Sunday, April 02, 2006


More of the Germans (and them damn birds)

Weekends... a nice relaxation away from the rigors of employment (and the chance to sleep... a LOT!). I have been doing a few more of the 12" German Columbias I got up in Loveland, and finding them interesting. These are more classical than popular, but you still won't hear them around a lot... ahhhh dagnabbit, I'm wandering again.

OK, we'll start with some German Volkslieder (folk-music) from the same batch that the last 2 German sides were from. Note that these are German recordings on US-pressed discs. I do have some German discs around here, and may post them at some future date. There was a large market for German 78s in the US as there were a lot of German immigrants in the midwest in the 1920s and 1930s (about the time when these were pressed & released). If you get fortunate, you can find some of these 78s in estate sales & thrift stores.

The tracks are longer than usual, as all the sides for today's posting came from 12 inch discs as opposed to the usual 10 inch discs. 12 inchers were usually reserved for longer compositions (duh!) such as classical works, and, in some cases, extended jazz takes. In the 1910s, Columbia did waltzes on 12 inch discs, and Victor recorded a lot of light opera 'highlight' discs, known as "Gems of...".

Enough of the rambling, first up is a pair of sides by A. Engel & L. Nolte, a male & female duet, backed by an unknown orchestra (and the occasional track of those damn birds). I don't know what it is about German Volksleider adn birds, but apparently it is supposed to be a Schwartzwald (Black Forest) type of thing. Annoying.
"Voger'l Fliagst in die Welt Hinaus", and "Im Prater Bluhen Wieder die Baume". Both are electrical recordings, and I think date from the mid 1920s.

We'll continue with a track on a more pure classical vein, "Transcription of the Folk-Song 'S kommt ein Vogel gefolgen", done by the ubiquitous (and anonymous) Grand Odeon Orchestra. Electrically recorded in Europe and released on a US-pressed Odeon 12-inch disc, I combined both sides into one file, so you don't have to turn the mp3 file over and restart it on the turntable to hear the second part. This is a very nice performance, and the recording ain't too bad either.

Finishing this weekend's offering off is this clanker, "Neue Wiener Volksmusik" (New Vienna Folk Music), performed by the also (well-deservedly so) anonymous Columbia Konzert Orchester. I also combined the two sides into one file for your convenience. The composer is listed only as "Komzak" and the conductor is listed as an "A. Weiss". As you can hear, the first part comes off credibly enough, but the second part begins to deteriorate to the point of belonging on Peter Schickele's program segment of Mediocre Performances. There are some SERIOUS clankers in here, perhaps due to the amount of beverages consumed by the performers? Who knows, but these gaffes were preserved on shellac for all the world to forget...... except us poor shellac archivists who are (un)fortunate enough to run into pieces of well-intentioned drek like this.

I think I am going to start a Clanker Of The Week 'feature'.... and this recording would sure qualify. As far as Clankers go, this one isn't TOO bad (about a 5 on the Cringe-o-meter), but, believe you me, there are some cringers out there. I'll share them, with appropriate warning, of course. With an evil grin. And an even more evil gin. And stuff.

As always, right-click on the link to download & enjoy!

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