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Klabunterbunt - Chansons, Lieder, Gedichte und Prosa von Klabund (Chansons, Songs, Poetry and Prose of Klabund (Alfred HENSCHKE 1890-1928)
CD 1:  Chansons and Songs [52:27] (composers include: Werner Richard Heymann; Béla Reinitz; Friedrich Hollaender; Jochen Breuer; Hanns Eisler; Edmund Nick; Hannes Wader; Norbert Schultze; Michael Dress)
Altes Reiterlied; Der Glockenturm; Die Garde klagt; Räuber Stenka; Vater ist auch dabei; Mit’n Zopp; Ballade des Vergessens; Ick baumle mit de Beene; Im Obdachlosenasyl; Fünf Mark; Es hat jeschnappt; Matrosenlied; Da Muß ich fliegen; Hamburger Hurenlied; Die Wirtschafterin; Das Lied von der Treue; Wanderung zur Nacht; Wiegenlied; Notabene; Die Harfenjule; Die englischen Fräuleins; In Amsterdam; Ick baumle mit de Beene; Altes Reiterlied
Artists include: Annemarie Hase; Ernst Busch; Kate Kühl; Hanne Wieder; Blandine Ebinger; Hanne Wieder; Hannes Wader; Hermann Prey; Tim Fischer
CD 2:  Poetry and Prose [66:57]
Kleine Sebstbiographie; Der Absolutismus bricht an; Paula; Biographie; Fabel; Das Sprichwort; Weibertreu; Der Mann mit der Maske; Ecke Uhlandstraße; Schlaflose Nacht; Marietta; Marietta; Mauke; Fragen Sie Frau Christine; Es hat ein Gott mich ausgekotzt; Klabund bermerkte; Lebenslauf; Berliner Mittelstandsbegräbnis; Widmung
EDEL KULTUR/AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE 0014682BCB [52:27 + 66:57]

 

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It’s the eightieth anniversary of Klabund’s death, a very timely moment to release this, a fascinating portrait of one of the driving forces for German Cabaret music during its heyday.  Edel, in conjunction with the Akademie der Künst, has been releasing listenable portraits of Cabaret greats for some ten years now with their series ‘The Listening Room’. These are two-disc surveys of vintage recordings of the likes of Friedrich Hollaender, Werner Richard Heymann and Rudolf Nelson, all painstakingly cleaned up, with extensive liner-notes - albeit with abbreviated English translations. 

Klabund, born Alfred Henschke, never enjoyed good health in his adolescent and adult years, and tuberculosis claimed him at an early age.  He ceased his studies to take up the role of peregrinating poet, taking up his pseudonym as a combination of Klabautermann, the traditional gremlin that was known to plague mines and ships, and Vagabond  His poetry turned from the lofty topics that some ivory-tower types busied themselves with and chose instead to focus on everyday life.  He wanted, as he said to “be in the ‘it’ of things.” In the meadowland of life, as the liner-notes mention, he wanted to be of use:  “I am the manure!” he joyfully exclaimed. 

Those who set his words to music are the stars of the German music firmament:  Werner Richard Heymann, Friedrich Hollaender, Hanns Eisler.  The first disc is devoted to these musical settings, the earliest of these recorded in 1930, ranging to 2004, with most put to tape in the sixties. An especial standout is the stout-hearted performance of Kate Kühl singing “Der Glockenturm”.  Heymann’s setting borrows heavily from the famous entry of the piano in Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, but darkens as the lyrics do.  The speaker “stands free in the world like the bell-tower ... moving neither to left or right.”  The ten-thousand-pound bells become a symbol for deep suffering in this all-too brief song:  “so heavy with pain is my heart”, Kuhl blurts out, the emotion in her voice raw and electrifying. There is one song translated into English, Amsterdam, showing the sad recurrence of crushed dreams in those Klabund wrote of — the people of the streets.  “In ancient Amsterdam I have become a Thing”, the singer intones, another character left to walk the asphalt like his mother. 

The second disc is a sort of audio book, with various actors narrating a selection of his prose and poetry.  His brief autobiographical sketches are interesting, and here we have straight readings of the verses that captured the attention of so many composers.  Unfortunately there are no parallel texts in the booklet, or any translations into English, which does limit the impact of this second disc, but it appears that the non-German-speaking audience is not the particular target of this release.  For those, however, who have working knowledge of German and who have a love of Cabaret music, should certainly look out for this set, as well as the others issued by Edel.  They are greatly rewarding and historically-significant collections.

David Blomenberg

 

 


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