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The Very Best Of Jussi Björling


Release Date: 04/22/2003 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 75900   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGaetano DonizettiAmilcare PonchielliUmberto Giordano,   ... 
Performer:  Jussi BjörlingHarry Ebert
Conductor:  Nils GrevilliusSir Thomas BeechamRenato Cellini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  OrchestraRoyal OrchestraStockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 35 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

But for one consideration, this would get a "run out and buy this" recommendation since Jussi Björling's name on the cover guarantees that the discs include some of the most glorious singing ever recorded. The problem is that Björling discs will be part of any self-respecting vocal collection. Therefore, such a collection already will include multiple versions of many, if not most, of the 44 selections here. Of course, this need not matter if you want his 1944 "Questo e quella" from Rigoletto or his 1945 "Ah, lève-toi soleil" from Roméo et Juliette, but only have his 1930 versions. They--and other repertoire duplications--are worth hearing, for the voice became more dense over time, the Read more fullness not detracting from the lyric freshness at all. His artistry deepened as well, drama and emotion conveyed through the voice alone, never toying with words and phrases. Björling often recorded Cavaradossi's two big arias from Tosca and another pair from La Bohème, but the ones in this set come from his last years, the Tosca from 1960, and Bohème from the Beecham recording circa 1956.


And there's material here that even seasoned collectors may not have--the Swedish "Silent Night" from 1959 or some American operetta songs sung in English. Some of the great tenor's familiar "hits", such as the Swedish national anthem or the duet from Don Carlo with Robert Merrill, aren't included, but other "very best" items like Beethoven's song, "Adelaide", and the incomparable "Au Mont Ida" from Offenbach's La Belle Helêne are.


So let's just revert to the obvious: this one's a must (with the caveat above). Be advised too, that Naxos' Great Singers series also is reissuing Björling. His opera and operetta recordings in Swedish are available on Naxos 8110722 in so-so transfers, and 8110701 has 23 opera arias in excellent restorations by Mark Obert-Thorn. Unlike Obert-Thorn though, EMI's unnamed transfer engineers apparently have a powerful aversion to 78rpm surface noise, so while such extraneous artifacts are absent from this set, they are replaced on some tracks by distortion on high notes and other unwanted side-effects of noise-suppression devices. It's nothing too serious, but the brightness can become wearing in extended listening at the higher volume necessary to reproduce the voice with body and color intact. [6/7/2003]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Rigoletto: Questa o quella by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1944 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Rigoletto: La donna è mobile by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1936 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
3.
Il trovatore: Ah si, ben mio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4.
Il trovatore: Di quella pira by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
5.
Un ballo in maschera: Di' tu se fedele by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
6.
Aida: Celeste Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1936 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: This selection begins with "Se quel guerrier io fossi !..." 
7.
Requiem Mass: Ingemisco by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1938 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
8.
L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
9.
La Gioconda: Cielo e mar by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Written: 1876 
Date of Recording: 1937 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
10.
Andrea Chénier: Come un bel dì di maggio by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1944 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
11.
Fedora: Amor ti vieta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1944 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
12.
L'Arlesiana: E la solita storia...Anch'io vorrei "Lamento" by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897/1937; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1947 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
13.
Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1948 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
14.
La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 8 Secs. 
15.
La Bohème: O Mimì, tu più non torni by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 24 Secs. 
16.
Tosca: Recondita armonia by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1950 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
17.
Tosca: E lucevan le stelle by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
18.
Turandot: Nessun dorma! by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
19.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Mamma, quel vino è generoso "Addio" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
20.
L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
21.
Faust: Salut! demeure chaste et pure by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
22.
Roméo et Juliette: Ange adorable [Madrigal] by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
23.
Roméo et Juliette: Ah! lève-toi, soleil by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
24.
Manon: Instant charmant...En fermant les yeux "Dream of des Grieux" by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
25.
Manon: Ah! fuyez, douce image by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Length: 4 Minutes 36 Secs. 
26.
Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: France (1873 - 1874). 
27.
Les pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
28.
Adelaide, Op. 46 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Harry Ebert (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
29.
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Harry Ebert (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
30.
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 2, Cäcilie by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Harry Ebert (Piano), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
31.
Songs (6), Op. 4: no 3, In the silence of the night by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1947 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
32.
Songs (12), Op. 21: no 5, Lilacs by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1947 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
33.
Romanze (2): no 1, Ideale by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1882 
Date of Recording: 1937 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
34.
'O sole mio by Eduardo Di Capua
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1937 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
35.
The Vagabond King: Only a rose by Rudolf Friml
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Date of Recording: 1937 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
36.
For you alone by Henry Ernest Geehl
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 1937 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
37.
La belle Hélène: Au mont Ida trois déesses by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1938 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
38.
Der Bettelstudent: Ich hab' kein Geld, bin Vogelfrei by Karl Millöcker
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1938 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
39.
Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 5 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Swedish 
40.
I Pagliacci: Recitar!...Vesti la giubba by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Renato Cellini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
41.
I Pagliacci: No! Pagliaccio non son! by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Renato Cellini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
42.
Mattinata by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1944 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
43.
Because by Helen Guy
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
44.
Stabat mater: Cujus animam by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832/1842; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1938 
Length: 4 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

