Comedian Harmonists

Tis all a Chequier-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one in the Closet sets.

Omar Khayyam – Rubaiyat

We are all pawns of the providence’s whim. It is fascinating and distressing at the same time how the human beings can be raised to the Olympus and how easily they can be thrown back into oblivion. Sometimes they are themselves responsible for this reversal, but can you fight back the destiny?
Just such an example for me is the story of the “Comedian Harmonists“, the German singer ensemble. Founded by 5 young men this ensemble quickly became very successful not only in Germany. For a short time though. In 1934 the public performances for the Jews in Germany were prohibited. That was the end for the “Comedian Harmonists”, as there were Jews in the group. All their attempts to form a new ensemble were luckless.
Thanks to their existing recordings the “Comedian Harmonists” have a revival today. A movie about their lives was released and even a new ensemble with the same name and singing the same songs was created – but has the charm survived?
I was impressed by the perfection and the ease with which the “Comedian Harmonists” (the old ones) switch within the different genres.

Here Fritz Kreissler’s “Liebesleid”:

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And this is Ali-Baba:

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Probably those who speak German can best enjoy the songs like the next one “Kannst Du pfeifen, Johanna?” (1934):

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or the excerpt from the documentary movie by Eberhard Fechner made in 1976:

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Filed under: Music

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