BJOERLING Scandinavian Songs & Ballads
SJÖGREN: You Are Near To Me In My Dreams. DAHL: Bacchanal. ENDERS: Little Princess. STENHAMMAR: Sweden RANGSTRÖM: Three Ballads: Lamech's Sons. The Jester and Death. Good Sleep. SIBELIUS: Black Roses. Sigh, Rushes, Sigh. The Diamond on the March Snow. The Tryst. ALTHÉN: Thou Blessed Land. PETERSON-BERGER: Among The High Fir Trees In The Forest. SÖDERMAN: The Enchanted Lake. KÖRLING: Evening Mood. NORDQVIST: Toward The Sea. SJÖBERG: Visions. GRIEG: A Swan
Jussi Bjoerling, tenor/various orch. & cond.
GALA GL 335 (B) (M/S) (ADD) TT: 65:30
JUSSI BJOERLING The
Early Swedish Recordings (1929-1936)
There are many CDs of recordings by this magnificent Swedish tenor, including a compilation on EMI (66306, a 4-CD set of studio recordings 1930-1941), unfortunately discontinued. A favorite Bjoerling CD issued on the Swedish Society label (SCD 1010) featured Swedish songs recorded from 1957 to 1959. It, too, is no longer available; but the loss is not as great because the same label has issued "The Swedish Tenors" (SCD 1078) that includes 5 selections from the previous Bjoerling CD as well as recordings by Nicolai Gedda and Gösta Winbergh, all remastered from the original session tapes. Should you encounter SCD 1010 in a cut-out bin, grab itit contains some of the most glorious tenor artistry you will ever hearand if you can't find that, get "The Swedish Tenors."
Fortunately Naxos has a superb budget-priced Bjoerling CD of opera arias in outstanding transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn (8.110701) and many of the tenor's studio and live recordings are available on various labels. In spite of their manifold problems, RCA/BMG continues to list Bjoerling's "duet" CD (7799) which includes his famous recording with Robert Merrill of "Au fond du temple saint" from Bizet's Pearl Fishers. His 1953 studio Pagliacci (with Victoria de los Angeles, Robert Merrill and Leonard Warren) originally recorded for RCA is available on EMI (49503). The Fourties series includes a sterling Ballo en Maschera from the Met in 1940 in which Bjoerling and Zinka Milanov display what Verdi singing is all about (FT 1515). Milanov can also be heard with Bjoerling in Verdi's Requiem conducted by Toscanini (Music & Arts CD 240). Met broadcasts are available of a 1945 Rigoletto, a 1947 Romeo and Juliet and a 1948 Bohème. Vai Audio has a CD of "Rarities" from radio broadcasts 1937-1953 also well worth investigating.
The two budget-priced Gala issues offer Bjoerling recordings covering a wide range of his career. The twin-CD set contains his five "first recordings" from February 1920 recorded in New York. Many of the other thirty-five selections, recorded from 1929 to 1936, conducted by Nils Grevillius, would be recorded again later. The single CD of Scandinavian music is of particular interest. The earliest recording dates from 1929, but most were recorded in the '50s with the last dated July 28, 1960, the year of Bjoerling's death. Many of these songs are first versions of music recorded later in stereo on the discontinued Swedish Society CD. The Gala CD is worth owning if only for the two Sibelius songs (The Diamond on the March Snow/The Tryst) recorded during a 1957 concert with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Martti Similä. Recorded sound throughout is satisfactory. No notes or texts for the 2-CD set, limited notes for the Scandinavian CD. Recommended!
R.E.B. (Feb. 2001)