By Clarkspur Emden
Sources Merit Contribution to Vocal Music Legacy Post Scripts
Over a period of 40 years (1960-2000) Dario Vanni recorded the content of The Vintage Vanni Series. They are all vintage in the sense of (a) the recordings are ten to forty years old, (b), the music performed varies anywhere from the 1600s to the 1990s, and (c), the recording methodology pre-dates the digital era.
Most of these recordings were never intended for public release. They were arranged and recorded by the artist as models for his “live” performances, that, in those days, could have meant an opera stage, concert performance, a Broadway musical, or a luxury supper club. The commercial availability, for which, today, we are most grateful, came about by the encouragement of friends, particularly one Lourdes Tirador-Rabago, an accomplished singer and musician in her own right. In 2008, upon hearing some of Dario’s earlier works, Ms. Tirador-Rabago felt it an injustice not to share these marvelous recordings with the world. An industrious work plan was set up by Dario who painstakingly went through thousands of feet of reel-to-reel tape to rescue these recordings. Many were in various states of decomposition. Some had tape drop-out because the oxide coating on the tape had begun to disintegrate, splices broke because the original masters were “seconds”, (tapes which probably came recycled from recording studios), track separation in some cases was impossible because the originals were recorded monophonically. Warp, wow, flutter, tape-stretch and other maladies threatened the project.
Technical Sources: The original recordings were made on machines ranging from Ampex studio professional machines, Concertone 1501s, a pro Willie Studer Revox to a Roberts 990. Re-mixing was challenging as the originals had to be “ironed out” by being carefully played on a Technics 1506 tape transport. This was because the 1506 has an extended threading-loop system and allowed the tape to gain smooth momentum before entering the tape heads. The master was then recorded onto a digital hard-drive unit such as a Fostex D-160 or Tascam SX-1. From there, the recording was mixed via a Tascam mixing board and mastered on a Marantz Professional CDR-500. So, as one can see, the process employed from the golden treasure found in the storage vaults to your CD player was a long and work-intensive journey. But we are all grateful. Many of the recordings turned out stellarly.
Musical Sources: Dario Vanni is, by nature, eclectic. He is also a musical anomaly. On one hand, he was operatically trained and had listened to his mother’s gorgeous operatic voice ring through the pine tree forests from as early as he can recall—but he was equally exposed (via an alcoholic father) to the wonderful hit parade emanating from jukeboxes and radios throughout the 1940s and early 50s. These two educational sources would never collide for Dario, but blend in to become part and parcel of not only his musical-vocal heritage, but these two opposite poles would produce a legacy of outstanding vocal performances, one, seemingly, complementing the other.
Contribution to Vocal Music Legacy: What does another voice say to us that never grows old? How are we moved by someone’s musical discography and or musical-emotional delivery? And how does the sum total contribute to the whole of countless volumes of vocally recorded music? It is true so many who aspire to be fine singers, performers, vocalists, song writers, etc., have very little to contribute to the world of music. They are most often un-original imitators, following the current fad, or simply limited in creativity and imagination—not to mention talent! I think what makes a worthwhile legacy can be found in the bottom line: do you feel good when you hear Dario Vanni sing? Are you moved, satisfied, wish you could sing like that, or are simply transported by the singer? Can one appreciate the many years one prepares to be able to sing as he does? The key words, after discussing this matter with Dario, are focus and discipline. Who today is willing to spend three or four years learning the fundamentals of one’s craft and then go into the world, but never stop learning and growing? There is no short cut to the learning curve of vocal-musical attainment. It never ends.
Perhaps another aspect of Dario Vanni’s musical legacy is the fact that he became a true professor of voice and music, taught the subject of voice building, and served as vocal coach for many who would, in later years, become notable professionals. He also introduced seminars (and still does) in the power of music and emotions and the therapeutic results people gain in these wonderful sessions. All of this is relevant, in my mind, to significant contribution of the whole of one’s life output. So, in summing it up, this artist has left us with a legacy on several layers, all relevant to the wonderful world of voice and music. C. E.