I want to mention one other thing: recordings, and my passion for them. We can learn a lot from recordings – repertory, performance traditions and standards, echoes of bygone styles. There are some major reissue folks working in the US nowadays, and for my money the best, when it comes to vocal recordings (and piano recordings, too) is Ward Marston, of West Chester, PA, esteemed proprietor of Marston Records (and, on the side, a fabulous jazz pianist). You may check out Ward’s catalog here. (In the interest of full disclosure I have helped him find a few records here and there, and I have contributed to the [pending] publication of a Tristan that I hope will emerge from the vault before too long.)

What has me all fired up today is a new collection of all the known recordings of the distinguished Chicago-born French baritone Arthur Endrèze (1893-1975) – five generously-filled CDs with copious notes and discographic details that document and preserve an art and style of singing that is, alas, almost totally lost to us, but for records like these. Marston merits support, these limited-edition releases are competitively priced, and I urge all music lovers who care about this sort of thing to check out his offerings. (In the future I will try to supply links so readers may sample the recordings cited here.)