While the grimy back yards of the Weimar Republic were filled with unemployed singers practicing their skills in the hope of earning enough for a warm meal, night after night the revue theatres of the Kurfürstendamm would present glittering golden dreams to an audience of millions hungry for entertainment. Amid the glitz of the roaring 1920s, the fame of the Comedian Harmonists burned especially brightly: modelled on the American vocal quartet The Revelers, the six-strong ensemble made up of Ari Leschnikoff, Erich Abraham-Collin, Harry Frommermann, Roman Cycowski, Robert Biberti and pianist Erwin Bootz thrilled German audiences with mixture of sassy and entertaining lyrics set to the latest music and sung in perfect close harmony. With hits such as “Veronika, der Lenz ist da”, “Ein Freund, ein guter Freund” and “Wochenend und Sonnenschein” they conquered the concert halls of Europe at record speed and thanks to the modern mass medium of gramophone records they soon became a fixture in living rooms across Germany.
The Nazis’ rise to power in 1933 provided a sombre conclusion to the fairy tale story of a group that was half Jewish. Their attempts to defy the increasing pressure of political repression and build on their earlier success abroad would ultimately fail due to the tensions between the musicians. The Comedian Harmonists split up in 1935 but their music lives on till this day.
Under the well-versed musical direction of Patrick Francis Chestnut, our ensemble of top-quality soloists will present the Comedian Harmonists’ most popular numbers in a compered concert.
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