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Jussi Björling Rediscovered
Jussi Bjorling, Frederick Schauwecker
Jussi Björling Rediscovered
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1

Before there were the Three Tenors there was Jussi Björling, the great Swedish tenor who died in 1960 at the age of 49. His bright, sunny tone had a slight, emotion-laden tear in it that conveyed feeling as well as, or mor...  more »


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All Artists: Jussi Bjorling, Frederick Schauwecker
Title: Jussi Björling Rediscovered
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Release Date: 9/9/2003
Album Type: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 828765323123

Before there were the Three Tenors there was Jussi Björling, the great Swedish tenor who died in 1960 at the age of 49. His bright, sunny tone had a slight, emotion-laden tear in it that conveyed feeling as well as, or more than, any number of sobs and effects that other tenors use. His Carnegie Hall recital of September 24, 1955 has long been available; in addition, this CD features nine never-before released selections from that recital which either did not fit on the original LP or were omitted for some other reason. He can sing at any dynamic level, the voice is always secure, and his taste and musicianship, as always, are impeccable. I doubt we'll ever hear Tosti's Ideale sung more tenderly or "Che gelida manina" sung with such poetic abandon; the newly discovered Grieg, Sibelius, and Sjoberg songs are sung with an opera singer's--rather than a Lieder singer's--style, but it's doubtful anyone will complain. Björling fans should race to hear this; for those who came to opera after his heyday (or during the reign of other tenors), this will be a stunning ear-opener. A must have. --Robert Levine

