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The Edison Legacy Vol. 2


Release Date: 12/18/2012 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 53014  
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiPietro MascagniCharles GounodGeorges Bizet,   ... 
Performer:  Adelina AgostinelliCarlo AlbaniOreste BenedettiCelestina Boninsegna,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  OrchestraRoyal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE EDISON LEGACY, Vol. 2 Adelina Agostinelli (sop) 1 ; Carlo Albani (ten) 2 ; Oreste Benedetti (bar) 3 ; Celestina Boninsegna (sop) 4 ; Italo Cristalli (ten) 5 ; Eleonora de Cisneros (mez) 6 ; Marie Delna (alt) 7 ; Andrés de Read more Segurola (bs) 8 ; Maria Galvany (sop) 9 ; Heinrich Hensel (ten) 10 ; Giuseppe Kaschmann (bar) 11 ; Paola Koralek (sop) 12 ; Pompilio Malatesta (bs) 13 ; Umberto Macnez (ten) 14 ; Marie Rappold (sop) 15 ; Leo Slezak (ten) 16 ; Domenico Ciglione-Borghese (bar) 17 ; Carolina White (sop) 18 MARSTON 53014, mono (3 CDs: 232:30)


VERDI Don Carlo: 1 “Tu che la vanita”. Aida: 4,15,18 “Ritorna vincitor” (3 vers); 1 “O patria mia”; 2,12“ Pur ti riveggo”; 6,18 “Fu la sorte”. Un ballo in maschera: 3 “Alzati, là tuo figlio…Eri tu, che macchiavi”. Il Trovatore: 4 “Tacea la notte placida”; 2,3,12 “Infida, qual voce alto!”. La forza del destino: 4 “Pace, pace mio Dio”. Otello: 15,16 “Già nella notte densa”; 11 “Credo in un Dio crudel”. MASCAGNI Iris: 1 “Ho fatto un triste sogno”. L’amico Fritz: 14 “Ed anche Beppo amò…O amore”. Cavalleria Rusticana: 18 “Voi lo sapete”. GOUNOD Faust: 1 “Jewel song”; 12,13 Church scene. BIZET Carmen: 5 Flower song. Les pêcheurs des perles: 14 “Mi par d’udir ancora”. WAGNER Lohengrin: 15 “Einsam in trüben tagen”; 5 “In fernem land”. Götterdämmerung: 10 “Mime heiss ein mürrischer”. Tannhäuser: 15 “All’mächt’ge Jungfrau”. DONIZETTI La favorita: 6 “O mio Fernando”. GLUCK Orfeo ed Euridice: 7 “Che faro senza Euridice”. BERLIOZ Les Troyens: 7 “Chers Tyriens”. SAINT-SAËNS Samson et Dalila: 7 “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix”. MASSENET Werther: 7 “Werther! Qui m’aurait dit la place”. Hérodiade: 18 “Sul mio sen la nutrice ahimè!…Egli e bel come il ciel”. BOITO Mefistofele: 18 “L’altra notte”. ROSSINI Il barbiere di Siviglia: 14 “Ecco ridente in cielo”; 8 “La calunnia”. BELLINI La sonnambula: 8 “Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni”; 9,14 “Son geloso del’zeffiro”. PROCH 9 Aria e variatzione. ARDITI 9 L’incantatrice. MEYERBEER Dinorah: 11 “Sei vendicata assai”. SALOMON 11 Extase. FLOTOW Martha: 14 “M’appari tutt’amor”. LEONCAVALLO Pagliacci: 17 “Si puo?” PUCCINI Madama Butterfly: 18 “Un bel di”


Thomas Edison liked to boast that he made the best records. Someone at his company even came up with the clever idea in 1916 of getting opera and vaudeville performers to appear on stage, periodically dousing all lights, and playing Edison Diamond Discs of the same material—which, when revealed, greatly impressed attendees, who couldn’t tell the difference. (Yes, it’s the origin of those latter-day Memorex ads.) And nobody ever did figure out how Edison got the rich sound of opera singers at full voice, closely recorded by the acoustic horn, without the serious distortion referred to as blasting . Other companies settled for moving their singers away from the horn, losing much of the voice’s character. Some even went so far as to jerk the singer forward and back while recording, which along with the studios’ stifling heat and the engineers’ disregard, hardly encouraged performers to do their best.


