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Latest Issue

Giuseppe Kaschmann

Giuseppe Kaschmann

The final issue of Volume 62 is devoted to one of the greats of the so-called "Golden Age". The baritone Giuseppe Kaschmann (1850-1925) is considered by collectors as quintessentially Italian, but he was, in fact, born in Mali Lošinj, Croatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He went on to have a great career, one which paralleled that of Mattia Battistini, with whom he was frequently compared. Both baritones sang a wide variety of bel canto roles though Kaschmann's repertoire extended more into Wagnerian roles than did his great colleague. Also, with Battistini, Kaschmann was considered for the creation of Iago by Verdi but the role was given to Maurel, who was possibly the greater actor.  Kaschmann went on to have great success in his own right, covering a wide repertoire of roles in many of the great houses of the world. He will go down in operatic history as the creator of Franchetti's Cristoforo Colombo and a number of religious works

It is to be regretted that his recorded legacy is pitifully small: only five sides for G&T in October 1903. Thank goodness for the discovery of another three sides recorded for Edison in 1910, all unpublished, but available on CD reissue. Thus we can assess his worth for ourselves.

Our second article covers a tenor whose life and career has remained, until now, little known. Peter Raicev's (1887-1960) records are models of great taste and exquisite vocalism and are greatly sought after by admirers of that voice. In his native Bulgaria he achieved the status of a household name and the civic authorities in Varna named a street after him.

Raicev's career, like Kaschmann's, took him to the premier houses of the world, where his lovely lirico spinto voice was greatly appreciated. As his career wound down he became the Director of the National Opera in Sofia. In that capacity he saved the day by substituting for an ailing tenor as Canio when in his 70th year. Thankfully, unlike Kaschmann, he left a large legacy of nearly 150 recordings for a number of companies.

The article has been written by that great tenor collector and enthusiast Alan Bilgora, whose writings frequently grace these pages. In addition to the biography Alan assesses many of the tenor's recordings and, after the exercise, remained as enthusiastic about Raicev as when he started! The discography, the work of many hands, has been greatly augmented by Dave Mason for this publication. We hope that collectors will discover for themselves the great art of this fine singer.

This is a very full and fascinating issue indeed. In addition, we bring an article about Melba's recordings by Roger Neill and another article by Alan Bilgora, who reminisces about his early days of record collecting. Such memories, which Alan describes modestly as "ramblings", need to be preserved for the collecting fraternity.

We believe this is one of our best issues yet and one appropriate to close out our 71st year of continuous publication.

Please see our "Subscriptions" page for special offers for new subscribers.

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