Robert Merrill

Robert Merrill on Radio - Unpublished Broadcasts from 1940 to 1946

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Robert Merrill developed a following through his frequent radio broadcasts during WWII. For the sake of popular acceptance, his repertoire was light and unchallenging and mostly consisted of songs from musicals and operettas. Only a small portion of his operatic work was represented on the air, as Merrill was still in the earliest phase of his career. High points include Jerome Kern's "Ol' Man River" and "You Are Love," both given lush arrangements. Sigmund Romberg's "Wanting You" and "Vagabond Song," as well as Franz Lehár's "The White Dove," reflect the era's fondness for operetta, and Merrill's warm voice is effective in this romantic genre. Representing Merrill's classical songbook are popular arrangements of Grieg's "I Love but Thee" and "You and You" from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr. Merrill also delivers a stirring rendition of Gounod's "Avant de quitter" from Faust. Bizet's "Toréador, en garde!" concludes the disc, a glimpse of the brilliant role of Escamillo that Merrill would later make internationally famous. Although the sound quality of these monaural recordings may be palatable only to those accustomed to historical recordings, restorative work has been done to boost the sound wherever possible and minimize noise without sacrificing musical content.