Klaus Sleeves
Klaus Wunderlich CD Reviews by Alan Ashton.
Taken from the ORGAN1st Magazine
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When it comes to anything connected with Klaus Wunderlich, I am considered by some to be a Guru… that at least is what appears on one Wunderlich web page! Most certainly since I first took it upon myself to produce the only comprehensive discography of this sadly missed German superstar, I am often consulted on matters to do with his vast output of recordings. Such was the case earlier this year when his lifetime friend and sound engineer, Werner Kohlhammer, enlisted my help with the production of RECOLLECTIONS (BLR089110) the latest of the productions to appear on the Bell Musik label.

Between us, Werner & I concentrated on a choice of recordings which for the best part, were never released in the UK at all. The majority of these are contained on CD 1 of this double release timed to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of Hammond organs… a fact which seems to have escaped other record companies who must be sitting on mountains of vintage Hammond recordings. As such, all the tracks on this release are played on Hammond organs of one model or another.

So how come English fans are hearing them for the first time? Back in the 50’s when Klaus was first “discovered” by a director of the Telefunken Record label, he was invited to make recordings on the then emerging 45rpm extended play discs, but they never got released in the UK. I have long ago acquired copies from collectors and felt that they deserved to be heard by his huge world wide fan base. Werner collected the “artist master copy” tapes from Klaus’s widow Traudel and set about listening to them, only to discover to his abject horror that some of the tapes had deteriorated to the extent they were no longer playable! This is a situation that is being discovered by many people, myself included, in respect of cassette tapes, and it’s all down to storage under fluctuating temperatures. The only other avenue open to Werner was to obtain actual 45rpm recordings, and luckily Klaus had retained his copies. With his skill and expertise Werner commenced the compilation with a mixture of discs and tapes, and such is the end result that it is impossible to say which is which.

The Stereo effect goes right back to those days when engineers used to split the organ and Leslie cabinet sounds into distinct left and right channels. It’s a wonderful nostalgic sound. In total there are 40 tracks and as much as I would like to be able to comment on each one individually, space does not permit. However, you can read my more concise notes in the accompanying CD booklet.

Amongst the numerous boxes of tapes Werner made an interesting discovery in the form of a composition by Klaus that has never been heard before. SCHNEEGEFLÜSTER (Track 16 on CD 1) is the prize discovery. The LES GRAND SUCCES DU QUEBEC tracks are taken from one of two LPs he made for the Canadian Market and comprise of European Pop tunes. Neither of those recordings was ever released in the UK, although Klaus did extract some of the tunes and subsequently incorporate them in his UK HAMMOND POP series releases. Interspersed among the many gems on CD 1 are BOSSA NOVA / TWIST / MADISON / SHUFFLE and FOXTROT MEDLEYS, all being from his formative years as a major Telefunken record star. His musically inventive mind goes into overdrive on the final track of CD 1: THE OVERTURE TO THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR and continues on CD 2 with some more classical music tracks that German & European fans are hearing for the first time. Originally released as OPERA HAPPENING, four extra tracks were added for the UK market and the LP re-titled as HAMMOND GOES OPERA.

