WORKS: Songs & arias by Mozart, Verdi, Bishop, Foster, Yradier, Tosti
PERFORMER: Adelina Patti (soprano), Victor Maurel (baritone)
CATALOGUE NO: 52011-2 ADD mono
Among Marston’s trademark sets devoted to complete segments of a performer’s recorded output are the completion of an edition of MARCELLA SEMBRICH’s Victor recordings, the complete ADELINA PATTI AND VICTOR MAUREL, and the entire recorded legacy of the first Turandot, ROSA RAISA.
Although it’s undeniably convenient to have all the recordings of a performer in one place, there’s something hollow about hearing them in bulk. While revelling in Patti’s richly stylish elucidation of Tosti’s ‘La Serenata’ and Raisa’s high-spirited and vocally resourceful ‘Kalinka’, I wondered how we modern listeners can regain the patience to hear individual titles in such large collections with the detailed attention and hopeful eagerness one was required to extend toward them when they were distributed, heard and assimilated singly.
Hearing them end to end acquaints one with the stylistic fingerprints and overall expressive profile of the performer in question, and I can confirm that one needs to live with the full range of Raisa’s recordings for some time before being able to hear the tone and temperament behind the sometimes uninspiring sound of her voice as recorded.
But I would suggest that those who made the original recordings were attempting to turn out jewels, not pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It would be foolish and ungrateful to object to Marston’s admirable modus operandi, but experiencing the keenest pleasure these recordings can provide demands that we come to the titles one by one – a discipline difficult to cultivate when the whole story can seemingly be heard in a sitting or two.