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Berlin Cabaret Songs (in English)

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Ute Lemper
  • Orchestra: Matrix Ensemble
  • Conductor: Robert Ziegler
  • Composer: Mischa Spoliansky, Frederick Hollander, Rudolf Nelson, Berthold Goldschmidt
  • Audio CD (10 Jan. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Entartete Musik
  • ASIN: B0000042FR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,370 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 1 Jun. 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is a spectacular album by german-born artist Ute lemper. It has been recorded before Punishing Kiss and Chicago and shoots in a different direction. The songs on the album are from the "Weimarer Republik"-era, which means they had been written in 1920s and 30s. Later in the Third Reich they were forbidden because of their critical and frank content, and because the composers were "degenarated" (that's how they were called).
Originally sung by Cabaret (or Kabarett-) singers, Ute Lemper brings the songs back to life. She catches the spirit of a lost world and turns it into a modern day cabaret act. Surprisingly these songs are very up to date. Or should I say the artists were very ahead of their time back in 1920?
You have to hear between the lines to understand their full meaning. And that's the attraction. Most of them are very politically (but not in a boring way), some of them are very funny and some have a longing tone. Longing for better days, better times, open-mindend times.
Sung with tongue in cheek, sultry, furiously, yearningly these songs are a revelation. And they are perfect for the voice and the talent of Ute Lemper. It is the perfect material for her. She not only sings the songs, she lives them. Ute Lemper is a great artist and she is a modern day cabaret act in the best sense.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the English Language version of the cabaret songs banned by the Nazis in the later thirties. Ute Lemper brought them into prominence, originally in German -where they perhaps sound better. The rasp of 'Raus mit der Menner" is difficult to replicate in English.

Nevertheless, this is valuable mmemorial to some gallant opponents of the Nazis and all they stood for. Much of this record is, alas, still relevant today - perhaps more so than a few years ago.

Lemper deserves much credit for her championing of these songs. If there is a German equivalent of the OBE, she should be given it.
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Good stuff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Berlin in 20s 13 April 2014
By Ana Malcata - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ute Lemper is wonderful singing these songs from a special era, both entertaining and political. I am very glad with the purchase.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ute, Ute, what would we do without you (and these songs)? 2 Sept. 2000
By Sean - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album is absolutely to DIE for! These songs, as everyone knows, are still very effective today, so it is schocking to think that they were first written in the 1920s and `30s. But when you are supressed (like the Germans were during this time) things come out. The rousing anthems on this album run the gamut from gay pride ("The Lavender Song") to women's rights ("Chuck Out the Men!") and everything in between. There are also wistful, beautiful (yet unsentimental) numbers like "I Don't Know Who I Belong To" and "A Little Yearning," though there is still enough room for sentimental propaganda, like in the very moving "Munchhausen." Ute's duet with herself, "When the Special Girlfriend," a lesbian pride song, is a hoot! Then there are the stinging, biting social commentary songs, like "It's All a Swindle" and "The Smart Set," which is one of the best satirical songs I've ever heard. The funniest song on the album is, without a dought, "Maskulinum-Femininum," which cracks me up every time. Getting these classic songs in English is a real treat, as it helps them speak to a larger (maybe) audience. Thank you, thank you, thank you Ms. Lemper, for this excellent album! The world is a better place because of it!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb performances in both languages. Buy it twice! 3 Oct. 2005
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
`Berlin Cabaret Songs' by Ute Lemper are issued as part of London recording company's `Entartete Musik' series or music suppressed by the Third Reich. One of the very best things about this issue is the fact that Ms. Lemper and London have issued the album in two versions. One is in the original German and one is sung entirely in English.

For starters, I strongly suggest you listen to both, but if you simply have no interest in listening to the German version, I will reassure you that the English performance is musically virtually identical to the German. The instrumentals almost sound as if they were done Kareoke style, with Ms. Lemper's English or German mixed in afterwards. I'm almost certain this was not actually done, as the translations probably changed a few things here and there about the meter of the lyrics, but I could find nothing in the instrumental or vocal performances to prefer in one over the other, except for the genuine experience of hearing it the same way as the cabaret audiences in Berlin would hear it.

Ms. Lemper's English interpretations, as they are in all her earlier albums, is impecible. It also seems to be about as accent free as you can imagine. Not only is it free of German inflections, it is free of a British accent as well, so it should sound great to American ears.

The first thing which strikes me about the lyrics of these songs is that to my ear, there is practically nothing which is critical or even satiric of a specific government. There is not even much which is sexually explicit, let alone lewd. Some pieces from Kurt Weill in `Mahagonny' may be more objectionable than most songs in this album. One thing that tells us is exactically how extremely conservative the Nazis were about any art whatsoever. The most strident politically oriented song is in favor of women's rights and makes no mention of the Nazi government or any other political party for that matter.

The only weakness of the album may be that virtually all this material is unfamiliar to the average listener, so we don't have the pleasure of seeing how Ms. Lemper does a new version of, for example, `Bilbao Song' or Jacques Brel's `Amsterdam'. But then, I relish any chance whatsoever to hear Ms. Lemper sing. She is still fresh and free of the kind of syrupy sweetness we get from, for example, Barbra Streisand, these days from her `Guilty Pleasures' album.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These songs have not lost their pertinence or their punch. 30 July 2000
By Miles D. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ute Lemper, perhaps the pre-eminent European cabaret singer of our day, does a brilliant job putting across these songs. While songs such as "I Am a Vamp" come across as snazzy, funny period pieces, others--"It's All a Swindle," "Chuck Out the Men," "The Lavender Song," and "Munchhausen"--have lyrics which are just as pertinent and biting in Y2K America as they were in 1930 Berlin. (That doesn't speak well for today's society, needless to say.) These songs--and Lemper's performances of them--are like brilliant mirrors held up to reveal the hypocrisy of the Weimar Republic. If you can bear the shock of recognizing yourself in them, this CD is for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must own if even as just a keep sake for the future. more people should know her voice and deep these songs. 5 Dec. 2015
By Thingfish33 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I cannot be to specific since I just put this on and listen when I do but I can say it does sort of transport you to a different time and place. Ute's voice is nearly unbelievable and so full of soul. She is a very rare breed today. The songs themselves are like audible movies filled with beautiful melodies and insane chord progression. I think this is an album that can be enjoyed by average listeners and can double as study material for song writers as well.
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