The latest batch of re-releases from Eloquence includes two Deutsche Grammophon double sets from the 1950s and 60s and some of Mozart’s dance music from the Decca archives.
The Rita Streich double set showcases the Russian-born soprano’s versatility by combining her 1950s Waltzes and Arias recordings (some of the tracks in mono), with her Folk Songs and Lullabies collection recorded in 1962 when the doyenne of the Vienna State Opera was still at the height of her powers. Much of the material is lighter fare – Johann rather than Richard Strauss – but we also get a sense of her expressive power in Dvorˇák’s Song to the Moon from Rusalka and her consummate control and technique in Saint-Saëns’ wordless The Nightingale and The Rose, with its seemingly endless trill. The spiritual Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen shows off her rich and mellow chest voice.
While we’re all excited by Jonas Kaufmann’s stellar versatility in both Italian and German roles, there was another tenor who was equally at home with Verdi and Wagner but whose voice is seldom heard these days. Hungarian Sándor Kónya trained in Germany and Italy where he developed the thrilling open voiced high notes which made him a favourite at the New York Met. This double disc represents the best of the few recordings Kónya made. Puccini takes out half the first disc and the second features songs by Verdi and Wagner as well as arias from Die Meistersinger and Lohengrin.
Finally Willi Boskovsky leads a group of the Vienna Philharmonic’s younger players in a 1969 survey of Mozart’s dances and marches which originally stretched to ten albums. This charming disc features the seldom heard Les Petits Riens and the ballet music from Idomeneo, finishing off with a rondo for horn and orchestra and the famous Musical Joke.