25 February 2008

Musical Monday

I wonder how many of you will know this one?
This LP (long playing record for you young ones) came to us with my Father-in-law's collection.

John Charles Thomas (1891 - 1960) was a famous American baritone. His father was a Methodist minister and for a while he wanted to be a preacher as well, but later became interested in medicine. He had entered college to study homeopathy, but was offered a scholarship to the conservatory of music at the same time. He flipped a coin, and music one!

His first New York stage appearance was in "The Peasant Girl" where he stole the show. He went on to appear in Gilbert & Sullivan shows, and various pre-war operettas, but his preference was for concerts.

Hi first concert was in 1918. In 1924, he appeared in his first opera - "Aida"- which was followed by a concert tour, to earn enough money to study in Europe.

He had a contract in Brussels from 1925 until 1930 when he returned to America.

His repertoire embraces all fields - ballads, folk songs, art songs, operettas and opera. He has a rich baritone voice, a command of various dialects, and superb diction in all languages.

This album features some of his performance favourites: Oh, what a Beautiful Morning; Ol' Man River; Annie Laurie; The Green-Eyed Dragon; Steal Away; The Lord's Prayer and I Hear America Singing (a Cantata base on Poems of Walt Whitman).

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