Excellent documentation of little known singer at her best
Joseph A. Zannieri | Norwalk, OH USA | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe I'm not the most objective reviewer of Merriman, because I am a fan. I have her 1946 "El Amor Brujo" with Stokowski on 78's, and it is burned forever in my skull. The records in this set were made between 1943 and 1949, with one exception made in 1957. They are radio shows, and records that were made on disc masters, with the one exception from 1957. They suffer from the technical defects of the old disc master process, with limited high frequency response and noticeable surface noise. However, the transfers are very good. They made what I think were the right choices. I compared the excerpts from "El Amor Brujo" here with my 78's and they are excellent. Though the surface noise is noticeable, the impact and clarity of the original recordings are well preserved. The liner notes, translated from German, are well researched, and they provide a good analysis of the refined vocal quality and excellent craftsmanship that made Merriman a darling of Stokowski and Toscanini. Merriman is sometimes criticised for having a "light" voice and for being insufficiently "dramatic", but I do not find a basis for those criticisms here. In the excerpts from "Carmen", for example, she makes heat like a blowtorch, effectively presenting the "hot and nasty" aspect of the character without going over the top. The excerpts from "El Amor Brujo" also ooze sensuality. This is an excellent document of Merriman, both in broadcasts and on records, from the period when she was well known in the U. S., before she went to Europe and turned herself into a Dutch diva. I'm glad I bought it."