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 Post subject: Re: "Di Quella Pira" by Enrico Caruso 1906
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:50 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:49 am
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Marty Bufalini wrote:
My God!!! What a great recording!!! What a voice!!! Imagine what he would have sounded like on electrical recordings!!! My grandparents once heard him in concert and my Nonna said she could still hear him. Something she said she could never forget.


Yup it's a great recording and the brightest-sounding recording from that first session with "orchestra" in Febrary 1906. I find that his voice as recorded at that session sounds rather thin and constricted (due to Victor's setup, not because of his voice) compared to recordings he made later on, as Victor improved on its recording quality, although they did record his voice very well in the 1904 session also. Some of my favorites of those later ones which show his voice to much better advantage are the arias from Le Cid, La Juive, Ah si, ben mio from Trovatore, the Otello duet with Ruffo, the trio from I Lombardi, Addio a Napoli, and Sei morta ne la vita mia. These along with many other great examples have much better presence, balance, spaciousness, "orchestral" sound, and acoustic ambience.

It's amazing your grandparents heard him live. What memories they carried. Thanks for sharing that with us :)
What a voice he had, indeed!

Steven


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 Post subject: Re: "Di Quella Pira" by Enrico Caruso 1906
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:05 pm 
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Victor V
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The Victors are varying quality, not necessarily conforming to improved SQ as the years went on. Some have a recessed quality. Stamper wear is also to be considered. To add to the list, from the later records, which are some of the most frustrating from a SQ perspective, Niedermeyer's Pieta Signore is a good recording.


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 Post subject: Re: "Di Quella Pira" by Enrico Caruso 1906
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:07 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:49 am
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Wolfe wrote:
The Victors are varying quality, no necessarily conforming to improved SQ as the years went on. The '04's are nice. Stamper wear is also to be considered. Of the later records, which are some of the most frustrating from a SQ perspective, Niedermeyer's Pieta Signore is a good recording.


Yes I agree. Victor recording quality was not consistently improving, that is true. Some years were better than others.
The recording quality of many of the ones from 1919-1920 are frustratingly grating. I notice some hardness in the sound of many of the 1911-12 recordings also.


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 Post subject: Re: "Di Quella Pira" by Enrico Caruso 1906
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:28 pm 
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Victor V
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Yes, it's that strident, hard qulaity to sound of some of the later. Like Caruso's voice was overloading the recording diapragm or something. I think Ward Marston even mentions that in his transferring of some of the records. He had to use a notch filter to alleviate that effect.

When people say they wish Caruso had recorded for Edison, it's in the later period that I'm inclined to agree.


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 Post subject: Re: "Di Quella Pira" by Enrico Caruso 1906
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:01 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:49 am
Posts: 223
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Wolfe wrote:
Yes, it's that strident, hard qulaity to sound of some of the later. Like Caruso's voice was overloading the recording diapragm or something. I think Ward Marston even mentions that in his transferring of some of the records. He had to use a notch filter to alleviate that effect.

When people say they wish Caruso had recorded for Edison, it's in the later period that I'm inclined to agree.


Yes I agree.
Speaking of Victor's crappy SQ on several Caruso recordings, one that really stands out is the 1916 recording of the aria from Samson. There's weird mechanical background noise (a defect in the recording diaphragm?) and the music really sounds like it's coming over a telephone line lol.
A similar problem afflicts the 1916 version (take 4) of Galli-Curci's record of Caro Nome. (Or the Campbell's soup whistle going off during her recording of Crepuscule--which can still be heard even if played on an acoustic machine--an unfortunate, and permanent, interruption during such an exquisite performance.)
It's hard to believe Victor would release such awful sounding recordings lol. What were the technicians thinking? And presumably Caruso and Galli-Curci would have listened to the test pressings before approval.
At least Victor quickly replaced the Caro Nome with a much superior version both technically and musically right after the first one was released. As for the Samson aria, it's a glorious performance but it's a pity it wasn't redone so that it would have the same quality as Caruso's other 1916 recordings, which for the most part sounded very good.

Another interesting one is the 1912 Caruso-Farrar duet from Boheme. I've always loved that recording, even though there's curious mechanical distortion at the end when Farrar sings the top C, giving the impression that Farrar is singing two "C"s at once, an octave apart! Certainly that's why it wasn't released at the time, and not until the much later IRCC private subscription series and HMV AGSB series.

Steven


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