Sound Samples

Rigoletto (1997 Digital Remaster): Questa o quella
Rigoletto (1997 Digital Remaster): La donna e mobile (Act 3)
Il Trovatore (1997 Digital Remaster): Ah! sì, ben mio, coll'essere
Il Trovatore (1997 Digital Remaster): Di quella pira
Un ballo in maschera (1998 Digital Remaster): Di' tu se fedele (Act I)
Aida (1997 Digital Remaster): Se quel guerrier....Celeste Aida
Messa da Requiem (1997 Digital Remaster): Ingemisco
Stabat mater (1997 Digital Remaster): Cujus animam gementem
L'Elisir d'amore (1997 Digital Remaster): Una furtiva lagrima
La Gioconda: Cielo e mar (Act II) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Andrea Chénier (1997 Digital Remaster): Come un bel dì di maggio
Fedora (1998 Digital Remaster): Amor ti vieta
L'Arlesiana (1997 Digital Remaster): E la solita storia
Manon Lescaut (1997 Digital Remaster): Donna non vidi mai
La Bohème (1998 Digital Remaster): Che gelida manina (Act 1)
La Bohème (1998 Digital Remaster), ACT 4: In un coupè?
Tosca (1997 Digital Remaster): Recondita armonia
Tosca (1997 Digital Remaster): E lucevan le stelle
Turandot (1998 Digital Remaster), ACT 1: Nessun dorma!
Cavalleria Rusticana (1997 Digital Remaster): Mamma, quel vino è generoso
I Pagliacci (1998 Digital Remaster): Recitar!....Vesti la giubba
I Pagliacci (1998 Digital Remaster), Act 2: No, Pagliaccio non son
L'Africaine: Mi batte, il cor...O paradiso (Act IV) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Faust: Salut! demeure chaste et pure (Act III) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Roméo et Juliette (1997 Digital Remaster): Ange adorable
Roméo et Juliette (1998 Digital Remaster): Ah! lève-toi, soleil
Manon: Instant charmant...En ferment les yeux (Act II) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Manon (1998 Digital Remaster): Je suis seul!....Ah, Fuyez, douce image
Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée (Act II) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Les Pêcheurs de Perles (1997 Digital Remaster): Je crois entendre encore
Adelaide Op. 46 (1997 Digital Remaster)
4 Lieder Op. 27 (1997 Digital Remaster): Morgen (Mackay)
4 Lieder Op. 27 (1997 Digital Remaster): Cäcilie (Hart)
6 Songs Op. 4 (1997 Digital Remaster): In the Silence of the Night (Fet translated George Harris & Deems Taylor)
12 Songs Op. 21 (1997 Digital Remaster): Lilacs (Beketova)
Ideale (1997 Digital Remaster)
'O sole mio (1997 Digital Remaster)
Mattinata (1997 Digital Remaster)
Because (1997 Digital Remaster)
The Vagabond King (1997 Digital Remaster): Only a Rose
For You Alone (1997 Digital Remaster)
La belle Hélène: uti en skog på berget Ida (Au mont Ida trois déesses) (Act I) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Der Bettelstudent: Nu är jag pank och fågelfri (Ich hab' kein Geld) (Act III) (1998 Digital Remaster)
Julsång (Cantique de Noël) (1997 Digital Remaster)

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