V2509. THE RECORD COLLECTOR - 2015 Issue, incl. Eidé Noréna, Mihaly Székely, Bessie Abott, Maurice d'Oisly, Johannes Sembach, Liselotte Ammermann, Eleanora de Cisneros, Armida Parsi-Pettinella, Galliano Masini & Joseph Schmidt. (England) The Record Collector TRC 43, recorded 1907-50, partially first time on CD. Transfers by Norman White.
"What treasures lie in the records of Eidé Noréna. These have hardly ever been reissued. We begin with her exquisite 'Nymphes et Sylvains', familiar from Melba's recording. Here are encapsulated all of Norena's virtues: pin-point accuracy, perfect tuning and great skill in coloratura, all wedded to a very beautiful voice. The 1911 Les Huguenots aria, one of the very rare Norwegian 78s, shows the unfinished singer, before her studies with von zur Mühlen in London.
The records of Mihaly Szekely are little known in the West, even though he enjoyed a very long career in Budapest, Europe and at the Met. His Entführung recordings are among his best, showing a massive voice and his renowned organ-stop lower register. Yet, he could soften the voice to a cooing mezza voce in 'Heidenroslein': a lovely example of his skill in lieder.
Johannes Sembach is neglected by collectors, possibly because his most easily encountered records are his dimly-recorded Columbias of 1916/17. Here are two of his earlier Grammophon recordings, showing an attractive, flicker vibrato and a powerful middle register. His singing is full of nuance, showing a great intelligence at work. Few will be prepared for the superb, very rare electric Clangor records, made after more than thirty-years of career. The voice is still in superb condition. His 'Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!' is agonising in its intensity. For me it is one of the great recordings of this aria. Equally magnificent is the duet, with the wonderful Liselotte Ammermann, a superb Leonore and a real find.
Armida Parsi-Pettinella is another neglected artist, yet hers was an important international career. Here is one of the finest performances of 'O mio Fernando' on disc. The voice is impassioned and thrilling in its fearless handling of this difficult aria. I am especially fond of the arioso 'Son la vecchia Madelon', which was her last recording. Here, in this simple melody, she cleverly paints a picture of her despair, having lost her son. She still sounds in fine voice, even though she was beginning to wind down what had been a great career.
The recordings of Bessie Abott are disappointing and have rarely been reissued. Here are two of her best records for you, the listener, to decide for yourself. No mere coloratura she, here is a lyric soprano with a fine technique, but there is a pervading dullness to her singing. There is little sparkle, little verve in the tone and she usually eschews the highest notes. Perhaps she simply felt uncomfortable before the recording horn.
Galliano Masini's records have been reissued complete. Yet, we had to bring you one, as a reminder of this fine artist. His 'Se Franz dicesse il vero' is one of the great records, sung with spine-tingling intensity demonstrating how his was among the finest tenor voices of the 20th century. The way he easily eschews the difficulty of these long lines, many constantly around the passaggio, is quite thrilling.
Eleanora De Cisneros was a patrician singer, of great versatility with a superb technique. She is neglected possibly because, apart from her few, dull-sounding Columbias, most of her recordings were made by the hill-and-dale method. Her versatility is demonstrated by an amazing recording of Brünnhilde's 'Hojotoho! Hojotoho!', sung fearlessly with great fire and intensity.
Nobody would argue that Maurice D'Oisly possessed a great voice, yet he was able to encompass both the lyric and some lirico-spinto roles. He easily encompasses the tessitura of Cavaradossi's first aria, which is deceivingly difficult to sing. For the second, he is joined by his wife, the lovely Rosina Buckman, in a satisfying rendering of the duet.
Finally, we are proud to bring you the first reissue, anywhere, of the newly-discovered radio transcription of Josef Schmidt's 'Postillonlied'. Readers will recall that this transcription ran out almost immediately after the tenor's top D has been cleverly reconstructed here, using the wonders of modern technology, to produce a complete performance With far more time to spread himself than on his commercial 10-in. (25 cm.) recording of the aria, Schmidt gives us a wonderful rendition of the aria, with superb trills, as written, at the end of each verse. When one thinks of some of the mouth-watering roles he performed on the radio but did not record (see the issue devoted to the tenor in Vol. 45, no. 1), we may dream that similar discoveries are still to be made!"
- Larry Lustig, THE RECORD COLLECTOR