V2464. JOHN McCORMACK, Vol. XI, The 1924 Acoustic Recordings, incl. Songs by Mozart, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, Larchet, Moore, Bridge, Friml, Irving Berlin, Piantadosi, Hirsch & Sanders; w.EMMY DESTINN: ‘Mira la bianca luna’ from Rossini’s LES SOIRÉES MUSICALES. (Germany) Naxos 8.111402, recorded 1924, incl.several Unpublished 'takes'. Transfers by Ward Marston. - 747313340224
“John McCormack’s reputation as one of the greatest of all tenors remains undimmed. The final volume of this acclaimed series focuses on the sequence of acoustically recorded discs made in late 1924. There are memorable encounters with the great violinist Fritz Kreisler and a span of repertoire that includes Brahms - McCormack was tutored by one of the composer’s favourite interpreters, George Henschel - as well as lighter fare. This release ends with a series of important alternative ‘takes’, including the first ever issue [track 20] of a second take of ‘La Serenata’ from Rossini’s LES SOIRÉES MUSICALES.
John McCormack’s many recordings during the first three decades of the 19th century would today place him among the world’s top-selling ‘pop’ charts. Born in Ireland in 1884, and originally self-taught, he was advised to seek professionally training in Italy, and there he began a career in provincial opera houses. He was briefly taken into London’s Covent Garden company, but it was at New York’s Metropolitan Opera that his success story took wing. Unsuccessfully he tried to shake off the Irish tang that coloured all of his operatic roles, and, by his own admission, he was a dreadful actor, and, when put together, those drawbacks persuaded him to retire from the opera stage while still in his mid-thirties. It proved financially to be a wise move, as he then enjoyed enormous acclaim with appearances singing popular ballades. The present CD covers the year 1924 when he worked mainly for the Gramophone Company, and concentrates on lieder and songs that included Brahms’ ‘Komm bald’ and Rachmaninov’s ‘Before My Window’….The idiomatic quality he brings to Frank Bridge’s ‘Oh! that it were so!’ and a particularly beautiful account of Richard Strauss’ ‘Morgen!’ where Fritz Kreisler adds the violin solo introduction [are special treasures]. That the disc is aimed primarily at the lovers of his unusual voice comes with the inclusion of the alternative ‘takes’ of the same song, that are only slightly different. As throughout the series - this being the final volume - the transfers by Ward Marston are examples of his immaculately prepared transfers to CD.”
- David Denton, David’s Review Corner