Review : Ute Lemper - Paris Days, Berlin Nights
NY TimesThe song, “Elle Fréquentait la Rue Pigalle” (“Her Beat Was the Rue Pigalle”), composed in 1939 by Louis Maitrier, with words by Raymond Asso, was made famous by Édith Piaf. It tells of an ashen-faced young prostitute with a hint of radiance, “like blue skies,” in her eyes. She works the Rue Pigalle in Paris but is taken away by a smitten man to Montparnasse. For a while.
With its multilayered string harmonies, his version of “Elle Fréquentait” introduces modernist touches to the song. Ms. Lemper’s vulnerable yet classy singing grippingly put them across. Her vocal colorings, whether nasal, grating, husky, angelic or sultry, pulled you into every word, every phrase.
I was especially captivated by three Hanns Eisler songs, two on politically charged texts by the Marxist Brecht: the harmonically piercing “Über den Selbstmord” (“On Suicide”) and “Ballade vom Wasserrad” (“Ballad of the Mill Wheel”). There were songs by the Russian composer Nikita Bogoslovsky and the Israeli singer and songwriter Chava Alberstein....full text
Buffalo NewsBuffalo knows the Vogler Quartet. The musicians, trained in East Germany, have visited here on a number of vastly different occasions. They have played contemporary music at UB’s Slee Hall with the Arditti Quartet. And, on the other end of the spectrum, they have appeared on the Slee Beethoven Quartet Series. The Vogler Quartet trains its collective excellence here on a wildly divergent territory— the cabaret songs of Paris and Berlin during the days of the Weimar Republic, as sung by such artists as Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich. The experiment works out very well. Lemper is impeccably cool.
Nothing fazes her. Years ago, in Robert Altman’s “Ready to Wear,” she appeared walking a catwalk, nude and very pregnant. In other words she has the gumption for these songs, and she sings them with the kind of chilly relish that the music demands. Sometimes she sings, sometimes she screams. The quartet mostly keeps its distance, filling in with hints of, say, “La Vie en Rose.” ...full text
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