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Al Lareau

A Centennial Celebration Mischa Spoliansky (1898-1985) Cabaret and Film Songs, Dance Music, & Piano Jazz

Produced by Gerhard Zeyen, Alan Lareau, and Werner Unge

A Centennial Celebration Mischa Spoliansky produced by Alan LareauDiscover the work of a major composer of Berlin cabarets, revues, and films during the Twenties: Mischa Spoliansky.

Spoliansky began his cabaret career just after the First World War, in Max Reinhardt's "Schall und Rauch" (Noise and Smoke), and shortly thereafter in Trude Hesterberg's "Wilde Bühne" (Wild Stage). Here he worked with Friedrich Hollaender and Werner Richard Heymann and became an acclaimed composer as well as a pianist and accompanist.

Spoliansky found his ideal lyricist in Marcellus Schiffer, whose verses reflected the "new objectivity" of the day, but also the decadence and neuroses hidden beneath the glittering surface of the "Golden Twenties". Recordings of hits from their revues, starring Blandine Ebinger, Margo Lion, Oscar Karlweis and Willy Prager, capture and preserve this brilliance.

One group of young men in particular caught Spoliansky's attention and learned the ropes in his hit revues Zwei Krawatten (Two Bow-Ties) and Wie werde ich reich und glücklich (How to Be Rich and Happy): the Comedian Harmonists, who would go on to give sensational concert programs that were the rage of Europe.

As a pianist and accompanist, Spoliansky represents the finest in the European musical tradition, while enriching that heritage with a virtuoso talent for improvisation and modern jazz rhythms. In this vein, the CD presents the first German recording of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" from 1927 with Spoliansky at the piano, joined by the Julian Fuhs Orchestra. His art song records with Richard Tauber further attest to Spoliansky's tremendous musical sensibility; the intimate accompaniment is always natural, never forced or ostentatious.

The one-act opera "Rufen Sie Herrn Plim!" (Call Mr. Plim), written for the Berlin Kabarett der Komiker (Comedians' Cabaret), was an artistic experiment which attracted great critical attention. The excerpts offered in this collection, from a broadcast performance on April 14, 1932, are the only surviving live recordings of the cabaret during the Weimar Republic. Spoliansky's success was short-lived, however, for the following March, he and his family barely managed to flee Germany to Austria and then to London.

This collection of historic recordings spans from Spoliansky's first major success, the sultry dance tune "Morphium" of 1920, up to his work for anti-Nazi propaganda broadcasts in the German-language service of the BBC during the Second World War. Many rare recordings from Spoliansky's personal archives are included.

Kehl am Rhein: Archiphon Records, 1998. Distributed by Bear Family Records, Hambergen, Order No. KK003/4.

Theobald Tigers Trichter  ...A Peek into Kurt Tucholsky´s Record Collection...

Produced by Alan Lareau and Gerhard Zeyen

Theobald Tigers Trichter by Alan LareauThis CD highlights a seldom appreciated aspect in the life and work of the German satirist, critic, poet, political journalist, and cabaret author Kurt Tucholsky (1880-1935): his love for the gramophone.

In countless reviews of his favorite performers and authors, Tucholsky (who wrote under the pseudonym Theobald Tiger) displays his pleasure with fresh arrivals of new records, while he describes his admiration for these artists in great detail as well as attacking bad taste in the musical scene of the day. First and foremost, however, Tucholsky shows himself to be a conoisseur of the shellac disc, and occasionally he even finds himself inspired to write his own songs and poems thanks to these recordings.

Building on thorough documentation, Archiphon Records reconstructs Tucholsky´s collection and offers, so to speak, a glimpse into his record cabinet. Those who peruse it with their ears while reading the original commentaries (with kind permission of the Rowohlt Verlag) will get to know and appreciate Kurt Tucholsky from a completely new vantage point.

Kehl am Rhein: Archiphon Records, 1997. Distributed by Bear Family Records, Hambergen, Order No. KK001.

The Wild Stage: Literary Cabarets of the Weimar Republic

by Alan Lareau

The Wild Stage by Al LareauAlan Lareau's The Wild State: Literary Cabarets of the Weimar Republic reconstructs the artistic programs, repertoires, and reception of three famous Kleinkunst stages during the Weimar Republic: Max Reinhardt's Schall und Rauch (1919), Trude Hesterberg's Wilde Buhne (1921), and Werner Finck's Die Katakombe (1929). The Wild Stage explores the wide range of artistic experimentation in these literary locales, from Dadaist puppet plays to improvisational dance, political songs, nonsense poetry, and modern music. Using a wealth of unknown documents, including rediscovered manuscripts, program booklets, professional journals, press clippings, and rare sheet music editions, Lareau captures the brilliance and frustration of these young authors, musicians, and performers struggling to realize their artistic ideals while satisfying the commercial interests of the cabaret managers.


- "Lareau's thorough knowledge of the subject is evident in his attention to detail and his balanced presentation of it. [...] The study is documented throughout with quotations from the programs and other criticism. The ample documentation shows the wealth of information through which Lareau worked to arrive at this readable and engaging book." (Monatshefte 89.3)

- "This volume is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on cabaret." (German Quarterly Fall '96)

- "The style has a lightness of touch appropriate to the subject but the tone is far from bland." (Forum for Modern Language Studies 32.3)

- "The book is to be heartily recommended to readers who may be curious to discover, after all the hype, what really went on in Berlin's cabarets in the Weimar Republic." (Modern Language Review 92.2)

Format:Hardcover, 215pp. ISBN: 1879751860 Publisher: Camden House Pub. Date: January 1995

Barnes and Noble College Textbooks

O La La! Fritzi Massary

produced by Alan Lareau and Gerhard Zeyen

O La La! Fritzi Massary by Al LareauWhen Max Schievelkamp sang the praises of the soubrette in 1920, she was already a Berlin Institution: MASSARY!

When she played a small guest role in Hamburg at the turn of the century, nobody paid much attention to the eighteen-year-old. On her return to Vienna, however, she sang a little ditty in 1902 that grabbed the audience’s attention: “Ich hab’ amal a Räuscherl g’habt”—Once I Got Tipsy... A critic wrote of her performance: “The clever singer performed a charming, new song with unusual style, so masterfully that not a single bit of humor was lost, thanks to the expressive play of her eyes and face.”
And with these words he captured the first traces of the artful performance style which Fritzi Massary (1882-1969) would develop to perfection throughout the following years. She was unique, without peer.

Soon she was the star attraction of Berlin’s famed Metropol revues from 1904 to 1915, singing music by Victor Hollaender and Paul Lincke, and she sparkled in operettas by Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Straus, Jacques Offenbach, Leo Fall, and Johann Strauss, such as The Empress (1915), The Czárdás Princess (1916), or The Last Waltz (1920).

This CD documents the early recordings of Fritzi Massary, which were not made with a modern electric microphone, but instead etched into wax records through an acoustic horn. Thanks to meticulous sound restoration, the surface noise was reduced so carefully that the original sound is preserved to the greatest possible degree. Even though this CD, with its early recording technology and the varying condition of surviving records, may not resemble our modern “digital” expectations, it allows us to witness the development of Fritzi Massary from a promising soubrette to an international star of stage and song. Here is a vital record of Berlin’s glorious days of operetta and popular song, and the spirit that held crowds enthralled.

ISBN NUMMER: 3-89795-791-4; EAN-Code: 4000127000064; Bear Family Records

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