Those who collect recordings of singers of the past will welcome Decca's initiative in issuing, in a new style of packaging, a series titled "The Singers". In the first batch to be issued is a CD devoted to the German soprano Erna Berger .
Collectors will be aware that Erna Berger had a long career and recorded many titles several times. There used to be an LP compilation, in which she provided a lively spoken commentary, a resume of her career, and introductions to many of her recordings. None of the recordings she selected are found here. The selection focus here has been on recordings she made in the mid-1930s. Everything is sung in German.
Collectors will therefore appreciate the rarity of what is offered on this splendid CD. Collectors of my vintage will appreciate an additional benefit: as the years go by, so does the quality of transfers and the reprocessing of historic recordings improve. Most of the items here come up with astonishing clarity. Only the "youngest" recording, a duet from "Don Pasquale" recorded in 1939, betrays any hint of 78 surface noise. Another benefit results from the expiration of copyright limits, enabling one record company to release the treasures originally locked in the vaults of others. He who ought to know more about singers of the past than anybody - John Steane - provides the annotations.