The Record Collector - 2013    (TRC 40)
Item# V2254
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The Record Collector - 2013    (TRC 40)
V2254. THE RECORD COLLECTOR - 2013 Issue, incl. Dino Borgioli, Pavel Lisitsian, Victor Maurel, Sydney Rayner, Perceval Allen, Joseph Jamet, Torsten Ralf & Gösta Björling. (England) The Record Collector TRC 40, recorded 1903-71, partially broadcast performances, partially first time on CD. Transfers by Norman White.


"Certainly worth the price of the price of admission are the 1971 live performance of Lisitsian's gorgeous aria from ALEKO . . . as well as the private 1948 recordings of Dino Borgioli!

The great name here for collectors is Pavel Lisitsian, born in 1911, who was probably one of the [last] century's dozen best operatic baritones. To spend an hour or so with Lisitsian's records is to be reminded what a joy it is to hear the work of a real master."

- Will Crutchfield, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 29 July, 1990

"An artist like Dino Borgioli, whom I have many a time had occasion to refer to in enthusiastic terms, is the rarest of rare exceptions. A 'Borgioli' is very rare anywhere, and even more so in Italy."

- Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. THE MUSICAL TIMES, June, 1937

"Who among us can resist the glorious voice of Pavel Lisitsian? His baritone was of a gorgeous tonal quality wedded to a perfect technique. It is difficult to believe that his Pagliacci ‘Prologue’ has hardly been reissued so, appropriately, it begins this CD. The live Aleko shows that, at 60, his voice was still in perfect shape. It is an important addition to our collections because Lisitsian never recorded the aria commercially. How marvellous that it has been preserved for our enjoyment! The Demon arias, also hardly ever reissued, are edgy, crude recordings typical of some Russian discs of the period. However, the magnificent singing always wins through.

Torsten Ralf’s acoustic Parlophons are of great rarity. They were intended only for the Swedish market and, even there, have not been reissued. They show a bright, youthful sound, but already with an incisive quality surely indicative of the direction in which his career would progress.

We thought collectors would want to hear Victor Maurel’s very rare take of ‘Era la notte’. This is take 2, whereas most reissues on LP or CD have used take 3. He is in slightly croakier voice here, but the long, dreamy mezza voce of ‘Desdemona soave! Il nostro amor s’asconda’ is sustained even more magically than on the third take. Collectors will compare the two versions for themselves. It was just a pity that there was not enough room on the CD to include both takes side by side.

Sydney Rayner is represented by three of his rare Sonabels. He was never a subtle singer and rarely modulated the voice, but the forthright, rock-solid technique and the sensational top are qualities to admire. The two Tosca arias are very well sung, while ‘Canta pe’ me’ shows him in a more relaxed mood. He brings a touch of real Mediterranean sunshine to this lovely song.

Perceval Allen’s large discography is full of material unworthy of her great talent, so it is a pleasure to bring you these three Elektra recordings, which show her at her best. They are historically important as they were recorded less than three months after the première of the opera in Dresden. They are surely the first recordings of the new work and would hardly have sold in great numbers. Hence, they are of great rarity. They show a real dramatic soprano, with an incisive, brilliant tone and perfect attack. These three of the four excerpts that she recorded from the opera have never been reissued anywhere. What a pity that we simply couldn’t find the fourth!

Here are four examples of Dino Borgioli which demonstrate what an elegant, musical singer he was. The two acoustic Columbias are among the best versions of these arias. The two acetates show that he was still in fine voice some 30 years into his career and it is remarkable to note how little the voice has changed. The lovely Falconieri song was a favourite recital choice of the tenor and it is beautifully sung. The Matrimonio Segreto is rather backwardly recorded but well worth hearing. He was surely an artist to treasure.

Joseph Jamet, a bass of the first importance, was born in 1832 and is one of the oldest singers to have left his voice to posterity. This extremely rare disc is something of a curiosity, but there is enough tonal quality left for the ear of faith to reconstruct how he might have sounded in his prime.

Few would suggest that Gösta Björling was as gifted as his older brother Jussi. Yet it is an attractive voice, so reminiscent of Jussi’s, which he uses well. Because he was largely content to stay in Sweden he is not as well known as his famous sibling and, hence, fewer collectors know his recordings. They are well worth hearing.

I could not resist ending this CD as it began, with the voice of Pavel Lisitsian. The song is about the well-known story of Don Juan serenading an attractive young woman with the intention of casting his usual amorous spell. With such a voice, few maidens could resist!"