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The Stars Were Shining Vol 3 / Lawrence, Brice, Crooks, Tagliavini, Pinza, Tokatyan, Et Al


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Symposium   Catalog #: 1369   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Christoph W. GluckGeorge Frideric HandelEasthope MartinGaetano Donizetti,   ... 
Performer:  Carol BriceNina KoshetzFerruccio TagliaviniArmand Tokatyan,   ... 
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE STARS WERE SHINING, VOLUME III Carol Brice; 1 Richard Crooks; 2 Marina Koshetz; 3 Marjorie Lawrence; 4 Robert Merrill; 5 Ezio Pinza; 6 Ferruccio Tagliavini; 7 Pia Tassinari; 8 Read more class="ARIAL12"> John Charles Thomas; 9 Armand Tokatyan; 10 Various accompaniments SYMPOSIUM 1369, mono (77:34)


COWARD Conversation Piece: I’ll follow my secret heart. 3,5 DONIZETTI L’elisir d’amore: Una furtiva lagrima. 2, 7 FRANZ Widmung. 9 GLUCK Alceste: Divinités du Styx. 4 HANDEL Serse: Ombra mai fu. 1, 6 MARTIN Come to the fair. 1 MASSENET Manon: En fermant les yeux; 7 Nous vivrons à Paris. 7,8 MEYERBEER L’africaine: O paradiso. 7 PUCCINI La bohème: Che gelida manina. 7 RACHMANINOFF O cease thy singing, maiden fair. 3 How fair this spot. 3 SCHUBERT Ave Maria. 10 SCOTT Annie Laurie. 9 SEAVER Remember me. 6 TATA-NACHO Tengo nostalgia de ti. 10 THOMAS Le caïd: La tambour-major. 6 VERDI Don Carlo: Per me giunto. 9 La traviata: Parigi o cara 7,8


The album title’s pun refers to the stars and near-stars of opera displaying their skill on radio or armed forces broadcasts in the 1940s, when networks still foolishly believed listeners enjoyed high culture added to pop entertainment. (Nowadays they know that everybody wants their Brittany Spears undiluted.) The vicissitudes of live media at the time meant little if any time for rehearsal with a usually unfamiliar conductor and orchestra, on a live microphone that was unforgiving of minor blemishes, illnesses, or distractions. Yet fine performances took place by seasoned troupers, who were applauded for arias, classical songs, and pop tunes alike.


The best of the lot is without question the pair of Rachmaninoff songs featuring the sadly forgotten Marina Koshetz. (Her mother, Nina Koshetz, is still well known in vocal archival circles for a recorded series of Rachmaninoff songs made after her prime—also long after both her affair with the composer, and her numerous recitals with him.) Rapt intensity, a distinctive timbre, attention to dynamics, strong breath control, a willingness to “take stage,” an ability to phrase both musically and with great attention to word values—all this she offers. The first of the pair, O cease thy singing, maiden fair , is freer, being in the soprano’s native Russian, while the second loses a bit from its over-studied English enunciation (also affecting an otherwise good duet from Coward’s Conversation Piece with Robert Merrill), but both are excellent examples of this singer’s art.


With four arias and two duets, Ferruccio Tagliavini receives the largest portion of material on this album. He did not make as big a splash on the international operatic scene in the late 1940s as did Giuseppe di Stefano, but his Gigli-like timbre and innate musicality were very welcome in Italian opera houses and in the Cetra recording studios. He also possessed some of Gigli’s faults: occasional crooning, swooping, a few clipped phrase endings, and sometimes a slightly huffed syllable added before launching a phrase. All this can be heard in his V Disc of “Che gelida manina,” along with a melting pianissimo, ringing high notes, and good cantabile. His “Una furtiva lagrima” has a lovingly floated tone and stylish bel canto . “En fermant les yeux” (sung in the original French) is a bit sloppy but otherwise fine, while “Parigi o cara,” sung with his wife, Pia Tassinari, is better still, with the tenor on his considerable best vocal behavior.


Metropolitan Opera regulars John Charles Thomas and Richard Crooks were mainstays on radio’s live weekly variety shows at that time. Thomas had a pleasingly deep baritone, with a good range and plenty of volume. He was also a ham—not to put too fine a point on it; he sang full out most of the time, and possessed a rudimentary by-the-syllable enunciation of Italian. Crooks was a lyrical tenor who offered far more refinement, both in understanding what he was singing and in the use of his elegant voice to make his points. The first verse of his “Una furtiva lagrima” is phrased well but sung with unvarying tone; then you can literally hear him begin to move into the music with the second verse—and the conductor repeatedly hesitating ever so slightly, trying to follow (and doing a fair job of it) as the singer began to expect more of his accompaniment.


Towards the end of his operatic career, Ezio Pinza made numerous appearances on radio in the United States. His vocal resonance in the mid 1940s was still rich enough, the breath support still strong, and the voice recognizably his own and none other. Here he delivers a rock solid if unsubtle “Ombra mai fu,” and a more varied version of Blanche Ebert Seaver’s Remember Me . His “Le tambour-major tout galonne” is fun, though this was both before and after stylistic periods that would have correctly applied appoggiaturas in the slower, introductory section. The coloratura is a little heavy, but accurate.


