Emmerich Kálmán

Biography

Born: October 24, 1882; Siófok, Hungary   Died: October 30, 1953; Paris, France  
Emmerich Kálmán was among the finest composers of operetta of the early and middle twentieth century. The richness of his melodies and the singing parts he created have helped keep his work in the European repertory right into the end of the century.

The Hungarian-born Kálmán displayed his musical talent during childhood and began studying the piano at an early age, but he was forced to abandon the instrument because of chronic neuritis.
Read more He entered the Budapest Academy of Music in 1900 as a composition student, pursuing a law degree at the same time. His classmates included Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. Kálmán was published as a music critic from 1904 through 1908, and his early works earned him the Franz Josef Prize of Budapest in 1907. Kálmán started out as a composer of serious music, but his cabaret songs proved extremely popular and he began moving toward lighter music in 1907. The following year, he wrote his first operetta, The Gay Hussars, which was a hit throughout Europe and the United States. Its success in Vienna led Kálmán to make his home in the Austrian capital. He spent his most productive years in Vienna, writing an enviable string of very high-quality operettas, which were characterized not only by gorgeous melodies and delectable choruses but startlingly vivid librettos. This was a frequent failing of many other operetta composers; for example, Johann Strauss II, for all of his skills as a composer, had virtually no sense at all when it came to choosing librettos, which has made it impossible to revive most of his operettas. His work combined the most pleasing and sophisticated elements of Viennese operetta with the richly melodic, romantic Hungarian style of writing pioneered by Franz Liszt, not authentic but very enticing to the ear. Wherever possible, he found reason to include this Hungarian and gypsy-style writing in his work, although in later years he also experimented with jazz influences, as in his 1928 operetta Die Herzogin von Chicago.

Kálmán's 1912 operetta Der Zigeunerprimas elicited the critical comment from Viennese critic Richard Specht: "His music is fresh and pleasant, full of strength in its natural melodic invention and wholesome maturity. While others grope and experiment, he stands in the rich soil of folk music and hits the mark every time." His best work, well into the early '30s, evoked the golden age of the Viennese waltz while his orchestrations, as he freely admitted, were intended to evoke memories of Tchaikovsky's lushest work. His best operettas, most of which date from the period prior to the forced unification of Austria and Germany in 1938, are filled with memorable songs and choruses. Kálmán's main contribution as a composer was as a creator of works that emphasized the choruses, as opposed to dance material, which was largely absent from his operettas. With the American composer Herbert Stothart (who was to become a mainstay of the MGM music department in the 1930s and 1940s), Kálmán collaborated on the 1927 musical Golden Dawn, which utilized lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein. Kálmán also found occasion to experiment in new media, writing the score to a filmed operetta, entitled Ronny, in 1931.

Kálmán left Austria in 1938 upon the Anschluss with Germany. From 1939 until 1940, he resided in Paris and following the German conquest of France, he moved to the United States. He renounced his Hungarian nationality after that country's government entered into a formal alliance with Nazi Germany. He completed one new operetta, Marinka, in 1945. His son, Charles Emmerich Kálmán, is also a successful composer of musicals and completed the elder Kálmán's final work, Arizona Lady, in 1954.

