Thursday, February 27, 2014

Decca Pulls Out All The Stops With 50-Disc Release Of Most Wanted

Decca seems to be scouring the back-catalog to entice buyers to complete their collections before compact discs become obsolete. The latest batch of releases to include 50 CDs, with some familiar and not-so-familiar artists, is titled Most Wanted Recitals. Several of these discs have made it to CD transfer in chopped-up form, leaving buyers bewildered as to why the whole material was not simply released. For example, a two-CD set was released to commemorate the artistry of Pilar Lorengar. It was much of her recorded legacy with London/Decca. Only about half the material from an album done with Jesús López-Cobos made it to the set. Here at last, we will have it
complete. And it is worth having, as she is in spectacular voice. The same holds true for an
opera arias disc by Gwyneth Jones that was licensed by Belart, but did not have the complete Verdi scenes LP on it. Other discs have already had the material released in multiple sets. Such is the case with Cristina Deutekom recording of Viennese bon-bons. Material by Régine Crespin, Inge Borkh, Hilde Gueden, Virginia Zeani, and others, has made it to the store shelves in bits and pieces. It is nice to see a label dig deep into the archive and make an attempt to get some interesting programs out on CD, instead of just releasing them as MP3s. Hopefully this is the first round of this recital series, because we are still missing important releases [not counting
items already released on MP3 only]. A short list would include: Leontyne Price (
Noel, Noel with Charles Dutoit), Birgit Nilsson (Songs of Scandinavia and Wagner complete with Colin Davis), Helena Döse (Puccini, Mascagni, Verdi), Virginia Zeani (Puccini Arias), Elisabeth Söderström (Jenny Lind Songs), Edith Mathis (Haydn Arias), Sylvia Geszty (Coloratura Arias and Duets with Peter Schreier), Montserrat Caballé (Dramatic Soprano Arias and Music of Spain), Elly Ameling (German Romantic Songs, Bach Cantatas and Schubert on Stage), Marilyn Horne (Sings Carmen with Henry Lewis), and Eileen Farrell (Songs America Loves). Not to mention that Felicia Weathers could have a whole box-set dedicated to her. In addition to the Verdi & Puccini Arias recording (released by Decca on CD in
2006), there are the albums yet to be transferred:
Italianische Opernarien [arias by Cilea, Verdi, Boito, Puccini and Giordano]; Die Schönsten Lieder der Welt [songs of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms]; Spirituals & Folksongs; Richard Strauss Lieder; Hello Young Lovers [songs from Musicals]; Liebe, Love, L'amour [songs from Films]; and the label could probably get the rights to release the material on her Intercord recording Wunderbar ist die Welt. Check out more of the soprano selections from the Most Wanted Recitals collection after the jump. You can see the complete list here. Items will be released in March/April.