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Life Love & Laughter: Dance Arrangements 1927-1950

Weill / Raabe / Berlin Palast Orch / Gruber
Release Date: 05/15/2001 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 63513   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I felt as if I were in a 1930s film, sitting in the art deco ballroom of a transatlantic luxury ocean liner, watching elegant, tuxedoed Fred Astaire types skim along the shiny ballroom floor with beautiful, gowned blondes in their arms while the band swings away with controlled abandon.


Kurt Weill's musical theatre works enjoyed great popularity during his lifetime, so much so that he authorized his publishers to assign arrangers to make dance band versions of many of the songs. Call this a "crossover" disc with a difference: versions authorized by the composer, played by a period performance band dedicated to resuscitating dance music of the 1920s and 1930s, conducted
Read more by Weill specialist, singer, composer, and conductor H.K. Gruber. Before playing the disc I thought it a dubious undertaking, a prejudiced view that was dispelled within 10 seconds of listening to the first track, "Mile After Mile" from Railroads on Parade, a rarely heard pageant written for the 1939 World's Fair. After that, it's one delightful song after another--19 in all--immaculately played with a sense of fun and zest. After the third or fourth track I felt as if I were in a 1930s film, sitting in the art deco ballroom of a transatlantic luxury ocean liner, watching elegant, tuxedoed Fred Astaire types skim along the shiny ballroom floor with beautiful, gowned blondes in their arms while the band swings away with controlled abandon.


Best of all are the tracks where Max Raabe, the Palast Orchestra's vocalist, sings a chorus or two of the lyrics in a heady light tenor that often dips into a falsetto. He does the German songs like the "Bilbao Song" from Happy End or the "Tango Ballade" from Threepenny Opera with relish, wrapping his voice around each umlaut; and he performs the English tunes like "September Song" from Knickerbocker Holiday and "Speak Low" from One Touch of Venus with tenderness and virtually accentless diction. The final track is an instrumental version of Threepenny Opera's "Kanonen-Song", bursting with vitality. The sound is first-class, capturing the timbre and pokey rhythms of the band with lifelike clarity.


Some might complain that the dance band arrangements leach the venom from Weill's originals. My advice: lighten up and enjoy them for what they--and Weill--intended them to be. I'm not sure whether this disc can be filed under guilty pleasures or just plain pleasures, but it's a delight from start to finish. [6/20/2001]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Railroads on Parade: Mile after Mile by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1939; USA 
2.
Happy End: Bilbao Song by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; Berlin, Germany 
3.
Lost in the Stars: Lost in the stars by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
4.
Firebrand of Florence: There'll be life, love and laughter by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
5.
Lady in the Dark: My ship by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
6.
Love life: Green-up time by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
7.
Lost in the Stars: The little gray house by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
8.
Die Dreigroschenoper: Tanzenpotpourri I by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Knickerbocker Holiday: September Song by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
10.
Where Do We Go from Here?: All at Once by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; USA 
11.
Marie Galante: Le roi d'Aquitaine by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Paris, France 
12.
Die Dreigroschenoper: Tanzenpotpourri II by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
13.
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny: Alabama Song by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Berlin, Germany 
14.
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny: Meine Herren, meine Mutter prägte...Denn wie Man sich bettet by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Berlin, Germany 
15.
One touch of Venus: Speak Low by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; New York, USA 
16.
Knickerbocker Holiday: It never was you by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
17.
Street Scene: What good would the moon be by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
18.
Die Dreigroschenoper: Tango Ballad "Zuhälterballade" by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Berlin, Germany 
19.
Die Dreigroschenoper: Kanonensong by Kurt Weill
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Berlin, Germany 

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