Jonas Kaufmann

Wien

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In an interview that serves as the booklet for this Sony release, tenor Jonas Kaufmann relates his various connections to the musical tradition of Vienna, including family vacations in Austria when he was young and close study of the music. He recalls being rebuked by a teacher for using the wrong Viennese accent, and there are still more arcane references that those of the German cultural sphere are more likely to get than others. This is all to the good (you can look them up), and all of this is to say that Wien is something more than a Viennese greatest-hits album from Kaufmann. There are indeed a few familiar operetta tunes here, such as Wiener Blut, Wiener Blut, and the arch-romantic "Komm in die Gondel," one of a lovely trio of tunes from Eine Nacht in Venedig. However, there are also lesser-known operetta selections where Kaufmann excels. Sample the delicious "Zwei Märchenaugen" ("Two Fairy-Tale Eyes") from Die Zirkusprinzessin by the underrated Emmerich Kálman. Operetta occupies the middle of the program, but the beginning and end are devoted to popular songs, which went by the French name of chanson. This is less-trodden territory, and Kaufmann approaches it with enthusiasm. He forges a distinctive, almost conversational voice that never overwhelms the material, and there are some real unknown gems here like Der Tod, das muss ein Wiener sein, with a text by the great satirist Georg Kreisler. That song, accompanied by piano, closes the program; elsewhere, you hear the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic) conducted by Ádám Fischer, who is equally versed in this music's subtleties. Along the way, you get to hear Kaufmann try out some of the Viennese accents he learned earlier. Booklet texts are given in English, not German; perhaps space restraints made this necessary, but a link to the German texts would have been desirable. That is the end of the list of complaints about this delightful release, a must for Kaufmann lovers.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 04:29 Amazon
2 06:07 Amazon
3 02:09 Amazon
4 03:31 Amazon
5 08:53 Amazon
Eine Nacht in Venedig
6 03:41 Amazon
Die Fledermaus
7 05:18 Amazon
Die Tänzerin Fanny Elssler
8 03:38 Amazon
Eine Nacht in Venedig
9 02:44 Amazon
10 02:33 Amazon
11 03:32 Amazon
Die Zirkusprinzessin
12 05:38 Amazon
Der Vogelhändler
13 02:15 Amazon
Frühlingstürme
14 03:36 Amazon
15 04:39 Amazon
16 03:09 Amazon
17 05:26 Amazon
18 02:47 Amazon
19 03:42 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick