The recordings of Enrico Caruso are a milestone in the history of recordings and music alike. Hailed as a genius in his own time by the greatest conductors and audiences alike, he has become the paragon for the lirico-spinto tenor. His career fell into three distinct parts as his voice grew and darkened with age (being a chain smoker may perhaps have had a hand in this as well) but it was always as immediately identifiable as any singer who ever recorded. The present disc is a nice introduction to the great tenor's art, comprising good transfers of his earliest recording sessions in 1902, 1903 and 1904, when the voice was at its purest.
Among the recordings are two accompanied by Francesco Cilèa and Ruggiero Leoncavallo playing their own music. All of the selections are accompanied by piano and the scratch of the original 78s is much in evidence although the ear soon adjusts. No serious collection of vocal music can be said to exist without Caruso and this disc presents him at his freshest.