Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King
Issue 342 – April 2016
(Double CD) Absolutely Wunderlich
Running Time 2 hours 18 minutes – Price £6.95
This is a ‘heads up’ more than a review as I didn’t receive a copy of this CD in time. However, I didn’t want to miss the chance of plugging it and telling you how the CD came about. A full review and track-list will (hopefully) appear in the next issue.
As many of you are aware, there were a lot of Klaus Wunderlich CDs released by Bell Musik in Germany over thirteen years from 1999, twenty-seven to be exact (including eight doubles). This came to an end with their final twin CD release “Maestro” in February 2012. Last year we heard the news that Bell Musik went out of business and so the titles are gradually being deleted (although we still have a few left).
Alan Ashton mentioned there was something new on the horizon a while ago and this double CD is the result. Alan is a busy man, as well as presenting the monthly ORGAN1st Radio Podcast at OrganRadio.com, producing his “Organist Celebrities” series of videos for his gram-r-fone channel on YouTube and scouring the globe for rare Klaus Wunderlich releases for KlausWunderlich.com, he has now found time (along with organist Ian Griffin) to produce the informative sleeve notes for this double CD set.
Alan also did a ‘synopsis’ of the release for our websites which explains how the masters came into being. Basically, what Klaus did before undertaking his 1995 UK tour (and previous tours too I would think), was to record his ‘set’ to make sure everything was perfect for the final concerts. These rehearsal tapes were done to make sure the set-list was correct, to find the right sounds, create the best live arrangements and get the correct timings. These recordings were never intended for release and were for his own personal use. They were only discovered when his friend and audio engineer Werner Kohlhammer (who worked on remastering all the Bell Musik releases) came across the original two-track reel-to-reel master tapes when sorting through Klaus’ studio.
Some of the tracks were live versions of previously recorded material, while others were new ones especially for the concert. So these two CDs can bring you a perfect Klaus Wunderlich concert in the comfort of your own living room (and without the audience noise).
The organ used on the recordings is not specified, but is almost certainly the organ used on the 1995 UK tour, which was the Wersi Spectra. The CDs also feature some unreleased bonus tracks of some of Klaus’ early composition recorded at the Hammond organ.
Follow-Up (Issue 343 – May/June 2016)…
I went into the background of this double CD release last issue. I couldn’t do much more as I had yet to even hear a sample copy. Luckily three large boxes have arrived since then and I am relieved to say the result is excellent and you don’t just have to take my word for it, I have received and read a lot of positive feedback about the final result.
I should stress that this double CD set is not the usual Klaus output and by that I mean it is not multi-tracked as his usual commercial LPs and CDs were. They were performed totally live and represent what you would have heard if you saw him in concert (in 1995 to be precise). As mentioned last issue, the recordings were made for his own personal use to make sure the concerts were as perfect as possible and were never intended to see the light of day.
Considering there is no multi-tracking, the end results have an excellent sound and the performance is even more impressive when you consider they were played ‘straight’ in one take. Even when he was producing what is basically a demo-recording for ‘his ears only’, you would think the odd error or missed note would end up in there somewhere, but I could’t hear anything out of place, even in one of the five medleys which are over fifteen minutes each. Even when Klaus didn’t have to be a perfectionist, he was, which I suppose is the true sign of being one.
FULL TRACKS: Disc One (Running Time: 63.58): Tritsch Tratsch Polka (Johann Strauss II) • Blue Danube (Full Concert Version) • WUNDERLICH POPS SPECIAL MEDLEY: Send Me An Angel / Because I Love You (The Postman Song) / Sacrifice / I Know Him So Well / Crying in the Rain / Nights in White Satin • Espana (Chabrier) • MMMM! MARVELLOUS MUSICAL MEMORIES MEDLEY [18.47]: My Fair Lady Selection / If I Were a Rich Man / Willkommen / Come to the Cabaret / Maria / Somewhere / Ol’ Man River / Phantom of the Opera / Don’t Cry for Me Argentina / Memories (from Cats) / Hello Dolly / There’s No Business Like Show Business • ABBA MEDLEY (Concert Version: Money, Money, Money / Dancing Queen / Fernando / The Winner Takes it All / I Have a Dream / I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do / Take a Chance On Me / Thank You For The Music / Waterloo / Thank You For The Music (Reprise) • Disc Two (Running Time: 74.22): KLASIK KLAUS MEDLEY: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart) / Hungarian Dance No.5 (Brahms) / Romance for Violin & Orchestra in G Major (Beethoven) / Finale from Symphony No.9 (Beethoven) • FILM MEDLEY (Concert Version): As Time Goes By / Lara’s Theme / Where Do I Begin? (Theme from Love Story) / Theme from Bonanza / More / Goldfinger / Theme from The Third Man / Zorba’s Dance / High Noon / A Spoonful of Sugar / Chim Chim Cheree / Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious / What’s New Pussycat / Hi Lili Hi Lo / Charade / True Love / Once Upon a Time in the West / As Time Goes By (Reprise) • BEATLES MEDLEY (Concert Version): Yesterday / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Penny Lane / Yellow Submarine / Let it Be / Lady Madonna / Yesterday / The Fool on the Hill / Michelle / Hey Jude / All My Loving / Yesterday (Reprise) • MILLER BY TWO [4.36]: American Patrol / In the Mood / New York, New York (Version 1) • New York, New York (Version 2) [3.35] • Bonus Tracks (Original Compositions): Eine Kleine Reise (A Little Trip) • Jahrmarkt Melodie (Fairground Melody) • Komm Nach Paris (Come to Paris) • Las die Sorgen bis Morgen (Leave the Worries Until Tomorrow) • Metro Paris • Play Boy • Riviera • Paris.
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Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.