ENGLISH VERSION + 7 MUSIC VIDEOS!
Schock's 'Countess Mariza'-recordings in 1954 (under Wilhelm Schüchter), 1962 (under Frank Fox) and 1967 (under Robert Stolz) I don't review here. All the good, that I wrote in my text about 'The Gypsy Princess' also applies to 'Countess Maritza'! However, with the help of some audio video's I would like to take you back to Schock's very first 'Countess Mariza'-recording of the late forties and his very last of the middle eighties. Particularly I focus on a complete, although acoustically mediocre, broadcast recording of March 1958 and a feature film of the same year.
1947/48 on a 10-minute 78 rpm phonograph record with some highlights. This is the first operetta-recording of Rudolf Schock:
March 1958: almost complete broadcast recording under the musical direction of Werner Schmidt-Boelcke and with virtuoso assistence of Toki Horváth and his Hungarian Gypsy Band. This recording seemed to be deleted. However, in the meanwhile it is happily risen from the ashes (a.o. on Membran/Documents No.: 233001). With one single reserve: the mono recording is acoustically moderate. Nevertheless, I'm happy with it!
Kálmán's dream couple Sári Barabás & Rudolf Schock fills a vacuum in the history of gypsy-operettas on sound carrier.
1958: Imre Kálmán's 5th dying day in 1958 must have been the reason, to release TWO cinema films with his music.
About the FILM 'Countess Maritza':
The plot is close to the operetta story. However, the film's heart is the supposedly chance meeting of Michael (Rudolf Schock) with the simple, but spontaneous puszta girl "Etelka" (Christine Görner). This happens in the sunny 'Burgenland' as the ideal background for a romantic film in technicolor.When it appears, that "Etelka" IS Michael's noble employer, film and operetta after all go hand in hand in the emotional scene, in which Michael is shaking off his so experienced humiliation by singing 'Come, Gypsies!!'.
Kálmán's music from the operetta is substantially reduced in the film. Probably by Bruno Uher (1912-1976), musical director of the film. Famous songwriter Robert Gilbert (1899-1978) would have written all the lyrics, but the original Brammer & Grünwald-lyrics from the operetta are also there.
Rudolf Schock, meanwhile nice experienced in film, acts relaxed in front of the camera, while actress and opera/operetta-soprano Christine Görner (1930) is keeping sentimentality at distance with playful irony (look at her eyes!). It's understandable, that later on she interpreted songs of Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht with pleasure and great success.
Thanks to "Fritz51267" I should like to highlight a YouTube-upload from the film:"Rudolf Schock ('Mir geht's gut/I'm doing well') & Christine Görner ('Höre ich Zigeunergeigen/When I hear gypsy violins')":
Christine Görner does not sing the song as Countess Maritza from the operetta, but - fooling with Michael - as country girl "Etelka". Her body language expresses naive wonderment: "Who am I, that I should hear music like this and...where lives love, Michael?". Rudolf Schock's 'I'm doing well', that he sings for "Etelka" in the back of the covered wagon, is from Kálmán's operetta indeed, but not in this form! His text is new, but the melody is from the very first music number of 'Countess Maritza', sung by a young gypsy woman. Her song is dark and forboding: "Happiness is a short dream...". I assume, Robert Gilbert wrote Schock's new text and focused it on the forced mixture of the sense of perspective and defeatism, with which Michael looks back upon his life. It's remarkable, that his later outburst of anger in "Come, Gypsies!!' is in the most sharp contrast therewith!
Lyrics: 'I'm doing well/Mir geht's gut' (R. Gilbert/music: I. Kálmán)
I'm doing well, I say to myself every day, even, when I’m not…
Because the worst is bearable, when you take it easy.
February 17, 1963:
Rudolf Schock's life experienced Tassilo sounds powerful and not explicitly lyrical. This leads - whether intended or not - to an intriguing contrast with the just explicitly lyrical voice of the 21 years younger Ingeborg Hallstein, which "brightly shines as silver" (Agnes Wenk, widow of the reknowned, German concert singer Erich Wenk).
Franz Bauer-Theussl conducts the 'Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest'.
The 70 year old tenor gets to the bottom of his still remaining vocal possibilities.
His intensive account of Tassilo's song fascinates me strongly!