|Performers||Alma Gluck (soprano)
Paul Reimers (tenor)
|Matrix no.||B 15968|
The Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound is on Facebook. Like us to receive updates on news regarding sound and recording history, as well as the activities and events of the Institute.
Alma Gluck and Paul Reimers join forces today to celebrate the Christmas Tree.
Alma Gluck wasn’t supposed to be an opera singer. She was born in Romania as Reba Feinsohn, the youngest of seven children in a Jewish family. Her oldest sister moved to the United States and when Reba was 6 years old, her sister had saved up enough money to get the rest of the family to join her.
Reba thus grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York. She learned shorthand and began working at a law office as a stenographer before she married Bernard Glick in 1902 and became a housewife. The marriage only lasted till 1911, but not before Reba had been discovered as a singing housewife.
The Glicks had a opera interested friend over for dinner, and he happened to hear Reba Glick sing to herself, and recommended that she immediately had to study singing. He arranged a meeting between her and a renowned vocal coach in New York, Arturo Buzzi-Pecci. Buzzi-Pecci was so excited that he gave her singing lessons at a cheap price after his regular office hours.
Through Buzzi-Pecci Glick came in contact with the Metropolitan Opera and debuted in the role of Sofia in Massenet’s Werther in 1909, under the new stage name Alma Gluck. She received critical acclaim for her role, and the New York Times wrote:
There was charm in the fresh light voice of Miss Alma Gluck, who took the part of Sophie with ingenuousness and grace.
New York Times, 17. nov. 1909
But Gluck did not feel at home on the opera stage, she preferred the easiness of recitals, and the style suited her better than the theatrical style of the opera. New York Times wrote after a recital in 1911:
In the few years that [Alma Gluck] has been a member of the opera company, she has won admiration for the beauty of her voice, and the excellence of her style, in parts of a lyric character, to which they are especially suited. Mme. Gluck has also shown intelligence and musical taste.
New York Times, 10. nov. 1911
She became very popular as a concert artist, and could hold as much as 100 recitals each season. Record companies saw the potential in Gluck, and she signed a contract with the Victor label. She soon became a success to the likes of Caruso and McCormack; recordings such as Carry Me Back to Old Virginny and Listen to the Mockingbird sold over a million copies.
She sold so much that if you were to find an old 78 record with Alma Gluck from 1915, you would probably not get much for it if you tried to sell it. Between 1915 and 1919 she earned $600,000 in fees on record sales, an amount equivalent to short of $13 million today. With age, the voice began to fail, and from 1920 onwards she reluctantly cut down on her active singing and eventually retired. But even though she did not sing public, she kept working for musical causes until she died of liver failure in 1938.
Last update: 11.04.2011 12:28. Webmaster
We strive for excellence. Do contact us with comments and suggestions.
©Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound, Bjergsted Terrasse 5a, 4007 Stavanger, Norway. Phone: (+47) 51 83 40 60 / 51 83 40 62