Joseph Schmidt - (A) Song Goes Round The World

A better reminder of a tragic period of history than of this wonderful voice

Author: 
John Steane

Joseph Schmidt - (A) Song Goes Round The World

  • (Das) Land des Lächelns, 'Land of Smiles', ~, Immer nur lächeln und immer vergnügt
  • (Das) Land des Lächelns, 'Land of Smiles', Von Apfelblüten einem Kranz
  • (Das) Land des Lächelns, 'Land of Smiles', ~, Wer hat die Liebe uns ins Herz
  • (Das) Land des Lächelns, 'Land of Smiles', Dein ist mein ganzes Herz! (You are my heart's delight)
  • Ziguenerliebe, 'Gipsy Love', Ich bin ein Zigeunerkind
  • Indigo und die vierzig Räuber, 'Indigo and the 4, Launisches Glück (interpolated song by J Bürgetrauss)
  • (Der) Zigeunerbaron, '(The) Gipsy Baron', Als flotter Geist
  • Don César, Komm' herab, O Madonna Theresa
  • (Der) Singende Traum, Du bist die Welt für mich
  • Wiener bonbons, 'Viennese bonbons'
  • (Le) Postillon de Lonjumeau, Mes amis, écoutez l'histoire (Freunde, vernehmetichte)
  • (Der) Evangelimann, ~, Selig sind, die Verfolgung leiden
  • Martha, ~, Ach so fromm (M'appari tutt'amor)
  • Alessandro Stradella, ~, Wie freundlich strahlt der Tag
  • (L')Africaine, '(The) African Maid', ~, Pays merveilleux
  • (Il) trovatore, ~, Di quella pira
  • Rigoletto, La donna è mobile
  • (L')Elisir d'amore, 'Elixir of Love', Una furtiva lagrima
  • (La) Bohème, 'Bohemian Life', Che gelida manina
  • (La) Bohème, 'Bohemian Life', ~, Mimì è una civetta
  • Tosca, Recondita armonia
  • Tosca, E lucevan le stelle
  • (Die) tote Stadt, ~, Glück, das mir verblieb (Mariettalied)
  • (Ein) Lied geht um die Welt, Ein Lied geht un die Welt (My song goes round the
  • (Ein) Lied geht um die Welt, Frag' nicht (One life, one love)
  • (Das) Lied einer Nacht, Heute nacht oder nie
  • Das alte wort: Ich liebe Dich
  • Tausendmal du!
  • Wenn du bist, Wenn du jung bist, gehört dir die Welt
  • Wenn du bist, Nur wer die Sehsucht kennt
  • Wenn du bist, Lisetta
  • Wenn du bist, Tiritomba
  • (Ein) Stern fällt vom Himmel, Ich singe dir ein Liebeslied (I'll sing a song ofu)
  • (Ein) Stern fällt vom Himmel, Ein Stern fällt vom Himmel (A star falls from he
  • (Ein) Stern fällt vom Himmel, Wo beim Wein ein Walzer klingt
  • (Ein) Stern fällt vom Himmel, Mandulinata di Napoli
  • Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben, Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben
  • Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben, Die Liebe siegt
  • Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben, Es wird im Leben dir mehr genommen als gegeben
  • (Der) Favorit, Du sollst der Kaiser meiner Seele sein
  • (El) Trust de los tenorios, Te quiero, morena (Española)
  • Mattinata, '(L')aurora di bianco vestita'
  • Lolita, '(The) Spanish Serenade'
  • (La) Danza
  • Mal d'amore
  • Addio
  • Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben, Wenn nicht die Hoffnung wär (Simplicius Waltz) arr May from Johann Strauss
  • (Ein) Lied geht um die Welt, Ein Lied geht un die Welt (My song goes round the

I hope not too much of that particular song goes round the world, but certainly Joseph Schmidt’s voice has gone the rounds and continues to do so. His life, too, with its rise to what today would be called superstardom, and his death in 1942 at the age of 38, caused by the Nazi brutes from whom he fled and the pusillanimous neutrals among whom he sought refuge.

He was a superb tenor in an age when this was still the voice of romance. Being too short in stature for the operatic stage, he went into films, and it is from these that most of the present recordings are drawn. That is a pity; both the two-CD sets on Teldec and Pearl are preferable. The German branch of EMI produced two boxed sets (two CDs each), also with a more pleasing repertoire, but the transfers are bright to the point of harshness.

Of the singer’s operatic recordings, this set includes six titles not found in the Teldec or Pearl issues. All are desirable. The aria from Korngold’s Die tote Stadt is one of his best. The solos from Kienzl’s Der Evangelimann and Flotow’s Alessandro Stradella also show the fine legato. The Adam Postillion song, transposed down a semitone, places the lower notes still further beyond comfortable reach. Excellent, however, are the two excerpts from La bohème (in German), intelligently sung and ideally suited to the voice.

Of the operetta and songs, nothing tips the balance of choice towards the new selection; of the 17 film songs, most are second-rate even among their own tawdry kind. It is startling to see Nun wer die Sehnsucht kennt listed among these titles, but that is only the first line; the dance tune and its lyrics glide away soon enough into oblivion. The theme tune itself (Ein Lied geht um die Welt) is a brash, swaggering march, ironically all too reminiscent of its dreadful period.

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