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Es Lag In Der Luft

Mischa SPOLIANSKY (1899-1985)
Es liegt in der luft
Mir ist so nach dir
Wie werde ich glücklich
Rudolf NELSON (1878-1960)

Wenn du meine Tante Siehst
Peter, Peter
Die Susi blast das Saxophon
Herr Doktor, Herr Doktor
Die Dame von der alten Schule
Ralph BENATZKY (1884-1957)

Ach, Louise
Liebesgeschichten sind moistens nicht war
Es muss was Wunderbares sein
Ich muss wieder einmal in Grinzing sein
Ich Weissen Rössl am Wolgangsee
Werner Richard HEYMANN (1896-1961)

Die Dorfschöne
Irgendwo auf der Welt
Ein Freund. Ein gutter Freund
Liebling, mein Herz
Erst kommt ein grosses Fragezeichen
Friedrich HOLLAENDER (1896-1976)

Oh Mond
Heimat Berlin
Raus mit den Männern aus dem Reichstag
Nimm dich in acht vor blonden Frau’n
Jonny Solang wir jung sind, Madame
Singers; Marlene Dietrich, Blandine Ebinger, Lilian Harvey, Hilde Hildebrand, Greta Keller, Kate Kühl, Lotte Lehmann, Käthe Lenz, Claire Waldoff, Ida Wüst, Curt Bois, Kurt Gerron, Paul Graetz, Max Hansen, Oskar Karlweis, Hubert V Meyerinck, Willy Prager, Raimund Vogel, Otto Wallburg, Comedian Harmonists
Accompanists; Marek Weber and his Orchestra, Oscar Joost and his Orchestra, Lewis Ruth Band, Paul Godwin and his Orchestra, Peter Kreuder and his Orchestra, Ufa Jazz orchestra, Sid Kays Fellows, Weintraubs Syncopators, Friedrich Hollaender (piano), Rudolf Nelson (piano) Fritz Freed (piano) Wilhelm Grosz (piano), Paul Ulanowsky (piano)
Recorded 1926-40


This well-filled and fascinating disc covers the songs of five of the great Berlin Weimar cabaret composers. All of course had to leave Germany on Hitler’s accession. In some of the cabaret works there was a kind of collective collaboration, with composers – and importantly their poets – joining forces. Some clearly had satiric intent – and these are the ones that are generally remembered - but others were far less politicised and served a more localised sphere of reference. Alongside the grand spectacles in the big Berlin theatres the cabarets flourished in their wake offering spectacle, flesh and music, which was itself a compound of poetry and frequently political satire.

Apart from the five composers we have the galaxy of the singing stars who prowled the basements and cabarets and theatres. Dietrich, of course, is here, first up in Spoliansky, with a vocal ensemble accompanied by a Jazz-Revue band boasting a soprano sax soloist, parlando feline vocals and tongue-twisting duets. Many of the accompaniments feature the modish dance bands of the day with an admixture of hot lick trumpeters piling on the gas in ride-out choruses. Some of the bands are hopeless – the rinky-dink Weintraubs Syncopators fail to live up to their name quite spectacularly – and in the main the models are Red Nichols and Bix Beiderbecke, as was the fashion across Europe at the time. There’s a splendid example of this in Marek Weber’s famous band where pretty good reproductions of Bix, Frankie Trumbauer, trombonist Bill Rank and Adrian Rollini are smartly paraded.

Of the singers we go from one extreme, the single example of Lotte Lehmann in Benatzky’s Ich muss wieder einmal in Grinzing sein to the adenoidal insinuation of the superby sinister Max Hansen. Dietrich is demure, in her early style, in Nelson’s Peter, Peter whilst Kurt Gerron lives up to his reputation as a Weill singer in Herr Doktor, a rather less strident Nelson setting. Hilde Hildebrand cultivates her own special brand of sprachgesang whilst Kate Kühl’s slightly earlier recording of Heymann’s Die Dorfschöne shows more the operetta influence on cabaret chansons. Lilian Harvey is girlish-sounding in her Heymann song, with very romantic band backing that does manage to swing out at the end, and in the earliest of these recordings, the 1926 Hollaender song Oh Mond we can hear Blandine Ebinger’s yearning ingénue voice in its pristine youth. By contrast the diablerie of Claire Waldoff is more than apparent in Hollaender’s Raus mit den Männern aus dem Reichstag. She certainly evokes a leathered palm on the thigh and her Gatling gun roar is enough to shake the very cabaret foundations. After this female Samson we encounter the avuncular roar of Paul Graetz and some seductive Dietrich at last, in Hollaender’s famous Jonny.

The copies used are in generally good condition though Morphium, Ach, Luise and Heymann’s Liebling are in rather rough shape. Notes are appositely sharp and the booklet is nicely laid out and designed. There is a fine panoramic sweep to this cabaret salute.

Jonathan Woolf

See also a double album from this source


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