Heuberger, Millšcker, Zeller, Stolz, J Strauss, Leh‡r

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Heuberger,J Strauss,Lehar,Millocker,Stolz,Zeller
LABELS: Decca
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Im Chambre Séparée
WORKS: Works by Heuberger, Millöcker, Zeller, Stolz, J Strauss, Lehár,
PERFORMER: Barbara Bonney (soprano)Ronald Schneider (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 473 473-2
Princes pretending to be students and widows merry at the prospect of remarriage. Impossible stories told for the most part in 3/4 time. Operetta was just about the only thing that glued the Austro-Hungarian Empire together as it tottered towards disaster. And Barbara Bonney sounds as Viennese as Schlagsahne and Sachertorte, although sometimes all is not so smooth and sweet when she opens up the voice.

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Bonney, however, knows that a light silvery tone is what this music requires, with just a hint of breathiness. And it’s all there in ‘Du sollst der Kaiser meine Seele sein’ from Robert Stolz’s Der Favorit, together with a discreet use of vibrato. And in a number like the ‘Schwips Lied’ you need a singing laugh that is properly coy. (You generally need an orchestra, too, but Bonney settles for a pianist. And Ronald Schneider settles for playing the notes and not much more.)

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Most of the music here will be unfamiliar unless a Viennese godfather bequeathed you a treasured collection of shellac from the good old days when the Danube was blue and the Emperor waltzed. So prost to Fräulein Bonney for rescuing this yellowing sheet music, together with such old friends as ‘Vilja’, ‘Wien, Wien’ and Lehár’s ‘Meine Lippen, sie kussen so heiss’, which is naughty but nice. Like Schlagsahne, Sachertorte and operetta really. Christopher Cook