One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
(New titles - January)


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág

Best Seller

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Paris Days, Berlin Nights
1. Elle fréquentait la rue Pigalle (1939) [4:54]
Michel EMER (1906-1984)
2. L'Accordéoniste [6:06]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
3. Surabaya Johnny (1929) and Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (1928) [9:50]
Hanns EISLER (1898-1962)
4. Der Graben [4:55]
5. Über den Selbstmord [2:54]
6. Ballade vom Wasserrad (1934) [4:25]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
7. La última grela [7:06]
8. Oblivion (1982) [4:54]
9. Yo soy Maria (1968) [3:17]
Nikita BOGOSLOVSKY (1913-2004)
10. Temnaya Noch (c. 1943) [5:53]
Chava ALBERSTEIN (c. 1947)
11. Ikh shtey unter a Bokserboym [6:33]
12. Stiller Abend [5:59]
Jacques BREL (1929-1978)
13. Ne me quitte pas [5:25]
Ute Lemper (vocals)
Vogler Quartet (Tim Vogler (violin), Frank Reinecke (violin), Stefan Fehlandt (viola), Stephan Forck (cello))
Stefan Malzew (piano, accordion and clarinet)
All arrangements by Stefan Malzew
Full texts with English translations provided.
rec. 19-21 February 2012, Konzertkirche, Neubrandenburg, Germany

Experience Classicsonline

There are few better artistes on the stage today that can hold an audience in the palm of their hands than German chanteuse Ute Lemper.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending a Lemper concert held at the Royal Northern College of Music Theatre, Manchester. As part of her 2012 ‘Last Tango in Berlin’ tour Lemper was accompanied only by pianist Vana Gierig and Marcelo Nisinman on bandoneón. The packed Manchester audience sat enthralled under the spell cast by this exceptionally talented cabaret singer. Like many of her fans in the audience I became captivated by Ute Lemper in the late 1980s with her recordings of German cabaret songs from the Weill-Brecht era. Seeing her live in concert was like fulfilling a long-held ambition in the manner of a ‘bucket list’ of things to do before one dies. 
The next best thing to seeing Lemper perform live is to listen to her on CD. I welcome her latest offering titled Paris Days, Berlin Nights released on the Steinway & Sons label. The disc has 13 tracks but we hear 14 cabaret songs as track 3 is a pair of Weill songs. The sung words are in six different languages and the music comes from the pens of an international cast of composers.
The German-born songstress now based in the USA is joined on this recording by her German compatriots the celebrated Vogler Quartet together with the multi-talented instrumentalist Stefan Malzew on piano, accordion and clarinet. He also prepared the arrangements. 

Édith Piaf’s singing of the French songs epitomises the smoky world of chanson de cabaret. Concerning a prostitute walking the seedy Rue Pigalle with the excess of her life indelibly etched on her face the song Elle Fréquentait la Rue Pigalle (Her beat was the Rue Pigalle) is by Louis Maitrier and Raymond Asso. Here Lemper creates a passionate and sultry atmosphere so evocative of the decadent Parisian quarter. Michel Emer’s L’Accordéoniste (The Accordion player) is another forlorn tale about a prostitute who falls in loves with an accordionist. This is a generally upbeat song with Lemper producing strong elements of tension and apprehension. With music and words by Jacques Brel Ne me quitte pas (Do not leave me)is an intense love song with the unhurried Lemper repeatedly pleading “Do not leave me now.”
Lemper has chosen a number of songs that exemplify the decadence of Berlin Kabarett scene in the Weimar Republic years. It is not difficult to imagine the bawdy smoke-filled cabaret rooms of Berlin between the wars. A splendid collaboration by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, Surabaya Johnny is a popular song from the 1929 musical comedy Happy End. As Lillian who is disappointed that her abusive lover Surabaya Johnny has told her lies and has gone back to a life of crime Lemper is deeply intense amid the appealing and near-hypnotic rhythms. Continuing straight on the same track is the justly celebrated Die Moritat vom Mackie Messer (Mack the Knife) from Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) also by Weill and Brecht. Lemper introduces the gangster Mackie Messer (aka Mack the knife) who steals, commits murder, arson and rape. Noticeable here is the striking clarinet part played by Stefan Malzew. Tragedy imbues Der Graben (The Trenches) by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Tucholsky. Here Lemper poignantly expresses a mother’s heartbreaking love for her son who has been conscripted into the army only to die in the trenches. Next Hanns Eisler collaborates with Bertolt Brecht in Über den Selbstmord (On suicide). Singing in English Lemper creates a dark and achingly sad atmosphere around the text that deals with committing suicide by throwing themselves off bridges into rivers. Next another Eisler and Brecht song, Die Ballade vom Wasserrad (The Ballad of the Millwheel) taken from the play Schweyk im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Schweik in the Second World War). In the rather puzzling and lengthy text it seemed to me that the constantly revolving millwheel serves as a metaphor for mankind’s propensity for lifelong conflict. Lemper moulds a dour and uncompromising character to the song that cleverly builds in weight and emotional tension. 

