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Subject: tauber - was What makes a satisfying singer
From: k youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:k youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:23:14 -0600
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Richard Tauber was mentioned during this discussion. As I have mentioned, my background includes an Austrian father who had a great love for Viennese operetta and often played this type of music on Sunday mornings back when I was a child. Tauber’s voice is the first sound I can remember hearing. Perhaps that influenced me and contributed to my admiration for this tenor. He remains among my favorites.  

Certainly he was a versatile singer and musician. He shone in operetta, opera (wonderful Mozart recordings are part of his legacy and I wish I had more of them) and song. He also composed songs, conducted and I believe he acted in some films.

I admit that his voice didn’t have a universal appeal like Caruso’s and di Stefano’s (to mention just two of the names that were cited). Perhaps it lacked the pure beauty of these other singers and he certainly had a limited top. Andy Karzas once mentioned, when playing his “Che gelida manina”, that he faked the high note (B flat?) at the end but made up for it with pure chutzpah (my word, not Andy’s). But Tauber had style and class and an understanding of what he was singing.

And, referring back to Bob Rideout’s mention of an “immediately recognizable” voice, Tauber’s was most certainly that.

There are some Viennese operetta selections that he owned. Other singers (notably Fritz Wunderlich) sang them gorgeously but there was an added dimension to Tauber’s singing them. He had a special affinity for Lehar whom he was great friends with and he was a master at singing that composer’s wonderful music. “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” was tantamount to a theme song for him, not only in lovely Viennese accented German, but in English as well. I have a 1935 studio recording of it as “Yours is my heart’s delight” and another from a 1946 BBC broadcast. The music that that typifies his Viennese-ness for me, however, is from Kalman’s “Gräfin Mariza” - “Grüss mir mein Wien.” I have two recordings of it: 1924 studio and 1937 live from Carnegie Hall. 

Over the years I’ve put together many anthologies of vocal music for friends; Tauber is a constant presence in them.

Kurt Youngmann
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