Tokatyan’s voice sounds a bit hard on the pair of 1948 recordings offered here, not surprisingly, as he had made his debut in 1921 and would retire later that year. His version of Schubert’s Ave Maria , with loud, wordless chorus, has enough sugar to make one’s teeth ache, but the Tengo nostalgia de ti possesses a measure of stylishness, especially in the second verse.


Finally, Marjorie Lawrence has both the grand manner and voice to do justice to “Divinités du Styx,” but I’ve never been a fan of Carol Brice’s poor enunciation and curiously light contralto. (Her dedication, intelligence, and musicality are not in doubt.)


A few brief interviews from these radio shows are included, though they are entirely scripted, and poorly read. The pair of announcements by Tagliavini were probably provided on this disc for humorous purposes, since it’s readily apparent he didn’t know English at the time. Sound quality is understandably variable, given the mix of sources and conditions of preservation, but none show more than moderate surface wear and the occasional pre- or post-echo. No filtering is applied, as is typical on all Symposium releases. Fans of any of these singers will treasure this collection, while the Koshetz is a stunner. Recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Alceste: Divinités du Styx by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Carol Brice (Mezzo Soprano), Nina Koshetz (Soprano), Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor),
Armand Tokatyan (Tenor), John Charles Thomas (Baritone), Marjorie Lawrence (Soprano),
Richard Crooks (Tenor), Ezio Pinza (Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2.
Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Ezio Pinza (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3.
Come to the Fair by Easthope Martin
Performer:  Carol Brice (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4.
L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
5.
Songs (6), Op. 4: no 4, Sing not to me, beautiful maiden by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Marina Koshetz (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
6.
Songs (12), Op. 21: no 7, How fair this spot by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone), Marina Koshetz (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
7.
Conversation Piece: I'll Follow My Secret Heart by Noel Coward
Performer:  Marina Koshetz (Soprano), Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
8.
La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
9.
Manon: Instant charmant...En fermant les yeux "Dream of des Grieux" by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
10.
L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
11.
Manon: Nous vivrons à Paris! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Pia Tassinari (Soprano), Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
12.
La traviata: Parigi, o cara by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Pia Tassinari (Soprano), Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
13.
Le caïd: Enfant chéri...Le tambour-major tout galonné "Drum Major's Aria" by Ambroise Thomas
Performer:  Ezio Pinza (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
14.
Remember me by Blanche Ebert Seaver
Performer:  Ezio Pinza (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
15.
Gesänge (6), Op. 14: no 1, Widmung by Robert Franz
Performer:  John Charles Thomas (Baritone)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1860; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
16.
Annie Laurie by Lady John Douglas Scott
Performer:  Donald Voorhees (Baritone), John Charles Thomas (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
17.
Don Carlos: Per me giunto è il dì supremo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  John Charles Thomas (Baritone)
Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Paris, France (03/11/1867).
Composition revised: Naples, Italy (1872).
Composition revised: La Scala Opera House, Milan, Italy (01/10/1884). 
18.
Ellens Gesang III, D 839/Op. 52 no 6 "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Armand Tokatyan (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
19.
Tango nostalgia de ti by Tata Nacho
Performer:  Armand Tokatyan (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Alceste (Sung in French): Alceste: Divinites du Styx (Sung in French)
Serse (Xerxes), HWV 40: Act I: Ombra mai fu, "Largo"
Come to the Fair
L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love): Act III: Una furtiva lagrima
6 Songs, Op. 4 (text by A. Fet and A. Pushkin): 6 Songs, Op. 4: No. 4. Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne (Sing not to me, beautiful maiden)
Interview with Robert Merrill
12 Songs, Op. 21: No. 7. Zdes' khorosho (How Fair this Spot)
Interview with Robert Merrill
Conversation Piece: I'll follow my secret heart
Announcement
La boheme: Act I: Che gelida manina
Announcement
L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love): Act III: Una furtiva lagrima
Manon: Act II: En fermant les yeux
L' Africaine (The African Maid) (Sung in Italian): L'Africaine (The African Maid), Act IV: O paradiso (Sung in Italian)
Manon: Act I: Nous vivrons a Paris
La traviata: Act III: Parigi, o cara
Serse (Xerxes), HWV 40: Act I: Ombra mai fu, "Largo"
Le Caid: Act I: Le tambour-major
Remember Me
6 Songs, Op. 14: No. 1. Widmung
Interview
Annie Laurie
Don Carlos: Act IV: Per me giunto
Ellens Gesang III (Ave Maria!), Op. 52, No. 6, D. 839, "Hymne an die Jungfrau": Ellens Gesang III (Ave Maria!), Op. 56, No. 6, D. 839, "Hymne an die Jungfrau"
Tango nostalgia de ti

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