Kálmán's works are still occasionally performed at the end of the twentieth century in Germany and Austria and recordings exist of several of them, primarily dating from the early '70s. Singers of the caliber of Nicolai Gedda and Anneliese Rothenberger have performed and recorded the most popular of these, principally for German-speaking audiences, although EMI has also released them in England and America. Read less
Lehár & Kálmán / Smith, Knight, Chandos Concert Orchestra
Release Date: 08/28/2001   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6649   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 129 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Forever / Diana Damrau
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 60266 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Wojciech Kilar,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Damrau
    Conductor:  David Charles Abell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Live from Red Square / Netrebko, Hvorostovsky
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001949809 Release Date: 11/19/2013  
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Hvorostovsky,  Anna Netrebko
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra,  Russian State Academy Chorus
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  • 3.
    Live From Red Square Moscow / Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001949759 Release Date: 11/19/2013  
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Hvorostovsky,  Anna Netrebko
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra,  Russian State Academy Chorus
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  • 4.
    Andre Rieu Celebrates Abba / Music Of The Night
    Label: Bertus Distribution   Catalog: 3753681 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stig Anderson,  Benny Andersson,  Anni-Frid Lyngstad,  André Rieu  ... 
    Performer:  André Rieu
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  • 5.
    Heart's Delight - Songs of Richard Tauber / Beczala
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001833702 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Rudolf Sieczynski,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Robert Stolz  ... 
    Performer:  Piotr Beczala,  Anna Netrebko,  Avi Avital,  Duncan Riddell
    Conductor:  Lukasz Borowicz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Comedian Harmonists
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  • 6.
    The Very Best Of Operetta, Musical And Movies
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233693 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Paul Lincke,  Richard Heuberger  ... 
    Performer:  Melanie Holliday,  Rudolf Schock,  René Kollo,  Peter Minich  ... 
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  • 7.
    Kalman: Das Hollandweibchen / Schonherr, Fuss, Et Al
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7704922 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán
    Performer:  Edi Brosch-Shorp,  Gerda Schreyer,  Else Macha,  Toni Niessner  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Schonherr,  Frank Fox,  Otto Dobrindt,  Frieder Weissmann  ... 
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  • 8.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: A Glorious Century Of Light Music
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5200 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerome Kern,  Vernon Duke,  Ron Goodwin,  Jule Styne  ... 
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Paul Mauriat,  Ron Goodwin,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani  ... 
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  • 9.
    Happy New Year / Damrau, Beczala, Thielemann, Staatskapelle Dresden [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001803659 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán,  Robert Stolz,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Ingeborg Schopf,  Piotr Beczala,  Ingeborg Schöpf
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
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  • 10.
    Happy New Year / Damrau, Beczala, Thielemann, Staatskapelle Dresden [CD & DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001808910 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán,  Robert Stolz,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Ingeborg Schopf,  Piotr Beczala,  Angela Denoke,  Ana-Maria Labin
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
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  • 11.
    Happy New Year / Damrau, Beczala, Thielemann, Staatskapelle Dresden [DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001809009 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán,  Robert Stolz,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Ingeborg Schopf,  Piotr Beczala,  Ingeborg Schöpf
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
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  • 12.
    Lehar & Co. / Richard Tauber
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90802 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Carl Zeller  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tauber,  Vera Schwarz,  Carlotta Vanconti,  Jarmila Novotná
    Conductor:  Franz Lehár
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  • 13.
    Legenden der Operette [10-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 166622 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Karl Millöcker,  Leo Fall,  Eduard Kunneke  ... 
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Lisa Otto,  Rudolf Schock,  Liselotte Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Fried Walter,  Werner Schmidt-Boelcke,  Hans Moltkau,  Carl Michalski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Günther Arndt Chorus,  Bavarian State Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.49
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  • 14.
    Kalman: The Carnival Fairy / Byess, Sperry, Knox, Allen, Ballenger, Faulk,  Ohio Light Opera
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1391 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán
    Performer:  Christopher Cobbett,  Stephen Faulk,  Natalie Ballenger,  Tara Sperry  ... 
    Conductor:  Steven Byess
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ohio Light Opera
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  • 15.
    100 Best Operetta
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 972635 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Various,  Franz Lehár,  Carl Zeller,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Mady Mesplé,  Régine Crespin,  Hermann Prey,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
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  • 16.
    Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit - Swinging Paris / Alexandre Tharaud
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 602552 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Clement Doucet,  George Gershwin,  Jerome Kern,  Walter Donaldson  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandre Tharaud,  Frank Braley,  Madeleine Peyroux,  Juliette  ... 
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  • 17.
    Die Stimme Mit Herz
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233354 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Werner Bochmann,  Robert Stolz,  Karl Blume,  Eduard Kunneke  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz [Tenor Vocal] Hoppe,  Ingeborg [Soprano Vocals] Hallstein,  Anny Schlemm,  Rita Bartos  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Becht,  Robert Stolz,  Franz Marszalek,  Wilhelm Stephan  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 18.
    Jorg Schneider Sings Die Fledermaus, Grafin Mariza; Etc.
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5109 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Stolz,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Eduard Kunneke,  Carl Millocker  ... 
    Performer:  Jörg Schneider,  Nina Berten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Old Vienna Salon Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Kalman: Die Csárdásfürstin / Mattes, Rothenberger, Gedda
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5661702 Release Date: 08/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Nicolai Gedda
    Conductor:  Willy Mattes
    On sale! $27.98
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  • 20.
    Kálmán: Gräfin Mariza / Rothenberger, Moser, Gedda, Mattes
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5659742 Release Date: 08/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán
    Performer:  Horst Sachtleben,  Kurt Böhme,  Nicolai Gedda,  Anneliese Rothenberger  ... 
    Conductor:  Willy Mattes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich State Opera Chorus,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 56034 Release Date: 04/27/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Zeller,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Oscar Straus,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Josef Traxel,  Dolf Dolz,  Rupert Glawitsch  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Schüchter,  Wilhelm Stephan,  Franz Marszalek,  Harry Hermann  ... 
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  • 22.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7317172 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár,  Fred Fred Raymond,  Emmerich Kálmán  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Hermann Prey,  Edda Moser,  Fritz Wunderlich  ... 
    Conductor:  Willi Boskovsky,  Franz Allers,  Heinz Wallberg,  Hans Moltkau  ... 
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  • 23.
    Kalman & Kalman - Father & Son / Michael Suttner
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 769 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán,  Charles Kálmán
    Performer:  Michael Suttner,  Stefanie Braun
    Conductor:  Andreas Kowalewitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Kalman: Die Csardasfurstin / Mattes, Rothenberger, Gedda, Miljakovic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 9538272 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán
    Performer:  Wolfgang Anheisser,  Nicolai Gedda,  Willi Brokmeier,  Anneliese Rothenberger  ... 
    Conductor:  Willy Mattes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Label: Jay Records   Catalog: 1422 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tom Jones,  Frederick Loewe,  Ivor Novello,  Ron Grainer  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Hill Smith,  David Rendall
    Conductor:  John Owen Edwards,  Justin Brown
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