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GREAT SINGERS: From the 17th Century to the Present Day by Kurt Pahlen

GREAT SINGERS: From the 17th Century to the Present Day


Pub Date: July 1st, 1974
Publisher: Stein & Day

Like puffed wheat shot from guns, hundreds of singers' names and glories burst over the reader in hyperbolic cadenzas, presto con amore. An encyclopedic account of vocalism must necessarily skimp here and there, but Great Singers skimps everywhere. Caruso, the longest entry, gets eight pages; Chaliapin, four. Lucky John McCormack gets one paragraph; Hans Hotter, three sentences! Callas fares best of the ladies. Pages are packed with glitter like gossip columns, the reader's attention drawn hither and thither, rarely allowed to settle into any subject for some real feelings instead of fast tags. But the book does cover every facet of the art of singing and has amusing anecdotes. Leo Slezak tells ""an old story about the man who sent his brain to be repaired. . . and then forgot to collect it, because meanwhile his tenor voice had been discovered, so that for the rest of his life the brain wasn't needed any more.