V2385. SHURA GEHRMAN, w.Nina Walker (Pf.): Songs by Schubert (incl.'Schwanengesang'). (England) Nimbus 5022. Final Copy!
“Shura Gehrman (Alexander Labinsky) was a founder of Nimbus Records. As a vanity project, he had Nimbus issue several discs of his own singing. They are incredibly bad, hopelessly amateurish singing, delivered with over-the-top histrionics. At its best, it's funny in the same way as Florence Foster Jenkins, at its worst it's painful.”
- Stephen Whitaker
“Count Alexander Numa Labinsky began his career as a nightclub performer in the 1940's but went on to concert singing. Using the name Shura Gehrman, he worked with many artists, including Kathleen Ferrier and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and gave the premiere of Ibert's ‘Don Quixote’ songs. He performed regularly for the BBC, and recorded songs of Schubert, Fauré and others.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 3 Feb., 1994
“Many in the record industry remember the Russian count, Numa Labinsky, who founded Nimbus in a Welsh castle with the aim of enshrining an authentic style of singing. Under the pseudonym Shura Gehrman, he sang on three releases whose jackets proclaimed his 'astonishing command of vocal technique’. To hear Numa smear his way around a Schubert song was treat enough, but to experience his Arie Antiche sung entirely in falsetto ran some way beyond the surreal: he could not, one felt, be serious.”
- Norman Lebrecht, 31 Aug., 2005
“Bass singer Shura Gehrman was really Count Alexander Numa Labinsky, one of the primary founders of NIMBUS RECORDS in England. Labinsky/Gehrman was responsible for many of the actually excellent-sounding ‘Ambisonic’ historical vocal records that were ‘re-recorded’ on HUGE horns in the Weyastone Studios of Nimbus. Some like the discs, others detest them. I have a huge number of them and, largely, like them, especially when used on the radio. Gerhman died in 1994 and was known to be a serious scholar of voices and vocal technique. And so, Mr. Labinsky/Gehrman recorded antique songs and arias, lots of lieder (mostly Schubert) some French material, etc.
The reasons for Mr. Labinsky taking the name Shura Gehrman was so that he could be conceived as a serious singer, not a record producer who made recordings of his own voice (which he did, of course). (How different is that from Walter Legge of EMI producing the recordings of his wife, soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf). Of course, that's a not a fair comparison. Schwarzkopf was an internationally recognized opera and lieder singer, though I was not always totally enamoured with her vocal production.”
Lance G. Hill, The Classical Music Guide