Mainly Opera

John McCormack 1906-1909

MR 54005 (4cd)

John McCormack

A Star Ascending

Odeon recordings 1906-1909. Early recordings of the legendary tenor, in opera and song.

John McCormack, tenor

Recorded 1906-1909


John McCormack (1884–1945) is still remembered and revered by many today. The natural beauty of his voice, allied with his phenomenal technique, unequaled breath control, and eloquence of sentiment, lead many to regard him as the world’s supreme lyric tenor.

This four-CD set includes operatic arias, Irish ballads, and popular songs from McCormack’s Odeon recordings dating from 1906–1909, as well as nine cylinder recordings of 1906 made for the Edison Bell and Russell Hunting companies. These early recordings are sometimes dismissed by admirers of McCormack and collectors of vocal art because they do not capture him at his artistic zenith. They are, however, almost unique in the history of the gramophone as they allow us to trace McCormack’s steady development, session by session, from his uneven, raw, and sometimes undistinguished singing in 1906 to performances showing him on the cusp of mastery by 1909.


Track Listing

CD 1 (71:00)

Session 1
September 1906
1. A Nation Once Again (Traditional) 3:03
(Lx 1565-1) 44364
2. God Save Ireland (Root) 2:59
(Lx 1566-1) 44363
3. The Boys of Wexford (Darley) 3:11
(Lx 1567-1) 44366
4. The Croppy Boy (Traditional) 2:56
(Lx 1568-1) 44367
5. The Dear Little Shamrock (Cherry) 2:58
(Lx 1569-1) 44368
6. The Snowy Breasted Pearl (Traditional) 3:04
(Lx 1570-1) 44369
Session 2
September 1906
7. The Green Isle of Erin (Roeckel) 3:05
(Lx 1576-1) 44374
8. Kathleen Mavourneen (Crouch) 3:12
(Lx 1577-1) 44375
9. Come Back to Erin (Claribel) 2:58
(Lx 1579-1) 44376
10. Come Back to Erin (Claribel) 2:03
(L 1580-1) 2895
11. The Dear Little Shamrock (Cherry) 2:04
(L 1581-1) 2896
12. Killarney (Balfe) 3:13
(Lx 1582-1) 44377
Session 3
February or March 1907
13. My Dark Rosaleen (Needham-Morgan) 2:58
(Lx 2132-1) 44889
14. Savourneen Deelish (Traditional) 3:06
(Lx 2133-1) 44852
15. Terence’s Farewell to Kathleen (Traditional) 2:36
(Lx 2134-1) 44853
16. Oft in the Stilly Night (Traditional) 3:20
(Lx 2135-1) 44854
Session 4
September 1907
17. Absent (Metcalf ) 2:09
(Lx 2430-1) 57511
18. A Farewell (Liddle) 2:39
(Lx 2431-1) 57548
19. A Farewell (Liddle) 2:39
(Lx 2431-2) 57548
20. Love’s Golden Treasury (Capel) 3:18
(Lx 2432-1) 57549
Session 5
September 1907
21. Like Stars Above (Squire) 3:30
(Lx 2487-1) 57507
22. CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA: O Lola ch’ai di latti [Siciliana] (O Lola, pretty one, white as the May, love) (Mascagni) 1:58
(Lx 2488-1) 57523 transposed down a semitone to E Minor
23. PAGLIACCI: Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio ... Vesti la giubba (To act! With my heart bowed down with sorrow ... On with the motley) (Leoncavallo) 2:27
(Lx 2489-1) 57524 transposed down a semitone to E-flat Minor
24. The Awakening of a Perfect Spring (Simpson) 3:35
(Lx 2490-1) 57504
25. RIGOLETTO: La donna è mobile (Verdi) 2:00
(Lx 2491-1) 57508 transposed down a semitone to B-flat

CD 2 (77:17)

Session 6
September 1907
1. Thora (Adams) 3:12
(Lx 2500-1) 66190
2. TOSCA: E lucevan le stelle (Puccini) 2:30
(Lx 2501-1) 57525
3. A Child’s Song (Marshall) 2:41
(Lx 2502-1) 57503
Session 7
November 1907
4. I Sent My Love Two Roses (Simpson) 2:37
(Lx 2545-1) 57506
Session 8
November 1907
5. The Lord is My Light (Allitsen) 3:31
(Lx 2558-1) 57505
6. RIGOLETTO: Questa o quella (Verdi) 2:02
(Lx 2559-1) unpublished on 78 rpm
Session 9
November 1907
7. THE BOHEMIAN GIRL: When other lips (Then you’ll remember me) (Balfe) 3:08
(Lx 2619-1) 57522
Session 10
August or September 1908
8. LA BOHÈME: Che gelida manina (Puccini) 4:30
(Lxx 2791-1) 84205
9. Mattinata (Leoncavallo) 2:06
(Lx 2793-1) unpublished on 78 rpm
10. CARMEN: La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (See here the flower) (Bizet) 3:48
(Lx 2795-1) 57582
11. I’ll Sing Thee Songs of Araby (Clay) 3:17
(Lx 2796-2) 57583
12. MIGNON: Elle ne croyait pas (In her simplicity) (Thomas) 4:30
(Lx 2797-1) 57581
13. Roses (Adams) 3:16
(Lx 2798-1) 57580
14. Pianto del Core (Pinsuti) 4:56
(Lxx 2799-1) 84206
Session 11
October 1908
15. Has Sorrow Thy Young Days Shaded (Traditional) 3:31
(Lx 2840-1) 57587
16. Avenging and Bright (Traditional) 3:00
(Lx 2841-1) 57590
17. The Foggy Dew (Traditional) 3:06
(Lx 2842-1) 57593
18. Trottin’ to the Fair (Traditional) 1:31
(Lx 2843-1) 57594
19. MARITANA: There is a flower that bloometh (Wallace) 2:59
(Lx 2844-1) 57588
20. SONGS OF THE TURKISH HILLS: I Know of Two Bright Eyes (Clutsam) 2:49
(Lx 2845-1) 57591
Session 12
October 1908
21. Mary of Allendale (Hook) 3:06
(Lx 2850-1) 57602
22. I Hear You Calling Me (Marshall) 3:48
(Lxx 2852-1) 84207
23. When Shadows Gather (Marshall) 3:20
(Lxx 2853-1) 84210
24. I Hear You Calling Me (Marshall) 4:03
(Lxx 2854-1) 84208

