After the death of Caruso in 1921, Count John McCormack was to become the next tenor superstar – his record sales even outstripping those of Caruso’s.
Pianist Gerald Moore commented that McCormack disliked over-rehearsing or doing retakes in the recording studio, preferring the honesty of live performance. McCormack’s recorded legacy reveals an artist who combined an immaculate technique with spontaneity; charm with humility. It was his gift to communicate the very essence of a text – be it Italian opera or Irish ballad – that made his appeal so universal. In the words of US critic Max de Schauensee, ‘He could tell a story. He could paint pictures.’
In his own words: ‘I like to go jumping about in my life, as the whim takes me. I don’t believe in all this pedantic arranging of things in order.’
Greatest recording: John McCormack Icon of An Age/The Anthology (DVD) Eureka! JMC8445 (4 discs)