But for all their technical superiority, there was a flaw in Edison’s operatic recordings, and that flaw was the personality of Edison, himself. Cantankerous and individualistic, the partially deaf inventor regarded himself as a perfect arbiter of how any voice should sound. He listened to nearly everything Edison Records recorded, and it was his final judgment whether to pass or kill any recording. Much was killed. Consider the so-called Edison Trials of 1912/13 (available in part on Marston 52025-2), cattle call auditions sponsored by the company and held with great fanfare by selected company representatives in several major cities throughout Europe. The idea was to create a “perfect stable” of international operatic artists for the catalog. Over 300 cylinders were recorded, including a mix of unknowns and celebrities. Edison heard each one of them, didn’t like any of the performers, and abandoned the idea. The waste was prodigious there, as it was as well in the many sessions he recorded with hired artists who produced much material he never released.


The sad thing is that much of what Edison considered unacceptable was really pretty good. Performances of the same quality were released by other companies and sold well. Take Umberto Macnez, an Italian tenor who was the leading lyric during the Met’s 1912/13 season. Of the group of four unreleased Edison items here, his “M’appari” offers elastic phrasing, a fine-grained, quick vibrato, a distinctive timbre, easily tossed off figurations (though that’s more audible in his “Ecco ridente,” also in this set), and a real sense of theater. Yes, there are a few serious intonational lapses, and the high notes at the end sound a bit forced, but two of the certified great lyrics of the period, Bonci and Anselmi, did as much on several of their most popular discs. It’s a successful record. Yet Edison rejected it.


As much can be said of a good deal else found here. There’s an exciting, well-sung “Eri tu” from Oreste Benedetti, whom no less than Titta Ruffo declared he envied greatly in his early years, and of whom only one other record exists. Adelina Agostinelli can be heard in a soaring performance of an aria from Iris , recorded in 1912, and a Jewel Song from the same year, displaying considerable delicacy. Andrés de Segurola’s distinctive dark bass gives us a fine “La calumnia” in 1910, and a cantabile version of “Vi ravviso” that shows off his ability to phrase. Then, there’s Marie Rappold, an Edison stalwart. We get an abridged “Einsam in trüben Tagen” from July of 1910 that snaps into abrupt focus when she gets to “In lichter Waffen Scheine.” The earlier pages are filled with glorious, forward tone—Edison’s were famous for capturing more of the upper partials—but from that point onwards, it’s as though Rappold were in the middle of a stage performance before a live audience. A few unsteady notes result, but the electricity of the artist, and the beauty of the voice, should have made this a certain release.


To be sure, there are examples where one can almost hear Edison thinking, “I hate that Kaschmann! I don’t care that he’s dramatic and his records sell well, he bleats! And that Trovatore trio, only Albani is caught well. The others sound like my competitors recorded ’em. Toss it in the canister with my notes and seal it.” But everything here—38 unpublished wax masters, four unpublished 12-inch Diamond Disc test pressings, and one briefly released 10-inch Diamond Disc—holds some interest. Much of it, a lot more than that.


Ward Marston’s transfers are excellent. Minimal processing allows Edison’s acoustical engineering to shine through, with all its warranted immediacy. The sound is unusually clear, no doubt owing in part to the unworn state of the original masters. Pitching is consistent and accurate, with consistent equalization across sides. In a few selections I hear a kind of whine that might be the mid-range hum Marston refers to as a flaw in the originals, but could find no instances of playback mechanism rumble.