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CD Reviews

A Jussi Bjorling 'discovery' to cherish forever
Joy Fleisig | New York, NY United States | 10/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The unforgettable Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling is most reknowned for his work in opera, but he was first and foremost a recitalist and he made regular appearances at Carnegie Hall. I am ecstatic to report that RCA has finally released - in its entirety - Bjorling's September 24, 1955 concert there as part of their 'ReDiscovered' series. Up until now only highlights have been available on a long out-of-print LP. Even by Bjorling's impossibly high standards, this concert is extraordinary, surpassing even the splendid (out of print?) 1958 Carnegie Hall recital released on RCA in 1991. No lover of Bjorling - or of the human voice - can afford to be without this CD. Bjorling possessed what is probably the most beautiful voice ever to come out of a human throat - a sweet, powerful, radiant sound with unbelievable high notes and an 'unshed tear' that makes anything he sings deeply affecting. What is even more important is how Bjorling uses this voice. His musicianship is astonishing, he pays deep attention to the texts, and he is capable of the most extraordinary level of nuance. He often scales down his heroic voice to delicate pianissimi, something many other singers either cannot or will not do in a space the size of Carnegie Hall. He sings in six languages (including excellent English!) and a dizzying variety of styles, moving with ease from a gentle ballad to a operatic tour-de-force. Ultimately, Bjorling is a poet and a storyteller, not just someone who emits gorgeous notes. The program is extremely generous - 25 selections including 10 encores (most announced by the tenor in his beautiful speaking voice), inserted between song sets as well as sung at the end. While Bjorling is still warming up during the first selection, 'Adelaide', and probably not even he could equal his unsurpassable 1939 recording, he is on superb form by the beginning of the Schubert group, highlighted by an appropriately quicksilver and sympathetic 'Die Forelle' (he was an avid fisherman!) and a 'Die Bose Farbe' full of rage, pain, resignation and tenderness. Moving to Strauss, Bjorling inhabits two kinds of ecstasy - the gentle seductiveness of 'Traum durch der Dammerung' and the explosive passion of 'Caecilia' . However, Bjorling is most himself in Scandinavian music, rarely more heartfelt than when singing in Swedish. Indeed, he is one of the singers most responsible for making the songs of Grieg and Sibelius popular and part of the standard recital repertoire. Although Bjorling sang many versions of 'Sav, sav susa', 'Svarta rosor', and 'Tonerna', these may well his finest on record. Two songs by Paolo Tosti - the sweetest, tenderest 'Ideale' imaginable and a blazing 'L'alba separa della luce ombra' - are better than many versions by native Italians. And what a special treat 'Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair' is! Singing with complete simplicity and sincerity and gorgeous legato, Bjorling actually makes us hear the night wind sigh and the rain sob. And of course, what would a Bjorling recital be without plenty of opera? This is probably the only time he ever sang 'Il mio tesoro'- a pity as his superb breath control makes the difficult runs look easy and his Don Ottavio could never be a 'musical nitwit'. Actually, many of the arias sung here are from operas that Bjorling unfortunately never sung on stage or even recorded in their entirety. He gives a lesson in French style in the Flower Song from 'Carmen' and the Dream from 'Manon', sings 'Come un bel di di maggio' with appropriately poetic abandon (what a pity we can't have his Improvviso as well!), and thrills in his favorite encore aria 'Amor ti vieta'. Cavaradossi and Rodolfo are no less wonderful for being known quantities. The piece de resistance, though, is the jaw-dropping 'Addio alla madre' from 'Cavalleria Rusticana', which makes mincemeat of accusations that Bjorling was a 'cold' singer who 'had no passion' and 'couldn't act'! Frederick Schauwecker was Bjorling's main accompanist for his American tours and one of his best friends; their rapport is evident. He matches his singer for high drama, but isn't quite as effective in some of the quieter and subtler selections. I suspect this is less his fault than the fact that (at least on my equipment) there is a lot of feedback on loud piano notes even at medium volume, making him sound more ham-fisted than he undoubtedly was. Prior to working with Bjorling, Schauwecker had played for several noted singers including Giovanni Martinelli and Richard Crooks. Piano feedback aside, the sound is clear and present, if not as warm as I remember the LP being; this recital could have been sung yesterday. The audience is understandably ecstatic - so much that the recording engineers had to cut some of the applause in order so that the entire concert could fit on one disc. Actually, there are a few moments where I wish the audience would have let Bjorling FINISH his selection before breaking into a rapturous response! The CD comes in an beautifully produced, ecologically sound digipak. Full texts and translations are included, as well as a fine essay on both singer and recital by my favorite Bjorling expert, Cantor Don Goldberg, comments from the reissue producer, photos, and reminiscences from fans who were at the concert. Forty-three years after his death, Jussi Bjorling continues to thrill and inspire new generations of opera lovers and singers. For this reason, I call upon RCA to issue on CD everything left from their Bjorling LPs, especially his final August 1960 concert, with a Swedish-language 'In fernem land' which surpasses any other version in ANY language. There will always be room for 'new' Bjorling, and there are still untold numbers of people who are waiting to discover - and rediscover - what great singing is all about."
Jussi in recital
Kristian Krogholm | Norway | 10/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For the listener who thinks that The Three Tenors is good singing, this recital with Jussi Björling will come as a breadth of fresh air. When critics all over the world should vote for the best singer of the 20th Century it came as no surprise that Björling was ranked first in most of the polls. Björlings vocal splendour has simply got no true rival. By the mid-1950`s, Björlings voice had grown more powerful compared to 3 or 4 years earlier. But he could still sing a sublime pianissimo. His voice was still perfectly focused at any level. Corelli and del Moncaco had more volume in the middle register. But when Björling launches his high notes, there is more projective power,more beauty and tonal intensity compared to any other tenor in recorded history. Björlings voice had an incredible rich spectrum of overtones, and only a trifle too much of digital remastering can take that quality away. Still, the sound is generally quite good thanks to the use of the original tapes as source of transferring. "Jeanie with the light brown hair" will open the heart of any listener. And listen to the lieder section, what musicality and what impeccable good taste. Many thanks to RCA and the people involved who made that divine voice come alive once more."
Frederick's Understatement.
H. L. Clark | Broad Run, VA USA | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It was 50 years ago that I met and fell in love with
the accompanist at the voice studio where I studied
for love of singing (i.e., mine was a modest voice).
She in turn introduced me to some of the great singers
then active, or who came through, Chicago. And also, her
own teachers and colleagues, including Dr. Rudolf Ganz and
Frederick Schauwecker. One day, when the topic of melody
came up, Dr Ganz suggested that all piano students should
hear Jussi Bjoerling deliver legato melody. And when Lynn
asked Mr. Shauwecker, who little praised anyone, even a client,
how Jussi did on the trip they were just back from, she was
astonished to hear him grudgingly admit that "Jussi is singing
like an angel. It can't possibly continue at such a level, even
for him." It didn't. As we found out a couple of weeks later
when we heard this recital live, it didn't "continue", it got
better. At the time I found it the greatest listening experience
of my life. Today, 50 years later, it still is. Whatever vocal
records you have by anyone, this is better. There are no equals.
"Like an angel" is one of Frederick's understatements."