Review by ww17vssk December 9, 2008 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
|As I've now listened to this fabulous SACD a hundred of times, I think it's about time to write a review on it. For those who have never heard of the Comedian Harmonists: this was a famous German ensemble during 1920's and early 1930's, touring not only Europe, but also the United States. They were founded by Harry Frommermann, after which the Dutch group Frommermann named itself. It consists - as the original Comedian Harmonists - of 5 male singers and a pianist.
As this is the first review of this disc, I'll first provide the track listing:
1. Veronika, der Lenz ist da
2. Eine kleine Fruehlingsweise (after Dvorak's Humoresque)
3. Overture to Rossini's Barber of Seville
4. Mein kleiner gruener Kaktus
5. Stormy Weather
6. Ali Baba
7. In einem kuehlen Grunde
8. Als ik weer zin om te zingen
9. Wir sind von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt
10. Schoene Isabella von Kastilien
11. Morgen muss ich fort von hier
12. Wochenend und Sonnenschein
13. Nuit et Jour
14. Der Onkel Bumba aus Kalumba
15. Kannst Du pfeifen Johanna?
16. Guter Mond
18. Gitarren spielt auf
19. Lebe wohl, gute Reise
As you can see from the list, songs are mostly in German, although there are some in French, English and Dutch. The musical joy already is plenty, nevertheless the wit of the songs often is important, so people not understanding German may consult the liner notes which provide English translations for all songs. On first listening, I found it a bit odd that quite often fast numbers are followed by slower ones, but I have now come to think that this is a rather good idea, as it gives you the opportunity to 'cool down' after singing along to one of the fast tracks (which is what we did when I showed off the disc to my mother and sister).
With respect to performance and sound: while certainly some listeners will find the versions of Dvorak's Humoresque and Rossini's Barber of Seville rather strange, I must say that I like both of them as well as the rest of the disc. As for the sound, I've now listened to the disc numerous times both on Stereo (using AKG K701 headphones) and on MC setup. There's plenty of detail, voices are captured really well (including the breathing in the a capella track 'In einem kuehlen Grunde'), and especially the piano is brilliantly recorded, enabling one to enjoy the superb piano accompaniments, which make good use of the wide range of a piano. The only minor quibble is the rather feeble use of the rears in the MC setup, which is the reason for giving only four and a half stars for MC sonics. Don't get me wrong, the sound stage is still wide and you can easily make out the singers' positions, but I still wonder whether this could have been further improved by positioning the singers a bit more apart from each other.
I'm looking forward to Frommermann's new disc (Frommermann: Holland-America Line), meanwhile this very enjoyable disc is most warmly recommended.
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