19 tracks 62 minClick here to preview trk 12
The great chanteuses of the inter-war years
A darkened room, a small stage, a single spotlight, cigar smoke and the hint of absinthe: welcome to the cabaret! Classic recordings of Greta Keller, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, lovingly restored in The Gift of Music studios. Highlights include 'Falling in love again' and 'Speak to me of love'.
The great chanteuses of the inter-war years
A darkened room, a small stage, a single spotlight, cigar smoke and the hint of absinthe: welcome to the cabaret! Classic recordings of Greta Keller, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker, lovingly restored in The Gift of Music studios. Highlights include 'Falling in love again' and 'Speak to me of love'.
1 Speak to me of love Greta Keller
2 These foolish things Greta Keller
3 Thanks for the memory Greta Keller
4 Once in a while Greta Keller
5 Say it isn't so Greta Keller
6 You leave me breathless Greta Keller
7 La vie en rose Edith Piaf
8 Ding din Dong Edith Piaf
9 C'est un monsieur tres distingue Edith Piaf
10 La vagabond Edith Piaf
11 Le brun et le blond Edith Piaf
12 Falling in love again Marlene Dietrich
13 Lili Marlene Marlene Dietrich
14 Sei lieb zu mir Marlene Dietrich
15 Dass ich dich wiederseh' Marlene Dietrich
16 You go to my head Marlene Dietrich
17 That Certain Feeling Josephine Baker
18 Who? Josephine Baker
19 J'ai un message pour toi Josephine Baker
Cover image: Poster advertising the 'Cabaret Bonbonniere' 1920 Walter Schnackenberg 1880-1961 c DACS/The Stapleton Collection/The Bridgeman Art Library
Technical restorations P & C 2007 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain
We present four great singers and performers who defined the art of cabaret. What, though, is a cabaret singer? The cabaret singer is more than an artist who sings romantic songs on a stage, leaning against a piano or just sitting on a chair at one corner of the stage, dramatically positioned. The true cabaret singer is a raconteur, philosopher, confidante, poet, and a friend who sings of tragedy, truth, expectations, dreams, fantasies, adventures and visions.
They perform in nightclubs or restaurants and, indeed, the venue itself can also be called a 'cabaret'. The term is a French word for the taprooms or cafes where this form of entertainment was born, as a more artistic form of café-chantant. In turn, the word derives from the Middle Dutch cabret, through Old North French camberette, and from the Late Latin camera. It essentially means 'small room'. It also refers to a Mediterranean-styled brothel - a bar with tables and women who would mingle with and entertain the clientele. Traditionally these establishments would also feature some form of stage entertainment, often with singers and dancers, the bawdiness of which varied with the quality of the establishment. It was the more sophisticated form of cabaret that created the type of locale and art form that we are familiar with today.
The first cabaret opened in 1881 in Montmartre in Paris. Le Chat Noir became a spot where aspiring artists could try out their acts in front of their peers before launching them on the public. It was a great success attracting people from all walks of life. However, it closed, in 1887, due to the prevailing poor economic situation that made amusements of this kind seem vulgar.
Two years later, the Moulin Rouge, with a large red, imitation windmill on its roof, opened in Pigalle, close to Montmartre. Such notable artists as Mistinguett, Jane Avril and Yvette Guilbert regularly performed there. The colour and atmosphere of the Moulin Rouge have been immortalized in the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec.
In 1901, cabaret arrived in Germany but it had to work within strict guidelines because of censorship enforced on entertainment. This censorship was removed in 1918 allowing cabaret artists to deal with contemporary social themes and political developments and for the next 15 years German cabaret blossomed and flourished. However, in 1933 and with a newly elected Nazi government, any form of intellectual criticism was repressed and most cabaret artists fled Germany to Europe and the USA.
Edith Piaf began her career as a very poor and obscure cabaret singer and often sang in the unsavoury boites de nuit. Each Piaf song is an experience with an underlying force that we are drawn into. In contrast, the American-French cabaret singer and dancer, Josephine Baker had an exotic and sensual act that made her one of the best known entertainers in both the US and Europe during the 20s and 30s. Marlene Dietrich exuded class and sophistication, with a smoky and world-weary singing voice that she used to great effect in many of her films and recordings. Described as 'The Great Lady of Chanson', Viennese-born Greta Keller carried the charm of the Parisian woman but never lost the heart of the girl from Vienna.