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Jussi Bjorling In Song


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1427   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Henry Ernest GeehlRuggero LeoncavalloErnesto De CurtisEmil Sjögren,   ... 
Performer:  Jussi BjörlingFrederick Schauwecker
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Jussi Björling fans will be interested in this for its inclusion of some previously unreleased, unreleased-on-CD, or just plain hard to find selections. Many of the songs were staples of Björling's recitals and thus are available in numerous incarnations from different dates and places. However, the most remarkable tracks--for their surprisingly clear sound and the warm, already-commanding presence of Björling's young voice--are two "test" recordings made in September, 1929, when the tenor was only 18. These songs--Henry Geehl's "For you alone" and Leoncavallo's "Mattinata"--were performed and recorded many times throughout Björling's career, but the freshness of the vocalism and the Read more luminous, golden tone so familiar from the singer's later appearances on stage and disc are fully evident here. (According to the notes, these two tracks were discovered in the EMI archives by Historic Masters Ltd., a company devoted to preserving and reissuing 78rpm recordings on vinyl; the company's managing director, Stanley Henig, claims that the two songs--performed with piano accompaniment--were "the very first recordings made by Björling as an adult" and were likely forgotten because of commercial recordings of the same songs with orchestra made a few months later.)

The only aria included here is "Je crois entendre encore" from The Pearl Fishers--and there's a discrepancy between the notes and the actual track information, which (along with listening) confirms this to be the same version that was released in 1993 on EMI Références Opera Arias & Songs, Vol. 2. Testament's transfer of the 1945 studio recording presents Björling in brighter voice, but otherwise the two tracks are equally listenable and the performance is a highlight of the disc.

The five Schubert songs, which, along with others by Grieg, Sibelius, Wolf, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Tosti, Strauss, and Sjöberg are from a 1952 recording that previously existed on LP, are a mixed bag, ranging from somewhat awkward-sounding ("Die Forelle") to heart-rendingly lovely ("Ständchen"); Wolf's "Verborgenheit" is another gem (interesting for Björling's drastic slowing of the tempo from Frederick Schauwecker's piano introduction!); likewise, Strauss' "Morgen" receives the tenor's full measure of interpretive feeling and sensitivity to phrasing, giving the song one of the most affecting performances you'll ever hear.

My only disappointment is that on my copy of this generously programmed (nearly 80 minutes) CD, the final track--Tosti's "Ideale"--was defective and wouldn't play all the way through. Fortunately, Björling recorded this song many times, and indeed you can hear it and the majority of these 26 selections in other incarnations on various releases, from the EMI disc mentioned above to Nimbus' Prima Voce Björling Vol. 2 to RCA/BMG's excellent 1958 recital recording, Jussi Björling at Carnegie Hall (also featuring pianist Frederick Schauwecker). But it goes without further comment that Björling fans will want/need/be unable to live without this essential addition to the great tenor's discography.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. For you alone by Henry Ernest Geehl
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 1929 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
2. Mattinata by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1929 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
3. Torna a Surriento by Ernesto De Curtis
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
4. I drömmen di är mig nära by Emil Sjögren
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
5. Vita rosor by August Körling
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Sweden 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
6. Das Veilchen von Montmartre: Das Veilchen von Montmartre by Emmerich Kálmán
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
7. Ack Värmeland, du sköna by Traditional
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Written: Sweden 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
8. Allt under himmelens fäste by Traditional
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Written: Sweden 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
9. Les pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
10. Die Forelle, D 550 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
11. Die Allmacht, D 852 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 48 Secs. 
12. Schwanengesang, D 957: no 4, Ständchen by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
13. Wandrers Nachtlied, D 768/Op. 96 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
14. Die schöne Müllerin, D 795/Op. 25: no 17, Die böse Farbe by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
15. Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, S 314 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
16. Mörike Lieder: no 12, Verborgenheit by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
17. Songs (6), Op. 25: no 2, A swan by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Norway 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: Norwegian 
18. Songs (6), Op. 48: no 6, Ein Traum by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Norway 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
19. Lieder (6), Op. 17: no 2, Ständchen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1887; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
20. Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
21. Songs (6), Op. 36: no 1, Black roses by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Finland 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
22. Songs (12), Op. 21: no 5, Lilacs by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Language: English 
23. Romanze (2): no 1, Ideale by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1882 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
24. Songs (4), Op. 43: no 2, Die Mainacht by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
25. Tonerna by Carl Sjöberg
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
26. Songs (12), Op. 21: no 5, Lilacs by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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