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Flury, a music librarian and discographer from New Zealand, has compiled a discography of recorded works by composer Giacomo Puccini. The composer's famous operas have been exhaustively recorded; Flury's organization of such a vast quantity of sound recordings into a coherent and useful product rivals one of the labors of Hercules. The discography consists of 'commercial audio recordings in disc format,' with noncommercial recordings admitted at the compiler's discretion. Even this choice of criteria does not cut the number of qualifying recordings significantly. Listed, for example, are over 450 complete recordings of La Boheme, with about 200 additional recordings of 'Musetta's Waltz.' The operas are arranged by title, with chapters listing other vocal music, chamber music, instrumental music, and miscellanea. Discographical data are clearly presented and follow the standards of such data presentation in, e.g., James Creighton's Discopaedia of the Violin, 1889-1971 (1974) and Ellingtonia: The Recorded Music of Duke Ellington and His Sidemen (5th ed., CH, Jul'08, 45-5911; 3rd ed., CH, Mar'89, 26-3826). Flury previously wrote Pietro Mascagni: A Bio-Bibliography (CH, Jul'01, 38-5900). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Comprehensive music collections; graduate students, researchers, and faculty. (CHOICE)
Giacomo Puccini: A Discography is one of the most massive undertakings of its type, an over 900-page, 5½-pound volume listing nearly 10,000 recordings. . . . The Puccini discography project began as a desire to know how many recordings had been made of the aria “Nessun dorma” from Turandot but, to the author’s surprise, no single available source could answer his inquiry. A ten-year project ensued, resulting in this comprehensive Puccini discography. On 9 December 1941 Cebotari recorded another group of Bohème excerpts with Helge Rosvaenge, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and Karl Schmitt-Walter, with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hanns Steinkopf. Flury gives a complete list of the excerpts that were recorded, and lists three Preiser CD releases as though each contains all of the excerpts (entry 4.326). ... [T]he wealth of extremely reliable information in this discography will make it an essential resource for serious opera collectors and music libraries. Giacomo Puccini: A Discography is a major piece of research, and is highly recommended. (ARSC Journal)
I heartily recommend Flury’s book to any institution that has an interest in the history of operatic recordings. It should also be made known to collectors of operatic recordings, since they are the users who will spend hours looking through this fascinating compilation―and will then go broke trying to locate copies of those obscure recordings of which they had been unaware. Now, who will take on Verdi and Wagner? (Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association)
Giacomo Puccini: A Discography rightfully deserves to take its place in music libraries as a resource for future Puccini research, joining the work of Hopkinson, Kaye, Greenwald, Fairtile, and Schickling. It will serve as an essential guide for scholars, collectors of sound recordings, and as a welcome companion for those of us who are fans of Puccini, and who are no longer afraid to admit it. (Music Reference Services Quarterly)
The amount of detail in the operas is astonishing―full names with roles; labels with issue numbers and matrix numbers; recording dates; and reissues in all formats. ... The book[s]. . . layout is attractive. (Fanfare Magazine)
His work in this discography is a model for any researcher considering similar work, and the fruit of this labor of love is an essential holding for any music collection. (Fontes Artis Musicae)
This work is highly recommended for comprehensive music research libraries. (American Reference Books Annual)
Giacomo Puccini : A Discography is a work which will be frequently referenced. It is an example of solid research , in which detailed data are presented clearly. The book offers a comprehensive , usable and useful overview of the history recording of Puccini's work and belongs in the library of every opera lover. (Opera Nederland)
Roger Flury has worked for more than 30 years in music libraries in Britain and New Zealand. He is president of the International Association of Music Libraries and has recorded over 100 programs for Radio New Zealand.