edimburgo, Hiawatha’s Departure, Maud, Merry Sherwood & Pagliacci. (Germany) Truesound Transfers 3002, recorded 1923-26, Vocalion. Transfers by Christian Zwarg.
“Horace Ernest Stevens was an Australian bass-baritone opera singer, born on 26 October 1876 in Prahran, Melbourne, Australia. He joined the All Saints Grammar School and Anglican Church in St Ilda, where he sang in the choir. The choir was being trained in singing for the 1891 opening of St Paul's Cathedral. Climbing up the ranks, Stevens became a lay clerk in 1898 and a few years later, as a temporary choirmaster. He resigned from the choir in 1949. Stevens served as an army officer during the First World War, during which he attained the title of Honorary Lieutenant. After performing impromptu at a cafe in London, he was persuaded by Sir Henry Wood to take up singing as a career. In 1919, Stevens made his début as an opera singer in ELIJAH with the Queen's Hall Orchestra, in which he sang the title role. His performance received positive comment, with Sir Edward Elgar dubbing him as the ‘best Elijah’of the period. Stevens went on to perform at many major music festivals in the UK and the United States. He also appeared with the British National Opera Company as Wotan and other Wagnerian roles. In his later years, Stevens gave music lessons at the University of Melbourne from 1938 (four years after his return from Britain to Australia) until his death in 1950.”
- Ned Ludd
“[Truesound] transfers have been an absolute revelation to me….Amazingly, Christian Zwarg has managed to unlock the sound of these recordings in such a way as to present [voices] such as I have never heard before. Here the sound has a sheen and glow which is quite beautiful. It is as if an old masterpiece painting has been cleaned and restored, allowing rays of brilliant light to emerge….”
- Davyd Booth, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2012