A compilation like this is aimed at listeners with a fleeting interest in operetta, wanting to hear a number of lollipops sung by famous singers of the past rather than the operetta aficionado, who probably has all this music already, possibly also many of these recordings. The first four tracks, from the legendary Columbia series of operettas that by many are still regarded as the best ever. With Schwarzkopf, Loose, Kunz and Gedda on top form they are self-recommending and so is Rita Streich’s
Spiel’ ich die Unschuld
in the same series. The complete sets have been reviewed on Musicweb (
Das Land des Lächelns
Die lustige Witwe,
But there are many other tracks to treasure. The young Fritz Wunderlich, fresh and ardent, partnered by Friederike Sailer in a couple of duets; Rudolf Schock’s
, brilliant and heroic and with sensitive phrasing but the high pianissimo notes sung falsetto; Wilma Lipp, lively and charming but a little uneven; Julius Patzak, almost 60 and a little drier of tone than on his earlier recordings, but his Viennese charm and dialect are more than compensation; Jussi Björling’s unsurpassed
Ich hab kein Geld
sung in Swedish but so uninhibitedly brilliant. Only the reverse side to the original 78rpm,
Au Mont Ida,
can challenge the beauty and thrust; Richard Tauber, like Patzak recorded late in his career but his inimitable caressing of phrases is there; Sena Jurinac’s
Klänge der Heimat,
recorded in 1950 and with lovely tone but I have heard readings with more Hungarian lilt and her final note is a scream.
The transfers are acceptable and the booklet has notes on the music and artist biographies. If the repertoire is attractive readers can safely invest in this disc, knowing that most of the singers are on admirable form.
-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International