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The Record of Singing is a compilation of classical-music singing from the first half of the 20th century, the era of the 78-rpm record.
It was issued on LP by EMI, successor to the British company His Master’s Voice — perhaps the leading organization in the early history of audio recording.
The project was accompanied initially by two illustrated books, containing singers‘ biographies and appraisals, which were published in London, by Duckworth, in the late 1970s. It covers the period running from circa 1900, when the earliest recordings were made, through until the early 1950s, when the last 78-rpm records were produced. Singers are divided into groups arranged according to national ’schools‘ and fach or voice type. In practice, this means that there are separate Italian, German, French, Anglo-American and East European classifications.
Rather than concentrating on famous singers whose recordings are widely available elsewhere, The Record of Singing includes a large number of lesser-known artists in order to give a broad picture of the contemporary operatic world. Vocal artists of such lasting renown as Enrico Caruso, Nellie Melba, Titta Ruffo, Feodor Chaliapin, Kirsten Flagstad, Rosa Ponselle and Maria Callas are thus represented but by only a few recordings in each case. Nonetheless, no such compilation can ever be exhaustive in scope, and the project has been criticised from time to time since its initial release for overlooking a few important singers who, while largely forgotten today, were highly talented performers who once enjoyed substantial careers and made records of enduring artistic merit.

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