Grace Moore was a rebel. A girl from Jellico, TN, who idolized Amelita Galli-Curci, Moore was seemingly on the right track for someone interested in teaching voice, studying at the Wilson-Greene School of Music in Maryland in a program sponsored by Giovanni Martinelli. Nevertheless, she ran away to New York, settled in a low-rent apartment and took parts in Broadway productions, unwittingly becoming a Broadway star in the process. In Moore's era, this would have normally prevented the opera career that she might have wanted, but it didn't work out that way, as Moore made her Met debut in La bohème on February 7, 1928. Ultimately, "The Tennessee Nightingale" conquered the movies, radio, and might have made a splash in television had she not been killed in an air crash on the runway in Copenhagen on January 26, 1947. Moore's memory has not been well served on CD reissues; this is partly due to the relative paucity of recordings she made and the fact that her reputation hasn't survived as well as, say, that of Kirsten Flagstad or even that of her idol Galli-Curci.
Pearl's Grace Moore: Love Me Forever is the only readily available disc that is devoted entirely to Moore, and it is a good one to have, as the transfers were made by Seth B. Winner, universally acknowledged as one of the best 78 transfer engineers in the business. Starting off with a few pop Broadway tunes recorded at the start of her career and moving through her movie songs, opera arias, and art songs, Grace Moore: Love Me Forever helps establish Moore's primacy as one of the very first classical crossover artists. Her pronunciation of Romance languages may be somewhat Americanized, but after awhile the listener does not care. Moore's singing is fresh, spring-like, and the charm of her personality commends itself, although she did have a dark side that is captured well in her emotionally powerful rendering of Vissi d'Arte for Decca in 1937. Although Moore sang in movie theaters during World War II because "I want to appear before the real American public while my voice is still good and not wait until I'm through," it appears that in her case, the later the recording, the better she sounds. Many of the later tracks on Grace Moore: Love Me Forever are RCA Victor studio recordings that were never released, presumably as the artist decided not to pass them -- despite her harsh judgment, they are stunning performances. Just listen to her "L'Absence" from Les Nuits d'Été and you will be a believer. Grace Moore: Love Me Forever may be the only game in town in representing this soprano on CD, but at the very least it is one where the listener comes out the winner.