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Enrico Caruso: The Complete Recordings Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, November 23, 2004
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Product Details

  • Performer: Antonio Scotti, Mario Ancona, Francesco Daddi, Pasquale Amato, Angelo Bada, et al.
  • Orchestra: Victor Orchestra
  • Conductor: Walter B. Rogers, Gaetano Scognamiglio, Giulio Setti, Josef A. Pasternack
  • Composer: Alberto Franchetti, Giuseppe Verdi, Jules Massenet, Gaetano Donizetti, Arrigo Boito, et al.
  • Audio CD (November 23, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 12
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00030B92K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,761 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

The Complete Caruso: Volumes 1 - 12

The Italian tenor Enrico Caruso holds a unique place in musical history, as the first operatic singer whose recordings sold in millions, and who created an international reputation on the strength of these. Caruso's robust tone and musical sincerity made him both an ideal stage and recording artist, whose voice the primitive acoustic recording technology of the early twentieth century was able to reproduce with startling fidelity. The Naxos Historical Caruso edition constitutes the complete cycle of all Caruso's recordings issued in chronological order. In addition, the transfers have been immaculately undertaken by top sound engineer Ward Marston, unrivalled for his knowledge of the specialized world of acoustic opera recordings, and his rare ability to retrieve all of the music lying in the grooves of the original recordings. Naxos Historical's incredible price (12 CD'S FOR THE PRICE OF 10) puts this unique legacy of great singing within the reach of all music-lovers. This! complete cycle of recordings represents a major document in the history of sound recording, and one which no collector and enthusiast of great singing will wish to be without. "There is no series of vocal records that have a greater documentary value, that meant more to the development of the phonograph record, or that are as consistently capable of providing pleasure to lovers of great singing. ...One of the most significant recording industry events of the decade." Fanfare

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
It is attractive and easy to read.
Alden Small
These are near perfect mint conditioned discs copied by engineer extraordinary Ward Marston.
Todd L. Kosovich
You can't go wrong getting this box set.
Alan H. Prichard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Todd L. Kosovich on January 31, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This set gives you the opportunity to follow the entire recording career of one of the greatest singers in Operatic History. Enrico Caruso was the first superstar of the 20th century -- and this without the benefit of mass media. His person and his records were his greatest publicity.

The set begins with Caruso's Italian made recordings. They show a great raw talent. The artistry is lacking with many sobs, over acting and mistaken cues. The 1902 and 1903 clearly show a tenor with a lot to learn. But learn it he did. His 1904 sessions show a mature artist on par with any heard since. His voice matures before your very ears and by 1910, you wonder if you will ever listen to any other tenor the same way again.

The engineering used for this set is wonderful. There is no attempt at all to use the soundstream process of computer sound enhancement as heard on the RCA issued sets. These are near perfect mint conditioned discs copied by engineer extraordinary Ward Marston. They sound like natural 78s, they way Caruso himself must have heard the playbacks at the (RCA) Victor studios.

Also included are outtakes and extra takes. There is a "Celeste Aida" from 1908, complete with a broken high note, previously released by RCA in a 1973 set commemorating the tenor's centenary birthday. But there are new treasures here as well, including extra takes of two of Caruso's greatest recordings, the Italian song "L'Alba separa dalla l'uce ombra" and an aria from Rubinestine's Nerone. Listening to them, one wonders what Caruso could have possible thought inadquate in those long lost altenative takes.

Finally, there is the simple joy of hearing so many things so well sung. Caruso was the pinnacle of the tenor art.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Alan H. Prichard on March 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This is the best most natural transfer of the historical Caruso recordings. There have been other transfers over the years, including one by RCA many years ago that attempted to take out the horn resonance audio artifact (called Soundsteam processing IIRCC). This was issued on LP only and got mixed reviews at the time. You can't go wrong getting this box set. The only item I'm not sure of is whether the purchaser gets all the liner notes that come in the individual volumes, also on Naxos. The copy I have is of the 12 individual cds, each with a booklet.
A note to all who may purchase this box set: There was a legal case a couple years back in New York State that made it illegal or at least ill-advised for commercial record companies to sell copyrighted recordings in New York State. The companies as a precaution decided not to sell such items anywhere in the USA, so many cds on the Naxos Historical series are only sold in Europe, usually in Great Britain. Note also, the current price of this box set at Amazon.co.uk is some 28 pound sterling before VAT is taken away (buyers outside Europe do not pay the VAT) plus about 3 lb sterling for shipping to the US. So you do the math using the current exchange rate.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alden Small on July 19, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can fill in some information on the boxed set. The 12 disks are each in a paper and glassine envelope. The envelope flap has a light adhesive, so one has to carefully work it open the first time. The box also contains a booklet giving the essential information about each track/recording. This consists of the date and location of the recording session, matrix number, record number if issued, other artists, pianist or conductor, and for some but not all disks, the timing of the track. It is attractive and easy to read.

There is no German. In fact, no narrative, although Ward Marston is briefly mentioned on the back of the box. The commentary by Hugh Griffith is not provided. You can go to the Naxos web site and easily find the page for each disk. On that page is a link "About this recording", which opens to the Griffith commentary, which you can copy. It is worth taking the time to go through this exercise 12 times to get these notes.

The transfers are very fine. I now hear what I am convinced is a truer reproduction than I ever got from my 78s or LPs, and hear a sweeter, more truly tenor voice. Caruso is better than I remembered. Act accordingly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Music Lover on January 8, 2012
Format: Audio CD
These transfers done by Ward Marston are a revelatory joy! In this digital age of super-clean sound, it takes a sensitive ear to listen to, and really appreciate, recordings that were done before the advent of electric recording. Older transfers of Caruso's recordings were ham-fistedly over-processed...like listening to a Victrola underwater! With this superb set, one can hear the power and many nuances of Caruso's incredible voice (though the orchestra, because of analog recording limitations, sounds like they're out in left field!). Close your eyes, listen, and imagine in the mind's ear how it must have sounded to have actually heard Caruso belting it out!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph M. Woodland on March 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the 1990s I purchased RCA's complete Caruso. In what appears to have been a common problem, the discs deteriorated and within 3 years were unplayable. So, recently, when I saw that Naxos had released a complete Caruso for half of what I paid for the RCA, I jumped at the chance. I am so glad I did. Ward Marston's remastering of the original discs is superb, catching a quality of sweetness in the great tenor's voice (even in late recordings) that the RCA remastering did not even hint at. As to the recordings themselves-well, they are Caruso, the most influential tenor of the last century. Whether early or late, the singing is magnificent, the voice utterly unique. I would recommend to any voice enthusiast to snap this set up while it is still available.
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Topic From this Discussion
Is this part of the recordings found under the Paris Opera House late 2007?
No, Caruso first recorded in Milan in 1902. All of his known recordings have been issued on the Naxos label in 2004.
Jun 18, 2010 by John L Frigo |  See all 3 posts
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