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Berlin: Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile
Paul Dessau, Hanns Eisler, Friedrich Hollaender
Berlin: Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1

Several years ago, the Brooklyn Academy of Music asked Theo Bleckmann to put together an evening of WWII German music. Fumio Yasuda adapted and arranged the songs especially for this album.

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Paul Dessau, Hanns Eisler, Friedrich Hollaender, Michael Jary, Norbert Schultze, Mischa Spoliansky, Kurt Weill, Theo Bleckmann, Fumio Yasuda
Title: Berlin: Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Winter & Winter
Original Release Date: 1/1/2008
Re-Release Date: 2/12/2008
Album Type: Import
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Jazz, Easy Listening, Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 025091013821

Synopsis

Album Description
Several years ago, the Brooklyn Academy of Music asked Theo Bleckmann to put together an evening of WWII German music. Fumio Yasuda adapted and arranged the songs especially for this album.

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CD Reviews

Transcendent, shimmering vocal style
S. Barton | NYC | 04/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I feel that Theo Bleckmann is a unique vocal artist. His voice as a transparency that floats on the air and doesn't clutter the music as written by the composers he selects to highlight. He has made a name for himself with several collaborative projects with Ben Monder. For my money, this work transcends them all. He brings a wonderful nuance and clarity to these works sung in both German and English. I highly recommend this disc as well as his disc recently released with Meredith Monk. You will not be sorry"
Healing for then and now
Gerard Dionne | 02/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's a touch of the heroic in this collection of cabaret songs from the Germany of the inter-war period from 1919 through the mid '30s. Going a step further, I don't think it's possible to truly appreciate what Bleckmann and Yasuda have brought to our ears without weaving the historical context into the narrative.

Much of the music in this release was among the Entartete Musik, music labeled as "degenerate" under the Nazi proscription of any and all art with Jewish authorship or influence. But Hitler and Goebbels didn't stop there. Any music that displayed conspicuous rhythmic asymmetry, atonality, or themes suggesting concepts outside of the National Socialist world view orthodoxy was banned, destroyed or otherwise lost, at least for the duration. Music branded as degenerate included jazz, classical modernist, and even these cabaret songs. Goebbels' censors put an end to performances and careers, silencing composers such as Karl Amadeus Hartmann, who chose to stick it out in war-time Germany, but kept his head down. Other composers, some represented on the present collection such as Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, and writers such as Bertolt Brecht, chose to emigrate.

Theo Bleckmann has confronted this history in a pointed and poignant manner, beginning with the sound of AM radio static yanking us back to a world where Sophie Scholl furtively searched for the sound of Billie Holiday's voice from Radio Luxembourg. As Theo's clear, subtle and nuanced voice emerges from the radio noise we understand with a shudder how precious and audacious this music is. Bleckmann and Yasuda have given us a gift; a reconciliation with a savage time and a savaged German society, even still recovering from that terrible time. This music heals us all.

Throughout, Theo's singing is understatedly brilliant - always bringing home humor and sly decadence - insinuating the smoky shadows of a tiny nightclub on a dark street. Fumio Yasuda's settings for small string ensemble and piano sizzle and cajole, assert and support, and rip at the dark heart of the degeneracy label. Lotte Lenya sends regards."