I got excited email from a friend last week about a story she'd heard on NPR, about a new CD set called, she thought, "Records of Opera," which had something by Eva Turner on it. Oh, I replied, it's not new; it's EMI's "The Record of Singing."
Today, a Google Alert brought me a link to the NPR story. I wound up sending cranky email saying it's a condensation and reissue of a previous set, and it's misleading to claim that it's new.
Then I listened to a couple of the recordings, and I have to wonder if it's NPR or Every Mistake Imaginable that screwed up the date on Turner's recording of "In questa reggia." It's not the famous recording made in London in 1928 at Methodist Central Hall. It's one of the inferior records made in Milan in 1926. It's also one of the worst and most muffled transfers I have ever heard; all of the surface noise is removed and so is the gleam and thrust of Turner's great voice, which was then at or approaching its peak.
JEEZ. It's just not a good idea to let EMI get their hands on this stuff sometimes. There are multiple excellent transfers of the 1928 recording available, on Pearl's complete Turner set, and (ta-da!) EMI's 1988 single CD Turner recital. There are better transfers of the 1926 recordings as well, on Dutton and Pearl. Seriously, Nimbus could do a better job than this. Maybe I will send more cranky email.