Viennese delicacies from singers of the past.
John Austin | Kangaroo Ground, Australia | 10/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Record catalogues in the 1930s contained a rich selection of Viennese operetta excerpts. Peter Dempsey has assembled 20 of them on this invaluable CD, has provided authoritative notes, and somehow contrived to bring them to us in better sound than I have ever heard them before. It is wonderful to have the original balance and individual acoustics preserved, while having all the surface noise wiped off. You will hear the sweet-voiced Charles Kullman in Johann Strauss firstly, complete with backing chorus and a thrilling high C at the end of his Zigeunerbaron aria. Elisabeth Schumann whoops and trills and whistles her way through two excerpts, and Richard Tauber shares the microphone with a schmalzy violin and throbbing zither in the Operball excerpt. Tauber is also heard in the only excerpt recorded in Vienna, a duet from Giuditta where the conductor is Lehar himself. Some of the rarer records of Julius Patzak, Anni Frind and Franz Volker are especially welcome. The Belgian tenor Marcel Wittrisch is heard in three excerpts, and rightly so. His special way with the Grafin Mariza tenor aria is one of the highlights here, and this track is also one of the best pieces of restoration work.I hope this indicates that interested shoppers who add this CD to their cart will have the time of their lives with this issue. In amongst a cart full of historical reissues I purchased recently it has been the prizewinner."