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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

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Salon Orchestra Favourites IV – German Hit Songs of the 1930s
Werner Richard HEYMANN (1896-1961)
Gibt's Nur Einmal [3.02]
Heut Nacht Ist Mir So O Lálá [2.17]
Es Führt Kein Andrer Weg Zur Seligkeit [4.06]
Irgendwo auf der Welt [5.13]
Liebling, Mein Herz Läßt Dich Grüßen [4.26]
Gerhard WINKLER (1906-1977) Frühling in Sorrent [3.08]
Hexentanz [2.42]
Casanova-Lied [1.47]
Portugiesischer Fischertanz [3.05]
Rumänisches Zigeunerfest [5.09]
Der Geige Liebeslied [3.16]
Holländischer Holzschuhtanz [3.04]
Im Harem Sitzen Heulend Die Eunuchen [3.05]
Peter KREUDER (1905-1981)
Gehst Durch All Meine Träume [5.48]
Für eine Nacht Voller Seligkeit [3.31]
Wenn Die Sonne Hinter Den Dächern Versinkt [4.59]
Daran Zerbricht Man Doch Nicht [2.13]
Muß ein Stück Vom Himmel Sein [2.29]
Sag Beim Abschied Leise Servus [2.22]
Annette Postel (vocals)
Salonorchester Schwanen/Georg Huber
rec. Clara-Wieck-Auditorium, Sandhausen, April 2005
NAXOS 8.557768 [65.43]
 



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.

Your enthusiasm 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.

Jonathan Woolf

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