White Horse Inn

White Horse Inn


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One of the iconic properties of the Weimar-era German stage was Im Weissen Rössl or White Horse Inn, a lavish show that was the brainchild of choreographer-director Erik Charrell with the music primarily by composer Ralph Benatzky. Premiered in Berlin in 1930, it was pure Weimar -- Tyrolean slap-dances, lederhosen, Viennese froth, and a parody on Franz Liszt colliding with continental jazz, a racy swimming number, and Emperor Franz Josef himself delivering the denouement on the love triangle at the show's end. The German National Socialists, as you can imagine, hated this piece with a passion, and it would disappear from the German-speaking world between its first bowdlerized film version in 1935 and its second, heavily sentimentalized movie adaptation in 1952. However, the show was on the road even before the Nazis came to power, running to more than 650 performances in London upon opening in 1931 and finally making its way to Broadway for a respectable run in 1936. Sepia Records' Selection from White Horse Inn presents a collection of remarkable historic recordings relating to these early productions of White Horse Inn. The centerpiece of the disc is some radio broadcast recordings made in connection with the New York premiere; eternal soubrette Kitty Carlisle starred along with William Gaxton, a legendary vaudevillian who did not make records and seldom appeared in films or television, often with only limited success. Gaxton's duet with Carlisle on "I Cannot Live Without Your Love" (i.e. "Es Muss Was Wunderbares Sein") finds the great comic well in his element. There is also a little bit of the dialogue between Carlisle and Albert Korff's Emperor Franz Josef before they launch into "We Prize Most the Things We Miss" ("Es Is Einmal im Leben So"). Also related to the New York show is a live BBC broadcast from 1959 of Alfred Drake, retrospectively presenting "It Would Be Wonderful" which he sang as an understudy to Gaxton. The rest of the material includes medleys and songs from the 1931 staging of the show performed by Jack Hylton and Ray Noble's orchestras and a handful of records relating to the original German production of 1930. Sepia's booklet is handsomely designed and contains ample information about the show and its various historic productions, including posters and photographs. About the only drawback regarding this release is the sound, which is not terribly good in the radio sources, though that's understandable given their age and rarity. However, the commercial English and German sources sound a little constricted and tinny, and they can definitely sound better -- compare the version of Max Hansen's 1930 recording of "Im Weissen Rössl am Wolfgangsee" with the one issued on the ZYX disc Ralph Benatzky: Seine Größten Erfolge. Nevertheless, the booklet and its great detail actually make this whole project worth it; the sound is listenable overall, and the White Horse Inn is definitely a show to know, being one of the top shows of the '30s worldwide and, apart from The Threepenny Opera, the only Weimar-era musical to travel as far as it did. All of this material likewise precedes the heavy transformation the White Horse Inn underwent in the years following the fall of the Third Reich, when it was refashioned as a sentimental and typical property bereft of its jazziness and irreverence.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/2009
Label: Sepia Recordings
UPC: 5055122111412
catalogNumber: 1141
Rank: 113897

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jack Hylton   Conductor
Ray Noble   Conductor
Alfred Drake   Vocals
Sam Browne   Vocals
Marek Weber   Conductor
Pat O'Malley   Vocals
Joe Sargent   Conductor
Paul Godwin   Violin
Kitty Carlisle Hart   Vocals
Siegfried Arno   Vocals
Walter Jurmann   Vocals
Cavan O'Connor   Vocals
Paul Godwin with Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Billy Bartholomew   Conductor
Max Hansen   Conductor
Robert Halliday   Vocals
William Gaxton   Vocals
Ilja Livschakoff   Conductor
Ilja Livschakoff Dance Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Wiener Schrammel-Quartett   String Quartet
Jack Hylton & His Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Joe Sargent Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Das Parker Quartett   Vocals
Billy Bartholomew Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Ben Graver   Narrator
Albert Korff   Vocals
William House   Vocals
White Horse Inn Cast Ensemble   Choir, Chorus
Light Opera Company   Vocal Ensemble
Rolando Blue Salon Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Marek Weber Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Marcell Klass   Vocals

Technical Credits

Robert Stolz   Composer
Ralph Benatzky   Composer
Irving Caesar   Lyricist
Hans Spialek   Orchestration
Richard C. Norton   Liner Notes
Jack Meskill   Lyricist
Arthur Rebner   Lyricist
Harry Graham   Lyricist,Adaptation
Hans Müller   Librettist
Robert Gilbert   Lyricist
Kevin Clarke   Liner Notes
A.L. Robinson   Lyricist
Peter Wendling   Lyricist
David Freedman   Adaptation

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