The Art of Aristodemo Giorgini
This is an important release in several respects. It is issued by The Record Collector, an invaluable and (I think it is right to say) heroic magazine that for almost half a century has come through on a wing and a prayer, not to mention a good deal of hard work, providing information and discussion about singers on record. Now, for the first time, the magazine has compiled a CD devoted to the singer who is the subject of its current number. This contains a biography, discography and critical evaluation, and in future, whenever the tenor Aristodemo Giorgini has to be entered in the encyclopaedias, written about in any survey of his period, or simply followed up out of interest by people who enjoy good singing, Vol. 39 No. 4 of The Record Collector will be the first place to look in for information.
By coincidence, Giorgini had a place in these columns in March this year when the one complete opera set he made was reviewed (La boheme: 1928). He was then in his fiftieth year and past his best though it is clear that a sound training had kept his voice steady and slim-lined throughout his career. The present disc shows him in his prime, beginning in 1905, the year of his debut at La Scala. He sang at Covent Garden that same summer, later travelling to Russia and the USA. What we hear on these records is a lyric tenor with a sweet, steady, well-placed voice and a style distinguished by the purity of its legato. The passage from note to note is not the series of little bumps that often masquerades as legato: it is a smooth, even progression and a delight to the ear. Sample the opening ''O paradis'' (
On the earliest recordings, a certain pallor of tone and open 'a' sounds are notable, transient though. The year 1908 catches more of the voice's body and incisive ring. Then, with the Pathes of 1912–14 comes a change of recorded sound so remarkable that one might well not identify it as the same voice at all. The final track, from 1928, shows him to better advantage than does the Boheme set and sends one back to 1905 to reconsider initial impressions in the light of this vivid electrical recording. Transfers and insert material are first-rate. Let us hope for a prospering, long continuing series.'