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Lebendige Vergangenheit - Robert Merrill


Release Date: 09/26/2000 
Label:  Preiser Records   Catalog #: 89501   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiCharles GounodAmbroise ThomasJules Massenet,   ... 
Performer:  Robert MerrillDorothy Kirsten
Conductor:  Frieder WeissmannJean Paul MorelErich LeinsdorfRuss Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony OrchestraRuss Case Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These recordings, mostly made soon after Merrill’s debut, show his voice at its freshest, while the [song] songs are especially characterful.

This, you might think, is not really Preiser’s territory, being from the States and post-war. Still, all are from 78rpm originals and the singing is fine, so why not? Robert Merrill has a special place in that distinguished line of American baritones represented in early days by Lawrence Tibbett and now pre-eminently by Thomas Hampson. With the smoothest legato line and the most Italianate quality, Merrill was always a joy to hear simply as a singer. In these records, made, most of them, shortly after his debut at the Metropolitan in 1945, the voice is at its freshest. On that
Read more occasion he sang Germont pere in La traviata, his ‘Di Provenza’ admired very justly if, as seems likely, it was sung then as it is here.

Admittedly, his expressiveness had limits. In this aria he is gently solicitous, just as in the middle section of Hamlet’s Drinking Song he is mildly sad, and in the rest of it moderately Bacchic. His performances are not eventful, so that the A-B-A form of Valentin’s air in Faust is purely formal, and the complex of emotions within Gerard in Andrea Chenier could hardly be guessed at. Even so, as they used to say at the Met where he played such an equable Scarpia that one critic thought he might join in the applause after Tosca’s ‘Vissi d’arte’, such a voice can compensate for almost anything. Moreover, his singing had its own scrupulous standards. Compare him, say, with Titta Ruffo in arias from L’africaine, Andrea Chenier and Zaza, and there is no doubt that while Ruffo has the character as well as the cavernous resources, it is Merrill, who offers the finer singing-line and the more satisfying note-values.

-- John Steane, Gramophone [8/2000]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
La traviata: Dite alla giovine by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Frieder Weissmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/08/1946 
Language: Italian 
2.
La traviata: Di Provenza il mar by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/21/1946 
Language: Italian 
3.
Faust: Avant de quitter ces lieux by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Language: French 
4.
Hamlet: O vin dissipe la tristesse by Ambroise Thomas
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 
Date of Recording: 05/21/1946 
Language: French 
5.
Hérodiade: Vision fugitive by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
Date of Recording: 05/21/1946 
Language: French 
6.
L'Africaine: Adamastor, roi des vagues by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; France 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1946 
Language: Italian 
7.
Les contes d'Hoffmann: Scintille diamant by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Language: French 
8.
Carmen: Votre toast je peu vous le rendre "Toreador Song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 05/29/1946 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1873 - 1874). 
9.
Thaïs: Te souvient-il du lumineux voyage by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Dorothy Kirsten (Soprano), Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Date of Recording: 01/14/1947 
Language: French 
10.
Andrea Chénier: Nemico della patria by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1946 
Language: Italian 
11.
Naughty Marietta: Ah! Sweet mystery of life by Victor Herbert
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
12.
Naughty Marietta: I'm Falling in Love with Someone by Victor Herbert
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
13.
Sylvia by Oley Speaks
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
14.
Trees by Oscar Rasbach
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1931 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: Italian 
15.
Always by Irving Berlin
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
16.
Jonah and the whale by Traditional
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: MacGimsey 
17.
Down to the rivah by Traditional
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: MacGimsey 
18.
Zazà: Zazà, piccola zingara by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/03/1947 
Language: Italian 
19.
Der Zarewitsch: Herz, warum schlägst du so bang by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Russ Case
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russ Case Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1927; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Language: English 
20.
Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/03/1947 
Language: Italian 

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