To stop you in your tracks …

  • a recorded fragment that’ll take your breath away
  • today Joseph Schmidt sings Una furtiva lagrima from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore … a the voice pure velvet, the technique seemingly effortless
  • the year 1931
  • Selmer Meyrowitz conducts members of the Berlin State Opera Orchestra
  • from Telefunken 2cd 0927 42665 2

11 thoughts on “To stop you in your tracks …

  1. Lovely to be reminded of this wonderful singer. My yardstick in this aria has been Caruso in 2004- recorded unusually on two 78 sides, leaving him enough time to work his magic. Best, Lawrence


    1. Yes Lawrence … funnily (and happily) I was listening to that very recently in RCA’s Caruso Edition – it is truly miraculous … the beauty and the breadth of it. Best Rob


      1. Thanks, Rob. I see that RCA (or Sony) has just reissued its Caruso recordings in a no-frills cheap box set, which I don’t have. However, looking online at images of the rear of the box, this looks like a reissue of their 1990 box set. The transfers were not fulsomely praised when it came out, and many collectors, including myself, prefer the Ward Marston transfers issued some years letter on 12 Naxos CDs, that also include his earliest recordings (RCA does not include them). Not overindulging, but listening to only 5 or 6 tracks at a time is a wonderful way to spend a half hour. Best, Lawrence


  2. I’ve often wondered whether Tauber and Schmidt knew each other and whether there was rivalry or mutual admiration. The two voices are entirely different although they shared to a large extent a similar repertoire. In some ways, it seems to me that Schmidt is more technically assured than Tauber, and he certainly has higher notes. On the other hand, the unique Tauber timbre and elegance makes him my favourite. But this is terribly personal and I couldn’t do without either. I suppose the nearest post war equivalent is Fritz Wunderlich – although another not to be forgotten tenor is Peter Anders, who again had much in common with both but especially Tauber.


    1. I see your point Richard. Actually next Thursday week (7th September) on Essential Classics for ‘Double Take’ I’m featuring recordings of Tosti’s ‘Vorrei morire’ with Schmidt (one of his most glorious tracks) and Ben Heppner, also lovely singing but of course very different. Re Tauber/Schmidt I suppose the litmus test for me is that it would be possible, just about, to do a humorous take-off of Tauber (think of Dudley Moore and Pears) whereas it would be well-nigh impossible to do the same with Schmidt, unless you had a voice as great as his. The idiosyncrasies in Tauber’s singing are more marked/obvious than they are with Schmidt. Best. Rob.


  3. BertieRussell

    Dieskau accompanied by Richter on the piano singing Das Zügenglöcklein D.871 (1977) does it for me. What you posted is also breathtaking.


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