Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Golden Age - Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester

Picture yourself in your best attire - a slinky satin gown or impeccable tuxedo, enjoying a cool glass of something illicit relaxing at a nightclub table surrounded by Art Deco fixtures. A suave, slim figure glides onstage clad in his signature white tie and tales - he turns to the orchestra in behind him, nods and an effervescent cascade of champagne vocals emerges.

This the delightful experience of listening to Max Raabe, the German baritone who has immersed himself in the glamourous period of the Weimar era of 1920s era Berlin. According to the press release he first fell in to love with the period in his teens and sought out all the old 78s he could get his hands on. He intitially went to Berlin to study opera but his evening activities of singing these classics in nightclubs sent him on a different path - lucky for us. For over a decade he and the Orchester have been entertaining audiences at sell out concerts worldwide.

This morning while baking cookies - cinnamon if you must know - I was transported back to that glittering time between the wars via the new recording "Golden Age" a mixture of recorded and live performances. Of course there are the classics - Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" and Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things", a yearning "These Foolish Things" but for me some of the lesser known material was just as compelling. The teasing "Though You're Not the First One" by Walter Jurmann, the slightly cheeky "Love Thy Neighbour", the lovely "Youkali" by the great Kurt Weill to name but three. Since these songs were the popular tunes of the day, in the mix are two pop tunes of our day given the Max Raabe treatment " Oops...I did it Again" and "Sex Bomb"!  

I think this would be marvelous to play at a dinner party perhaps while enjoying a cocktail or two or escape to that heady time in transit to wherever you're buys life leads.  The group is embarking on a 6 city U.S. tour - one of the stops at Carnegie Hall. How I would like to see them in Toronto!

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