This is a delightful CD, recorded by Klaus Arp and the Cologne Radio Orchestra, which will probably get lost in either the soundtrack or classical sections of whatever store chooses to stock it, simply because outside of Germany and Austria, only serious music buffs will recognize Walter Jurmann's name. In another reality, Jurmann might well have been a rival to his slightly older Viennese contemporary Frederick Loewe. As it is, his songs, usually written with lyricist Fritz Rotter, were among the most popular and memorable to grace German popular music of the 1920s, filled with hauntingly beautiful melodies and exquisite scoring. Once he moved into film composition -- which included full scores as well as songs in his early German film work -- in partnership with Bronislaw Kaper, he was truly in his element. His German music often reflected the lighthearted, jaunty spirit of the jazz age, in pieces such as "Du Bist Night Die Erste" -- the opening medley shows how easily this material slid into his American period (including the song "San Francisco," from the MGM movie of that name). And "Le Bistro du Port" and "On n'aime qu'une fois," from his short-lived French period, show how easily Jurmann absorbed French popular influences and transposed his skills. The 1935 theme from Mutiny on the Bounty, co-authored with Kaper, is written in a bold, epic style that marked a new phase in Jurmann's career. "Serenade in the Street" is an excerpt from the score for his 1946 musical Windy City, and is gorgeous enough to make one wish for a revival.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder