Admirers of Italian popular songs, and tenors from Schipa to Di Stefano who recorded them, will get amazing value from this CD. 24 songs are included, 10 tenors are represented, and the duration is 78 minutes. Not surprisingly, Schipa and Gigli feature in 12 of the 24 tracks, reflecting their prodigious recording output of works of this genre. Ward Marston, in charge of restoration, has somehow balanced all the demands of juxtaposing recordings originally made between 1926 and 1953.
I cannot help stressing the point about value that Naxos have packed into this issue. How often have collectors of historical anthologies like this been forced to pay a high price for perhaps half as many tracks? On the back of the jewel case would be no more than a track listing, and on the front a gaudy picture backing a blank page. Here you will find not only full track listing, times, recording dates and matrix numbers, but an invaluable 1000 word essay on Italian Popular Songs by Peter Dempsey, full of well-researched material and fine judgment. All for the price of a coffee, a cake, and the daily paper!
I hope that "Italian Popular Songs .1" gets the market response it deserves, and that more of the same will follow.