Taking a look at the promotional material for the three previous
issues in this series I see a varying array of musical enchantments.
Volume One encompassed the Skaters’ Waltz and Vienna,
City of My Dreams, whilst Volume Two took in a Blue
Tango and Funiculi, funicula and Belle of the Ball.
Volume Three, not to be outdone, went the whole hog and gave us
Salut d’amour, Humoreske and other fiddle-fanciers’
favourites beloved of the Palm Court. Now here’s volume four and
we plunge into new waters – German popular song of the 1930s,
some Weimar, the majority post-Weimar.
Being a linguist
you will have the titles off pat but even strugglers will
recognise the cod gypsy and Exotic East inclinations of a
number of these tuneful ditties. It’s doubtful though that
the then contemporary BBC would have broadcast a recording
of Im Harem Sitzen Heulend Die Eunuchen.
The salon band
comprises four strings – violins, cello and double bass, clarinet
doubling saxophone, piano, accordion, flute doubling piccolo
and percussion. The Exotic is provided by the musical saw,
an instrument not yet quite consigned to the bowels of Variety
Bandstand (I have actually, in the course of my penitential
reviewing sessions here, reviewed a virtuoso musical saw disc).
The ensemble then
is crisp and lithe and singer and parlando artiste Annette
Postel, who has a background in revue and cabaret, proves
the possessor of a voice that can, in extremis, go very high
indeed. The fare includes Latin-Americana and forlorn love
songs aided by the accordion’s blandishments. Winkler’s Frühling
in Sorrent is a part parlando confessional, yearning and
a touch arch. But his Hexentanz is a Hot Dance Band-influenced
number – no vocal but a musical saw solo and plenty of pizzazz.
There is the Waltz of course, intimations of the ländler and
salon gypsy stuff such as Rumänisches Zigeunerfest by
the same Winkler whose picture postcard portraits of various
countries adds some spice. The Musical Saw solo by the way
is on Heymann’s Es Führt Kein Andrer Weg Zur Seligkeit.
Perhaps as much
interest is generated by the fortunes of the three composers.
Heymann ended up in Hollywood of course where he scored for
plenty of films. His 1950 return to Germany was unsuccessful
and he died in 1961. Lesser known Winkler was a practised
spa and salon conductor and worked for the entertainment arm
of the German forces during the war. Nothing seems to have
diverted him from producing light frolics. Kreuder was a prolific
composer and performer. Though he wrote an opera, light music
was his principal interest. He was in Sweden when War broke
out but a return visit to Berlin saw resumption of his output.
An enthusiastic follower of Eva Peron he followed in her wake
to Argentina. Later still and back in Germany he wrote for
Zarah Leander. The notes are keen to exonerate him from too
much identification with the National Socialists.
for this disc will depend on a liking for a certain amount
of recreated kitsch. As Guild has shown in its own tidal wave
of Light Music discs there still seems to be a nostalgic interest
in this genre and the German branch certainly offered up pleasures
of its own.