Lotte Lehmann (1888–1976) was a lyric soprano with a beautiful, rich voice, combined with impeccable musicianship and an innate skill for poetry and storytelling. This six-CD set presents Lehmann’s complete electrical recordings for the Odeon label, all made in Berlin between 1927 and 1933. Lehmann embraced the new medium of electrical recording to her full advantage, while still in her vocal prime. Remembered especially for her portrayals of Wagner and Strauss roles and as a consummate interpreter of German Lieder, her Odeon electrical recordings do not disappoint. Here, Lehmann expands her more famous repertoire to include selections from French and Italian opera to operetta, popular favorites of the time, and some lovely hymns and chorales accompanied by organ. This collection offers selections from Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Die Walküre, and Lehmann’s only recording of Isolde’s Liebestod. Selections from Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Arabella may also be enjoyed. Many gems are included on this set, including: “Leise, leise” from Der Freischütz; “Komm’ Hoffnung” from Fidelio; “Porgi amor” from Le nozze di Figaro; “Kennst du das Land” from Mignon; and Rosalinde’s two songs from Die Fledermaus. There is also a substantial selection of Lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Strauss. The recordings have all been meticulously remastered from original pressings, adding luster to Lehmann’s incomparable singing. The set is completed by a substantial booklet containing an abundance of photos, a biographical overview by Dr. Daniel Jacobson, essays on the recordings by Michael Aspinall and Gary Hickling, and a technical note by Ward Marston.
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John McCormack: A Patrician Artist
Complete Electrical Recordings: 1925-1942 and All Extant Broadcasts, and Complete Early Recordings 1904 and 1906
This deluxe 16-CD set contains John McCormack’s complete electrically recorded output of 243 sides, 1925-1942, plus all extant alternative takes as well as 2 CDs of his surviving radio broadcasts. Each disc was newly transferred by Ward Marston from original sources. The set contains a comprehensive booklet of essays and notes on the recordings by the leading authorities on John McCormack: Gordon Ledbetter, author of two books on the tenor, and Michael Aspinall, the world’s acknowledged expert on the art of bel canto, of which McCormack was one of the greatest exponents. The final two CDs in the set comprises new restorations of all 57 of McCormack’s earliest recordings, made on cylinder and disc in 1904, following his victory in the Dublin Feis Ceoil national singing competition in 1903. These fascinating, if primitive, vocal documents allow us to hear the artist before his sojourn in Italy in 1905, when he trained under Maestro Sabatini.
Sidney Foster, 1917-1977, was undoubtedly one of the greatest pianists of his time, but he is all but unknown today, and made almost no commercial recordings. In 1993, the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland issued a two-CD set of Foster performances taken from live concerts. This year Marston is celebrating Foster’s centenary by issuing a seven-CD set of solo and concerto performances from live concerts, never before issued. Foster’s breath-taking virtuosity, the volcanic intensity he was capable of unleashing, and his beautiful sound, are immediately apparent, but it is his gift of supreme music-making that places him solidly in the top rank of twentieth century pianists. A line from Harold C. Schonberg’s review for the New York Times of an October 1963 Carnegie Hall Recital offers valuable insight into Foster’s artistry: “He is everything the connoisseurs claim he is: an interesting original pianist, the master of tonal shading, and an artist.”
In 1938 Foster won the MacDowell Competition and in 1940 the first Edgar M. Leventritt Prize. His Leventritt award led to his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1941, playing Beethoven’s C Minor Concerto under John Barbirolli, for which Foster composed his own first movement cadenza for the performance. Fortunately, this performance was recorded off the air and we are pleased to be able to include it in our compilation. From 1952 until his death, Sidney Foster was a tenured professor at Indiana University. This seven-CD set contains carefully chosen performances recorded during this time, from 1952 to 1973.
Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938) (bass) was in the opinion of many the greatest singing actor of the 20th century. Like Enrico Caruso, the name Chaliapin continued to be a household word long after his death. A case in point is that the Sobranie tobacco company continued to market their “Chaliapin” cigarettes into the 1970s. Producing a Chaliapin set has long been a desire of Marston, yet due to the size of the compilation, the production costs, and the time involved, this project has been pushed to the back burner time and time again. With the financial assistance of some of our generous supporters, we have finally released a thirteen-CD set containing every known recording of Feodor Chaliapin numbering well into the two hundreds. This set contains a substantial number of previously unpublished alternative takes, as well as all extant sides from the live performances at Covent Garden and the Royal Albert Hall that were recorded by His Master's Voice in 1926 through 1928. The booklet accompanying the set includes essays on Chaliapin and his records by Michael Scott and Michael Aspinall, and a reprint of an essay by the great accompanist, Ivor Newton.
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Free CDs to Preferred Customers!
In recognition of our Preferred Customers, Marston created the Lagniappe Series. This series consists of single disc issues that are given to Preferred Customers free of charge. Read More.