The John McCormack Electric Edition

The John McCormack Electric Edition

Saturday, 1 December 2018 (All day)

The John McCormack Electric Edition

Following a successful fundraising campaign, for the first time ever the complete recorded legacy of this great singer is to be published shortly. Completing a project that began 25 years ago, The John McCormack Electric Edition, a 16-CD box and 100+ page booklet will issue soon. It is limited to 1,000 sets worldwide, many of which are already subscribed. The Electric Edition covers the years 1925-1942 and the early 1904 recordings. It draws from six major collections in Ireland, America, Canada and the UK, and contains over 240 recordings as well as unpublished material and all of the extant radio broadcasts.

Count John McCormack (1884-1945) was Ireland’s greatest musician, believed by many to be the finest lyric tenor of the 20th century. World famous, he was as popular as the Beatles, U2 or Elvis Presley. He made over 600 recordings on shellac 78s. These are slowly but surely deteriorating, but this project will ensure that his complete recordings (1904-1942) are preserved in the best possible sound for future generations, saving an important part of Ireland’s cultural heritage. The recordings cover opera, Irish folk song, popular song, religious music, and songs from Russia, Germany, Italy and France. While reissues of recordings by John McCormack have often appeared in the past, they have too often been poorly transferred and, crucially, played at the wrong speeds. Also, much material of interest has never appeared.

The engineering work has been carried out by the world’s leading sound restorationist, Ward Marston, based in Philadelphia. Mr Marston has won Grammys for his work on restoring old recordings of many famous performers, such as Enrico Caruso, Arturo Toscanini and Fernando De Lucia. He has already issued his restorations of McCormack’s other recordings: The Odeon Edition (1906-09, Marston Records) and The Acoustic Edition (1910-24, Naxos Records). The John McCormack Electric Edition will complete the project, and Ward Marston has described it as one of his life’s ambitions, and a labour of love. The booklet with the set will contain seven detailed essays. Gordon Ledbetter, author of two books on McCormack, contributes one (14,000 words), while Michael Aspinall, the pre-eminent authority on bel canto and historic singers of the Golden Age writes about McCormack’s records and singing style (12,000 words). Five essays are also reprinted, with permission, from the famous 1946/7 Capuchin Annual.

This is not a profit-making venture. It is being funded by subscription in order to cover the cost of producing the set. So far, several hundred subscribers from 12 countries around the world have joined.

The set will be released and posted to subscribers before Christmas, and makes the perfect present for a music-loving family member. Anyone subscribing before then is entitled to a special-offer price, saving €60 on the post-publication cost (reduced from €159.95 + P&P to €99.95 + P&P). Limited numbers remain, but the set will only be issued once. To subscribe to the 16-CD John McCormack Electric Edition, visit .


Published on 14 September 2018

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