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Customer Reviews

A master of operetta and light music

I have only recently discovered Eduard Künneke, who was an extremely successful German composer of operetta, opera, singspiele (a form of German musical comedy/operetta) and film scores from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. His style combines traditional German/Viennese lyrical, sumptuous operetta melodies with a more modern, jazz/tango/film music-influenced sound. I think the reason he’s not better known outside of Germany and Austria is that unlike many of the other operetta composers who were Jewish and fled Germany during the ’30’s, Künneke, a Gentile, remained in the Third Reich, and worst of all, joined the Nazi Party after Hitler came to power in 1933. This has besmirched, and rightly so, his reputation; however, Künekke wasn’t some second-rate, also-ran operetta composer left behind after Jewish composers such as Kálman, Pál Abraham and Robert Stolz fled to the States. Listen to this album, his best-known work, “Das Vetter aus Dingsda" and also to his masterpiece, “Die Grosse Sünderin, and you will be entranced by the melodiousness and sophistication of his music. As a postscript to his Nazi association, it should be mentioned that he was later booted out of the party due to “non-Aryan kinship” in his family and that he was only allowed to continue to compose because Goebbels saw his talent as useful for propaganda purposes.

That all being said, this album is delightful and a must if you enjoy exploring 20th century operetta composers who aren’t as well known as Léhar or Kálman, and can get over the taint of Künneke’s Nazi association. At times Künneke’s lyricism reminds me a bit of Puccini, and had Puccini completed his “La Rondine” as the operetta he was commissioned to write, perhaps it would have turned out as something similar to “Die Lockende Flamme.” A highly recommended addition to your operetta library.

Kunneke, E.: Die Lockende Flamme, Ralf Lukas
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