Obviously, this isn’t a release for everybody, but there’s much to enjoy in the mix of discoveries and unusually fine sound. Strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1. Don Carlos: Tu, che la vanitá conoscesti del mondo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1910 
2. Aida: O patria mia by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1910 
3. Iris: Ho fatto un triste sogno pauroso by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898/1899; Italy 
Date of Recording: 6/1912 
4. Faust: Ah! je ris de me voir si belle "Jewel Song" by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 6/10/1912 
Language: Italian 
5. Faust: Quel trouble inconnu...Salut! demeure chaste et pure by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Carlo Albani (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 7/4/1911 
Language: Italian 
6. Un ballo in maschera: Eri tu che m'acchiave quell' anima by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Oreste Benedetti (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Date of Recording: 6/30/1911 
7. La forza del destino: Pace, pace, mio Dio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Celestina Boninsegna (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/1911 
8. Il trovatore: Tacea la notte placida...Di tale amor by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Celestina Boninsegna (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/11/1911 
9. Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Celestina Boninsegna (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/4/1911 
10. Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Italo Cristalli (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 11/1910 
Language: Italian 
11. Lohengrin: In fernem Land by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Italo Cristalli (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/3/1910 
Language: Italian 
12. La Favorita: O mio Fernando by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Eleonora De Cisneros (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/11/1911 
13. Orfeo ed Euridice: Che farò senza Euridice? by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Marie Delna (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 3/19/1910 
14. Les troyens: Chères Tyriens by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Marie Delna (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
Date of Recording: 6/4/1912 
15. Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Marie Delna (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: 6/5/1912 
16. Werther: Werther! Qui m'aurait dit...Des cris joyeux "Letter scene" by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Marie Delna (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: 6/5/1912 
17. Il Barbiere di Siviglia: La Calunnia by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Andrès De Segurola (Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1910 
18. La sonnambula: Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Andrès De Segurola (Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1910 
19. La sonnambula: Son geloso del zefiro by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Maria Galvany (Soprano), Umberto Macnez (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/26/1910 
20. Aria e variazione, Op. 64 by Heinrich Proch
Performer:  Maria Galvany (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Date of Recording: 10/20/1910 
21. L'Incantatrice by Luigi Arditi
Performer:  Maria Galvany (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/21/1910 
22. Götterdämmerung: Mime hiess ein mürrischer Zwerg "Siegfried's Narration" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Heinrich Hensel (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861-1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 3/28/1911 
23. Le pardon de Ploërmel "Dinorah": In questo loco...Sei vendicata assai by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Giuseppe Kaschmann (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/2/1910 
24. Extase by Hector Salomon
Performer:  Giuseppe Kaschmann (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Date of Recording: 11/2/1910 
25. Otello: Credo in un Dio crudel by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Giuseppe Kaschmann (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/31/1910 
26. Aida: Pur ti riveggo...Là tra le foreste vergini by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Carlo Albani (Tenor), Paola Koralek (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/4/1911 
27. Il trovatore: Qual voce!...come!...tu, donna? by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Carlo Albani (Tenor), Paola Koralek (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/5/1911 
28. Faust: Seigneur, daignez permettre "Church Scene" by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Pompilio Malatesta (Bass), Paola Koralek (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 7/7/1911 
29. Il barbiere di Siviglia: Ecco ridente in cielo by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Umberto Macnez (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/31/1910 
30. Martha: Ach, so fromm by Friedrich von Flotow
Performer:  Umberto Macnez (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/3/1910 
Language: Italian 
31. Les pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Umberto Macnez (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
Date of Recording: 10/31/1910 
Language: Italian 
32. L'Amico Fritz: Ed anche Beppe amò...O amore, o bella luce by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Umberto Macnez (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/3/1910 
33. Lohengrin: Einsam in trüben Tagen "Elsa's dream" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Marie Rappold (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
34. Tannhäuser: Allmächt'ge Jungfrau "Elisabeth's Prayer" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Marie Rappold (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
35. Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Marie Rappold (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
36. Otello: Già nella notte densa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Marie Rappold (Soprano), Leo Slezak (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/7/1911 
37. I Pagliacci: Sì può? [Prologue] by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Domenico Viglione-Borghese (Bass Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Date of Recording: 6/12/1912 
38. Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Carolina White (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
39. Aida: Fu la sorte dell'armi a'tuoi funesta by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Carolina White (Soprano), Eleonora De Cisneros (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
40. Hérodiade: Il est doux, il est bon by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Carolina White (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
Language: Italian 
41. Mefistofele: L'altra notte in fondo al mare by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Carolina White (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
42. Cavalleria Rusticana: Voi lo sapete, o Mamma by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Carolina White (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 
43. Madama Butterfly: Un bel dì vedremo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Carolina White (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1910 

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