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Cover
Harold Arlen / Giaocchino Rossini / Friedrich Silcher / Walter Jurmann / Dvoriák / Albrecht Marcuse / Leusner / Peter Igelhoff / Kastilien E. Bootz / Friedrich Hollaender / Cole Porter / Herman Hupfeld / Sten Axelson / Christian Bollmann / Ludwig Schmidseder / Rolf Marbot

Frommermann

Music of the Comedian Harmonists

€ 19.95
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  • Type SACD
  • Label Channel Classics
  • UPC 0723385268079
  • Catalog number CCS 26807
  • Release date 27 September 07

About the album

Frommermann: creator of European voice theatre With the American soldiers who as from 1916 joined the armed forces on the European battle fields came a style of music that was new to Europe: jazz. After the war ended (November 1918) the population was desperate for entertainment. They found it in the lively dixieland, the charleston and other forms of the New Orleans jazz, and in latin-American variations such as the rumba. Songs sung in close harmony became popular as well, both spirituals and songs with wordly lyrics. The records and performances of the five-member a cappella singing group The Revelers, with songs like OlMan river and When Yuba played the rumba on the tuba was widely appreciated in Europe. After listening to a record in 1927 and hearing the perfect part-song and the catchy music, the 21 year-old stage actor Harry Frommermann became so enthused that he decided to form a similar group, with German repertoire. He smelled success in a city where light opera, revues and caberets provided colourful entertainment. He used his last money to place an advertisement for an audition. Out of over seventy candidates, only one proved to be suitable, an excellent base, the 25 year-old Robert Biberti. A beautiful tenor auditioned, as well, 23 year-old Dutchman Johan Heesters, but he pulled out, because there was no money to be made in the near future. Biberti, who was a choir singer with the Grosse Schauspielhaus in Berlin, recommended two choir colleagues, the Polish baritone Roman Cycowski and the Bulgarian tenor Ari Leschnikoff; the latter would bring a legendary glow to the group as the first tenor, with his famous high, silver sound. Leschnikoff knew a good pianist, Erwin Bootz. He revealed himself as a masterly arranger, as well. Bootz brought along a beautiful second tenor, Erich Collin. They made up the group that presented itself as the Comedian Harmonists. Frommermann filled in the third tenor part. He was the only one without vocal training; according to Bootz he had more of a speaking voice. The young men in their twenties must have been idealists, because began by intensively studying for eight months to master their part-song and their repertoire, not during the day, but at night between 12 and 4, as they held all kinds of jobs during the day besides choir singing. The famous movie star Asta Nielsen made her house available for their rehearsals. The succeeded as a group to get a contract with one of the Berlin revues. Frommermanns venture was a lucky one: their rhythmic, lively songs, the entertaining way in which they imitated musical instruments and their smooth presentation were a huge hit. This voice theatre was a novelty to the public. 

Unlike their example The Revelers, who opted for a more soulful delivery, the Harmonists sang their songs with classic charm and beauty. Recordings followed immediately. A year and a half after they had started their nightly rehearsals, the Comedian Harmonists presented themselves independently with a full evenings entertainment all of Germany turned out for. As from then they performed in dress suits. The public lapped up their songs like Veronika, der Lenz ist da, Mein kleiner grner Kaktus, or Schne Isabella von Kastilien. Abroad, at first in the Netherlands in November 1930, their success was huge as well. With a look of pride in their eyes, the six musicians were photographed inVolendam in a fishermans attire, with wooden shoes! They had a very prominent fan, the director of the Concertgebouw-orchestra, Willem Mengelberg. He invited the group to perform at a dinner in the Amstel Hotel on Sunday 29 March 1931. In the afternoon, the maestro had directed the St Matthew Passion and at night he was entertained by the songs from the Berlin singers.Endearing to see Mengelbergs joy and the friendly way he interacted with the group, wrote committee member De Booij in his diary.....

  • 1
    1
    Veronika, der Lenz ist da
    Composer: Walter Jurmann
     
    02:43
  • 1
    2
    Eine kleine Frühlingsweise
    Composer: Dvoriák
     
    02:49
  • 1
    3
    Ouverture Barbier von Sevilla
    Composer: Gioacchino Rossini
     
    04:59
  • 1
    4
    Mein kleiner grüner Kaktus
    Composer: Albrecht Marcuse
     
    02:15
  • 1
    5
    Stormy Weather
    Composer: Harold Arlen
     
    04:14
  • 1
    6
    Ali Baba
    Composer: Leusner
     
    03:34
  • 1
    7
    In einem kühlen Grunde
    Composer: Friedrich Silcher
     
    02:52
  • 1
    8
    Als ik weer zin heb om te zingen
    Composer: Peter Igelhoff
     
    02:48
  • 1
    9
    Wir sind von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt
    Composer: Friedrich Hollaender
     
    03:15
  • 1
    10
    Schöne Isabella von Kastilien
    Composer: Kastilien E. Bootz
     
    03:34
  • 1
    11
    Morgen muss ich fort von hier
    Composer: Harold Arlen, Giaocchino Rossini, Friedrich Silcher, Walter Jurmann, Dvoriák, Albrecht Marcuse, Leusner, Peter Igelhoff, Kastilien E. Bootz, Friedrich Hollaender, Cole Porter, Herman Hupfeld, Sten Axelson, Christian Bollmann, Ludwig Schmidseder, Rolf Marbot
     
    03:37
  • 1
    12
    Wochenend und Sonnenschein
    Composer: Harold Arlen, Giaocchino Rossini, Friedrich Silcher, Walter Jurmann, Dvoriák, Albrecht Marcuse, Leusner, Peter Igelhoff, Kastilien E. Bootz, Friedrich Hollaender, Cole Porter, Herman Hupfeld, Sten Axelson, Christian Bollmann, Ludwig Schmidseder, Rolf Marbot
     
    03:16
  • 1
    13
    Nuit et Jour
    Composer: Porter
     
    03:44
  • 1
    14
    Der Onkel Bumba aus Kalumba
    Composer: Herman Hupfeld
     
    02:51
  • 1
    15
    Kannst du pfeifen Johanna
    Composer: Sten Axelson
     
    02:47
  • 1
    16
    Guter Mond
    Composer: Harold Arlen, Giaocchino Rossini, Friedrich Silcher, Walter Jurmann, Dvoriák, Albrecht Marcuse, Leusner, Peter Igelhoff, Kastilien E. Bootz, Friedrich Hollaender, Cole Porter, Herman Hupfeld, Sten Axelson, Christian Bollmann, Ludwig Schmidseder, Rolf Marbot
     
    02:52
  • 1
    17
    Holzhackerlied
    Composer: Bollmann
     
    02:50
  • 1
    18
    Gitarren spielt auf
    Composer: Ludwig Schmidseder
     
    03:44
  • 1
    19
    Lebe wohl, gute Reise
    Composer: Rolf Marbot
     
    04:05

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