Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... - The Living Cabaret of Alexandra Yaron
Sensational chanteuse extraordinaire Alexandra Yaron will already be familiar to regular visitors of this site from the review of her recent cabaret show at London's The Spitz last November. Her album Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... (Somewhere in this World...), released in late 2003, not only delightfully features a number of the songs presented in her live programme but moreover is as electrifying as her
On Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... Alexandra Yaron is accompanied on piano by the outstanding Matthew Freeman, her regular accompanist, who complements Ms. Yaron's electrifying vocals with the perfect balance of gusto and sensitivity. Blessed with the gift of an extraordinary, flexible, expressive, powerful yet effortless voice, Alexandra Yaron also has a most uncommon natural affinity with the cabaret song and chanson genre, which has not heard an interpreter of her immense expressive powers and sensitivity in decades. Indeed, I'll go further and venture to say that in the realm of at least cabaret song, I have not heard the equal of this phenomenal young lady, this veritable Ms. One Thousand Giga Volts that is Alexandra Yaron. Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... focuses heavily on pre-Nazi Berlin's leading cabaret composers/writers, Mischa Spoliansky, Werner Richard Heymann, and Friedrich Hollaender, which are also a speciality of Ms. Yaron's current live programmes. The songs include pre-prohibition (of Jewish musicians, composers, songwriters, artists and a host of other professionals working in Germany) as well as war-time and post-war examples written in exile, as well as a sprinkling of works by Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, and others.
Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... opens with Friedrich Hollaender's Falling In Love Again, a tender ballad rendered breathtakingly beautifully, that made Marlene Dietrich a household name in the 1930 movie The Blue Angel. Die Kleptomanin (The Kleptomaniac), another Hollaender song, is both electrifying and outrageously delicious in Alexandra Yaron's interpretation that, as always, never misses the subtlest nuance. Charles Aznavour's Mon Emouvant Amour is tender, warm and sensitive. The Cole Porter standard Love For Sale, all too often heard in renditions that, with utter futility of course, try to out-Ella the classic Ella Fitzgerald version, is given Ms. Yaron's very own personal interpretation that firmly bears the stamp of her inimitable cabaret style in an outstanding arrangement. Avoiding the common sentimental and overly bittersweet approach to this song, Alexandra Yaron goes straight for the jugular, with just the perfect touch of slight and utterly delicious and refreshing sleaziness - it's just glorious and delectable! Werner Richard Heymann's Schattenfox is almost ethereal, as a gently exhaled breath in cool air, and deeply sad. The title track, Irgendwo Auf Der Welt, another Heymann classic, is the very epitome of loveliness in Ms. Yaron's tender hands. Peux-tu... Veux-tu... is the first of the songs of Mischa Spoliansky represented on Irgendwo Auf Der Welt..., a tender chanson. Heymann's An den Kanaelen (By The Canals), another tender ballad, is rendered so evocatively the scent of water seems to almost take on physical reality. I am a Vamp! is perhaps one of Spoliansky's best known songs and Alexandra Yaron's interpretation, delivered with enormous conviction in a wonderful English translation by Jeremy Lawrence, is too utterly delicious and witty for mere words. Spoliansky's satirical Die Braut (The Bride) is likewise delicious. Das Grisettchen-Lied is a lilting, somewhat worldly-wise fancy. Spoliansky's Und was bekam das Soldatenweib? (And what did the Soldier's Wife Get?), a collaboration with Brecht, the dark story of a soldier's wife receiving gifts from her husband as he criss-crosses Europe and North Africa with Hitler's army, ending in inevitable tragedy in Russia and the "gift" of a mourning veil, sees delectable gentle touches of irony and sarcasm in Ms. Yaron's wonderful rendition. The satirical Deutsches Soldatenlied, the last of the Spoliansky selections, is delivered with initial gusto, ending on a marvellous note of weariness and exhaustion. On Heymann's Die Kaelte (The Cold), the chill is almost palpable in both the arrangement and especially Alexandra Yaron's vocal interpretation. Er oder Ich, another Heymann song, is filled with high drama. Jacques Brel's Amsterdam is totally electrifying, Ms. Yaron's powerful unaccompanied vocals are liable to singe and frizz your hair before making it stand on end. The closer is Verdun - Medley of Sag mir wo die Blumen sind & Lili Marlen, an ingenious combination that in this arrangement and Alexandra Yaron's electrifying interpretation is not only a complete natural but immensely powerful. Devoid of all sentimentality and saccharine sweetness usually found particularly in interpretations of the anti-Vietnam War anthem Where Have All The Flowers Gone, it becomes the most powerful, awesome, spine-tingling, chilling anti-war statement in this most powerful of interpretations. The Lili Marlen component, like a distant echo, is particularly chilling also with its purposeful dissonances and pained vocals. This is Alexandra Yaron at her most electrifying and lethal.
Alexandra Yaron's album Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... is way beyond essential in any Jewish music, singer-songwriter, or chanson/cabaret collection, it is simply sensational. If you're anywhere near London, you can also catch Alexandra Yaron live at The Vortex on Tuesday, 3rd February, or if you're in or near Paris, from 4th to 7th March at Théatre de la Vieille Grille (see the Jewish Music UK Calendar page for details of these dates). This Ms. One Thousand Giga Volts, Alexandra Yaron, is too devastatingly good to miss.
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