Ástor Piazzolla’s tango music seems enduringly popular easily embodying the mystery and seduction of seedy backstreet bordellos in the Argentinean seaports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. To a text by Horacio Ferrer the first Piazzolla song La última grela (The Last Bordello Prostitute) is rhythmic and darkly disquieting. To her own English text Lemper is sensuous and stiflingly sultry with the captivating melody of Piazzolla’s amorous Oblivion. Buoyant and briskly rhythmic Yo soy María (I am Maria) from the tango opera María de Buenos Aires to a Ferrer text, Lemper depicts a bawdy nightclub singer who feels invincible when dancing the tango.
From the time of the horrors and depravations experienced in Russia during the Second World War Nikita Bogoslovsky (given as Bogolovsky on the CD) has penned a compellingly beautiful song Temnaya Noch (Dark is the Night). Vladimir Agatov’s text relates the tale how a young Russian soldier about to go into combat in the Steppe at night is expressing his heartrending feelings to his wife and baby. Lemper seems very much at home in the Russian song painting a poignant world of darkness and melancholy. Here I was especially impressed by the playing of the prominent string quartet part and Malzew’s haunting clarinet. 

Controversial Polish born, Israeli singer and composer Chava Alperstein is famous for writing socially conscious songs. Justly renowned are her evocative Yiddish settings Ikh shtey unter a Bokserboym (I stand beneath a Carob tree)and Stiller Abend (Silent Night). To what was to me an unfathomable text Ikh shtey unter a Bokserboym (I stand beneath a Carob tree)the expressive Lemper produces a sense of aching nostalgia. Here Malzew’s clarinet imbues a distinct feel of the Jewish klezmer to the proceedings. In Stiller Abend (Silent Night) Lemper starts off singing in English and continues in Yiddish. With writing that gradually increases in tempo and intensity I was struck by Malzew’s klezmer clarinet solo. 

On Paris Days, Berlin Nights the engineers for Steinway & Sons are in fine form: highly satisfying. I am pleased to report that full texts with English translations are provided. The minor issues that no track timings are provided and that the booklet notes are extremely poor are really the only faults.
This is Lemper the mature performer presenting a collection of cabaret songs that with two or three exceptions is not as commercial as some of her previous releases. On the whole the selections do not demonstrate their quality straightaway and will require repeated plays to grow on the listener. Lemper uses the more intimate accompaniment of only four/five players as opposed to the more traditional jazz ensemble that she used on her earlier releases. As a multilingual artiste it is typical of Lemper to sing in a number of languages; even switching tongue mid-song. Given the ease with which Lemper can steamily ramp-up the sex appeal it’s not difficult to imagine this Münster-born temptress as a film actress. With her assured, smoky-toned voice and elevated talent for expression one gets a strong sense that Lemper is not only performing her songs, she is virtually living them.  

Michael Cookson 


































































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.