Now, as if laying down the pick ax in favor of digital tools, Sony has dug deeper and more purposefully to recover a glittering lode of recordings, issued under the title Masterworks Heritage. The 18 releases offered so far reach back to ''the first recordings of opera in America,'' as the old Columbia Phonograph Co. But such genuine antiquities hardly define Masterworks Heritage, which boasts a wealth of vocal and instrumental restorations extending through the early electrical era to the monophonic beginnings of the LP and on into stereo sound.
Each album is itself a small treasury. Instead of the familiar CD jewel boxes, the new disks are presented in folding cardboard sleeves with reproductions of cover art from the original 78's and LP's. For another bit of charming nostalgia, original record labels are replicated on the CD's. In addition to archival photos and excerpts from original liner notes, the series includes new annotations as well as detailed information about recording dates and personnel.
Although digital conversion Ritorna Vincitor - Eileen Farrell - Verdi Arias (Vinyl older recordings to CD has been common practice throughout the industry for a long time and the results have often been good, the Sony venture entails exceptionally stringent Ritorna Vincitor - Eileen Farrell - Verdi Arias (Vinyl and standards.
For recordings made before the advent of magnetic tape, Ritorna Vincitor - Eileen Farrell - Verdi Arias (Vinylthe Sony team, led by the producer Thomas Frost, has gone back to pristine sources: rare surviving metal masters, lacquer disks produced directly in recording sessions or mint-condition shellac pressings.
The meticulous care lavished on this project is audible at every turn, and Mr. Frost's decision to leave in whooshes and swishes where their removal might steal air and life from the recording also proves wise.
While the opera set MH2K ; two CD's scarcely approaches the dead quiet of a modern production, one senses the presence and connects intimately with the art of singers like Marcella Sembrich, Ernestine Schumann-Heink and Giuseppe Campanari.
That remarkable package affords delightful insights into the early days of recording on several levels. In the beginning, it seems, producers were not content with mere music and very colorful annotations.
Each number is introduced by a pitchman, hollering into a large recording horn: ''Cavatina from 'Faust,' sung by Signor Campanari, Columbia Records. The style of early program notes is long gone, too. Sony faithfully, not to say mirthfully, reproduces a booklet of artist profiles provided with the sampler. Not shy about promoting its wondrous new technology, Columbia printed letters from its artists on the quality of these first recordings. And that awe-struck tribute of aught-three, fitted to a more modern standard, applies to Mr.
Frost's restorative efforts here and in six other vocal disks in the series. Kipnis sings Handel's ''Al senti stringo e parto'' from the opera ''Ariodante'' in without a thought to period ''authenticity. That clarity and presence, not just of voice but also of persona, prevail as well in a collection of opera arias and Brazilian songs recorded in the 's by the soprano Bidu Sayao MHK Frost's sonic legerdemain captures the brilliance and vulnerability of Ms.
Sayao's art. Two disks recall singers who reached their primes in the early years of the LP, just before the advent of stereo sound: the bass George London and the soprano Eleanor Steber. Neither there nor in the Steber reissue MHK does one feel the distance of years. Minnespiel, Op. Romances and Ballades iv, Op, LP).
What child is this? Festgesang "Hark! Aida: Ritorna vincitor! Il Ritorna Vincitor - Eileen Farrell - Verdi Arias (Vinyl Tacea la notte placida Missa solemnis in D major, Op. Un ballo in maschera: T'eco io sto Nell, Op. Clair de lune, Op. Fantastic set! I have always loved Farrell, one of my favorites along with Frida Leider and Dieskau--this was a great price and a great collection- her later torch songs etc are here as is the Xmas cd-thank you Arkiv--keep up the grand work!
If you are in doubt--buy it!!!!
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