CD 3 (71:55)

Session 13
November or December 1908
1. Lolita (Serenata Espagnol) (Buzzi-Peccia) 3:18
(Lxx 2962-1) 84217
2. Parted (Scott) 3:12
(Lx 2963-1) 57608
3. The Philosophy of Love (Larchet) 2:36
Lx 2965-1) 57704
Session 14
August 1909
4. A Southern Song (Batten) 4:11
(Lxx 3134-2) 84233
5. Mountain Lovers (Squire) 4:07
(Lxx 3135-1) 84226
6. When Shadows Gather (Squire) 3:43
(Lx 3136-2) 57632
7. Take, Oh Take Those Lips Away (Bennett) 3:00
(Lx 3137-1) 57630
8. CARMEN: La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (Il fior che avevi a me) (Bizet) 3:53
(Lxx 3138-1) 84225; X 75
Session 15
September 1909, with orchestra
9. Lolita (Serenata Espagnol) (Buzzi-Peccia) 3:16
(Lx 3150-2) 57640
10. My Dark Rosaleen (Needham-Morgan) 3:50
(Lxx 3151-2) 84240
11. LA FAVORITA: Spirto gentil (Donizetti) 3:37
(Lxx 3152-2) 84230 transposed down a semitone to B
12. Voi Dormite, Signora! (Tosti) 3:29
(Lxx 3153-2) 57643
Session 16
September 1909
13. The Fairy Glen (Marshall) 3:20
(Lx 3155-1) 57644
14. Eileen Aroon (Traditional) 3:20
(Lx 3156-1) 57641
15. Ideale (Tosti) 3:36
(Lx 3157-1) 57642
16. O Lovely Night (Ronald) 4:03
(Lxx 3158-1) 84229
Session 17
September 1909
17. The Green Isle of Erin (Roeckel) 4:06
(Lxx 3160-1) 84234
18. L’Ultima Canzone (Tosti) 2:48
(Lx 3162-1) 57645 transposed down a semi-tone to B
19. My Queen (Blumenthal) 4:15
(Lxx 3163-1) 84231
20. The Last Watch (Pinsuti) 4:15
(Lxx 3164-1) 8

CD 4 (61:00)

Session 18
September 1909
1. Oft in the Stilly Night (Traditional) 2:31
(Lx 3166-1) 57646
2. The Ould Plaid Shawl (Traditional) 2:45
(Lx 3167-1) 57647
3. SPANISH DOLLARS: The Bay of Biscay (Davy) 2:15
(Lx 3168-1) 57648
4. Goodbye, Sweetheart, Goodbye (Hatton) 3:21
(Lx 3169-1) 57705
Session 19
September 1909
5. AIDA: Celeste Aida (Verdi) 3:40
(Lxx 3173-1) 84236

Appendix 1:

Alternative takes: Recording dates uncertain
6. Savourneen Deelish (Traditional) 3:19
(Lx 2133-2) 57550
7. Love’s Golden Treasury (Capel) 3:15
(Lx 2432-2) 57549
8. RIGOLETTO: La donna è mobile (Verdi) 2:42
(Lx 2491-3) unpublished on 78 rpm
9. RIGOLETTO: La donna è mobile (Verdi) 2:43
(Lx 2491-4) 57508
10. TOSCA: E lucevan le stelle (Puccini) 2:51
(Lx 2501-2) 57525, see note on page 65
11. RIGOLETTO: Questa o quella (Verdi) 2:13
(Lx 2559-3) 57631
12. LA BOHÈME: Che gelida manina (Puccini) 4:23
(Lxx 2791-2) 84205
13. Mattinata (Leoncavallo) 2:02
(Lx 2793-2) 57633

Appendix 2:

Cylinder recordings, 1906
Edison Bell Consolidated Phonograph Company
14. Home to Athlone (Greene) 2:29
Edison Bell two-minute cylinder 10085C
Russell Hunting Company
15. God Save Ireland (Root) 2:39
Sterling three-minute cylinder 612
16. The Boys of Wexford (Darley) 2:38
Sterling three-minute cylinder 613
17. A Nation Once Again (Davis) 2:41
Sterling three-minute cylinder 614
18. The Croppy Boy (Traditional) 2:31
Sterling three-minute cylinder 615
19. Come Back to Erin (Claribel) 2:33
Sterling three-minute cylinder 682
20. The Dear Little Shamrock (Cherry) 2:36
Sterling three-minute cylinder 683
21. Come Back to Erin (Claribel) 2:26
Alternative take of Sterling three-minute cylinder 682 transferred to Pathé disc 77686
22. The Dear Little Shamrock (Cherry) 2:28
Alternative take of Sterling three-minute cylinder 683 transferred to Pathé disc 77687

 

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