Amelita Galli-Curci - Aria and Song Recital
An eminent collector once said to me, ''It's a silly little voice, isn't it'', a point of view I stoutly rejected. But sometimes I hear what he meant: the recitative to the Linda di Chamounix aria has a bland, doll-like expression, and even the opening of the whole collection, in La sonnambula, is just a little too sweetly simple to engage a lively interest. Sometimes, too, the sleepily caressing little portamentos come a few times too often, as in the generally adorable Manon Gavotte. But, those few rumbles of dissent duly acknowledged, what loveliness remains; the tone so pure, the production so even, the accomplishments so brilliant. Then, though she hardly offers 'interpretations', her treatment of the musical line is so sensitive that it usually secures its own rightness of expression: ''Qui la voce'', for instance, by no means foreshadows what is usually thought of as 'the Callas revolution', but affection and sadness are felt in her singing, and the preservation of the melodic line is itself refreshing after the sultry emotions which have made it wilt in post-revolutionary times and the myriad of shadings in which its clear definition has been all but lost. Her lovely performance of ''Ah! non credea mirarti'' (inflexions and decorations just right) and the charming Don Pasquale solo are other gems here; and indeed there is scarcely anything (not even the Chopin Minute Waltz and the almost as oddly transformed ''Non so piu'') that I would want to be without.
Some of the tracks are more surfacy than others; and there are occasional pops and ticks, but nothing to spoil enjoyment of the singing. Two small distractions are the curious coming and going of surface in the start of the first band, and the pre-echo in the opening of ''Ah, fors'e lui'', not an unavoidable legacy from the 78rpm original.'