Elsie  Houston           (Marston 51011)
Item# V1911
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Product Description

Elsie  Houston           (Marston 51011)
V1911. ELSIE HOUSTON: Elsie Houston: Queen of Brazilian Song, incl. Songs by Villa-Lobos, Fernandez, Nin, Ravel, Nilvar, Jamblan/Herpin, Barlow, Alvaro Moreira/Hekel Tavares, Bandeira/Ovalle, Ovalle, etc. Marston 51011, recorded 1928-41, incl. de Falla’s ‘Siete Canciones Populares Españolas’, Unpublished RCA 1941 matrices, plus 7 Unpublished Liberty Music Shop titles. Transfers by Ward Marston. Final copies! - 638335101101


“The latest recording here is from 1941: an impressive, surprisingly unpublished performance of Falla’s ‘Siete canciones populares españolas’, in which Houston is in clear, steady voice, grading and shading from one song to another, so the hushed ‘Nana’ contrasts strikingly with the exuberant ‘Polo, to take the extremes. Pablo Miguel’s pianistic contribution enhances the cycle.”


“Of the many performers who came to the United States in the 1930s during the country’s craze for all things Latin American, the most unusual was probably the Brazilian singer Elsie Houston…. It was the formidable Lehmann who gave the young Houston a solid vocal technique, one which allowed her to use her voice in unusual ways, yet never lose its musical quality. Two years later Houston returned to Brazil, and was then promptly shipped off to Buenos Aires, to study with another great singer, France’s Ninon Vallin, who was a favorite at the Teatro Colón. Houston remained there for two years, then moved to Paris with Vallin…. It was there, in 1926, that Elsie Houston presented her first concert of Brazilian music. The following year she made her formal début at the Salle Gaveau, sharing the concert with Villa-Lobos. In 1928 she cut her first recordings - two sides for French HMV of four Villa-Lobos songs with Mme. Villa-Lobos at the piano…. Houston cut her second group of records in Brazil in 1931, for the Brazilian Columbia label, mostly folksongs…. In 1937 she came to New York, where she remained for the rest of her life, arriving just as the rage for Latin-American music was at a peak…. In 1940 Houston appeared on a program with other artists at a Festival of Brazilian Music at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and proved the sensation of the Festival….Perhaps the greatest of all ‘crossover’ artists before that term was even invented, she appeared not only on august concert stages, but also in night clubs frequented by Cole Porter and Marlene Dietrich like Le Ruban Bleu…. her Victor album of Brazilian songs, recorded in 1941, benefits from the expert sound engineering of the company which faithfully represented the depth and resonance of her voice. One must note that no small part of that Victor album’s success was due to the talented accompaniment of Pablo Miguel, whose deep piano tone reminds one of Ignaz Friedman. Houston made a series of recordings for New York’s Liberty Music Shop, only four of which were issued…. The series ended with her final recording, ‘Fado’ (Fate). One has only to compare this disc with her first American record, ‘Bahia’, a performance so infused with happiness with the other, while ‘Fado’ is so despairing, as if it were the summing up of her life.”

- Ed Blickstein & Gregor Benko, Marston Program Notes