Jussi Björling Society - USA

 

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Björling Rarities: A Challenge
By Cantor Don Goldberg

It’s exasperating to continually read of the existence of one or the other of Jussi Björling’s missing performances. Some do turn up, but most have never appeared on any private issue and never will- because they simply don’t exist! The infamous 1955 Callas-Björling Il Trovatore no longer exists- if it ever did; the 1957 Cerquetti-Björling Un Ballo in Maschera once offered to Cerquetti by someone in Chicago was a hoax; and no, music critic Claudia Cassidy’s collection contains none of the three Aidas Björling sang in one week in 1958.

Also not in existence is Jussi’s Don Giovanni "Dalla sua pace," Hildach’s "Lenz," "Hills" by LaForge, or Jussi’s 1938 Madama Butterfly "Addio fiorito asil." And no, Björling’s performance of the Werther "Pourquoi me reveiller" at the Dominican College of San Rafael, California in 1949 doesn’t exist either. Who would have preserved it and on what machine?

Also, don’t expect to hear Jussi’s Andrea Chenier "Improviso," his Elijah "If with all your hearts," or the Liszt Faust Character in Three Pictures from the Seattle Music Hall of November 27, 1939.

If any of these and more had existed, they would have been found and released by now. Of course I know that someone will respond "I have such and such a performance!" If so, I would be happy to examine its bona fides in my capacity as an official representative of the Jussi Björling Museum in Borlänge, Sweden. If you believe that you have one of the missing Björling rarities, then by all means let’s investigate.

Send me a copy, and Harald Henrysson, curator of the Björling Museum, and I will authenticate it. It will become part of the Museum’s archives but will not be released without your permission. You can contact me by telephone at 516-623-3033 from Sunday through Thursday 7PM - 10PM New York City time. Or write to me, Cantor Don Goldberg, 2119 Kirkwood Avenue, Merrick, New York 11566-3912.