The complete recordings (1913-1964)
31 CD’S (70 euros)

Schipa1  (go to ‘news’ for more info, for ordering send them a mail)

When I bought my very first Tito Schipa (1888-1965) vinyl record (at age 14/Neapolitan songs) I was not really impressed. “Never did a man receive from the muse of song so few means and yet manage, every time, to achieve miracles with them.” It took me another four years to acknowledge the truth in Gianna Pederzini’s description.
Initially I thought part of the timbre strange and still had to acquire a  taste for it. Fourteen-year-olds I guess are in general more impressed with vocal heavyweights meaning in my case Lanza (from TV) and Mario Del Monaco. Yet gradually the Schipa virus began to settle into my hearing device and  as said some 4 years later he belonged to my all-time favourites. The Schipa voice has this magical side-effect : it’s a healing voice. At least it has been a healing voice for me ever since I was bitten by the bug. After a stressful day at school -or later work- Schipa belonged to that handful of voices which was able to ease my nerves, it was a tranquilizer and when needed a sleeping pill. He often transposed and apparently didn’t have a big voice, yet he knew how to project and never forced the voice. And then there was the enunciation, the vocal colouring, elegance and great individuality. He was also a great stylist yet technically not always on the same par with on occasion aspirated semiquavers for instance and Mozart singing (live) which disappoints in a way. Still there are so many other aspects to admire in his singing as can be judged from this CD edition.
At long last a complete Schipa edition on Cd has become available. Really complete? Yes!! I know in most cases singers editions on CD are annoyingly far from complete. Think Corelli on EMI and even Del Monaco on Decca. But this time every single record he made is there.
Schipa3    Schipa4

So if Schipa is one of your desert island singers it’s indeed now time to do away with all your lp and cd releases. The box is simply magnificent and very stylishly done. It contains 31 (!!!!) cd’s with –as said- every note he sang and has been recorded both commercially –even including 2 cd’s with alternate takes- and live starting with the 1934 Metropolitan Don Giovanni to the 1954 L’Elisire d’amore. There’s also a full CD with singing lessons from the great master. Several interviews are also included. The 144 page booklet is a marvel too with all the necessary discography information, loads of photos and a text in both Italian and –yes- English. Only a few –sometimes funny- typos occur such as putting the Metropolitan in ‘Milano’ on page 33.
Schipa5   Schipa6

Now what about the sound quality of the transfers? In general they are really very fine, honest, straightfoward and quite enjoyable, in fact they’re on the same level as and sometimes even much better than  the Preiser releases for instance. Even the Werther excerpts going back as far as 1934 at la Scala live are in amazingly good sound. By the way the house comes down at the end and Gianna Pederzini as Charlotte is a class of her own.

Schipa7  Schipa8  Schipa9

The price is about 70 euros (without postage) which is a mere nothing considering what you actually get for it. So grab the edition while you can as it is apparently selling like hot cakes in Italy itself and it’s very unlikely there ever will be a reprint.
(all photos courtesy Charles Mintzer)