There are also a number of tracks from the original and one and only LP issued in the UK under the pseudonym of Chris Waxman, together with his fantastic compositions KRUG POLKA and SONG OF SANTIAGO...the latter teamed with memories of pop star Leapy Lee and LITTLE ARROWS. This double release comes complete with a front cover photo of Klaus taken from one of his first solo Hammond LPs, but the contents are both interesting and thrilling to hear. Transferred from the original analogous recordings, these sparkling new digital versions are as technically perfect as you will ever hear. This latest release is not just for devoted “Klaus Kollectors” but for everyone who wants to own recordings of the pied piper of the Hammond organ.
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I’m writing the review of EVERGREENS Vol. 3 (BLR 89.109) on the 6th anniversary of the death of Klaus Wunderlich on October 28th 1997. Can it be that so many years have passed since the organ world resounded to the news of his sudden and unexpected passing? In the years before he died, he began to think that his popularity had diminished. After all, Telefunken and other major record companies no longer wanted to offer him a contract to record new releases. However, the Marketing boys had no scruples when it came to constantly reissuing compilations which Klaus was never consulted upon, and in many cases knew nothing about until he heard it from fans. Bell Musik, and in particular recording engineer and close friend of Klaus, Werner Kohlhammer, should be congratulated on their continued series of reissued and remastered recordings. What makes theirs so special you may ask? Well for a start, a great deal of thought goes into these productions, and whenever possible they are “themed” in order to preserve the hours of dedicatory production that Klaus engineered in his music studio. All the releases are taken from his original reel to reel master tapes which have been lovingly stored in order that through the passage of time, the quality did not deteriorate. The results, as with all the previous Bell Musik compilations, are recordings that now have a new and exciting audio depth and quality that has hitherto never been heard, even despite the rigorous quality control that Klaus himself exercised over the original LPs. This latest release features some recording he made for Polydor & EMI in 1982 and 84 and showcase the Wersi Helios ad Pianostar instruments. The original LPs were ROMANTIC MELODIES POLD 5162 and IN A ROMANTIC MOOD EMI/ODEON ODN 1006, which was also released in the UK on the EMI Music for pleasure label MFP 5781. The CD has all of the tracks from IN A ROMANTIC MOOD, but only nine from ROMANTIC MELODIES, and so I’ll not insult your intelligence by further explaining the theme of this CD because it’s more than adequately spelt out in the original LP titles! . Listening again to these 20-year-old recordings it is so easy to understand why this most revered organist remained at the top of his class for so long. He had that innate way of choosing beautiful compositions, and by his thought processes, fashioned the music to make them even more beautiful. He could take a trio of well-known items and link the first and last with as little as 50 seconds worth of an equally well known tune. But it was that 50 seconds that was the “key” ... a longer than average musical segue if you like, that complimented those either side of it, so perfectly. The whole CD programme is printed elsewhere in the magazine but if you like music that ranges from traditional items such as SONG OF INDIA and GREENSLEEVES through to BEGIN THE BEGUINE / A MAN AND A WOMAN / I KISS YOUR HAND MADAME and MISTY, then this one is for you. I once asked Klaus what kind of music he enjoyed listening to in his leisure time. His reply? “I like all kinds of music as long as it is not aggressive music” and in fact he actually referred to these recordings as “anti-stress” music. I’ll drink to that!
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...so it brings us bang up to date with the thrilling series of Klaus Wunderlich re-issues and compilations, marketed by Bell Musik of Germany. Once again Werner Kohlhammer, freelance compiler and personal friend of the late maestro has put together another 20 tracks under the title EVERGREENS 2 [BLR 89 108]. Complimented by the colourful designed artwork booklet with informative notes printed in German and English, the CD opens with Klaus’s composition SHAMPOO MAMBO which is taken from one of his unique ‘Play Along with Klaus’ LPs, made during his brief association with Wersi. The next four tracks feature Klaus at his most imaginative zenith… adapting the classics. The first two examples come from his 1971 Super Star Sound LP on which he appears with the Gerd Wilden Orchestra (shown as Jerry Wilton Orchestra in the UK) NOCTURNE BOSSA and WALTZ OF THE FLOWERS. These are followed by the most up to date inclusions, coming as they do from his 1991 Classics a la Wunderlich CD in which the DANCE OF THE HOURS gives way to the most quixotic version of the Brahms HUNGARIAN DANCE No.5. I guarantee this is one track that will have you operating the “repeat play” button!

Next comes a Rumba Medley comprising of a three part medley taken from his 1985 release Strictly for Dancing, and this is followed by a gentle WALK IN THE BLACK FOREST. Tracks 8 to 12 were first heard on the artists original 1971 release Adieu Mein Kleiner Gardeoffizier: Tribute to Robert Stoltz LP, and quite naturally are compositions by this famous composer. Their inclusion compliments other tracks heard on Evergreens 1. Track 13, MIT MUSIK GEHT ALLES BESSER appears on his Oldies and Newies in Hammond Sound CD, and from there on to the end of the CD the tracks are all extracted from either of his early Mr. Hammond Gag or 24 Melodies You’ll never forget Vols 1 & 2 LPs.

The entire choice of recordings are between 15 and 35 years of age, and yet cannot fail to please the wide fan base of the artist. Taking some of the earliest of recording examples, those he made in his formative years as a top money spinning artist for Telefunken, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why he was such a popular exponent of the electronic organ. The inspiration that went into the arrangements was calculated to be way and above anything that his contemporaries might play. To this day there are a handful of English artists who regularly feature the Wunderlich style, and in some cases their attempts at the arrangements are commendable.

Klaus left us far too early in life, but as this music and the continuing sales figures prove, he’s still the number one electronic organist of all time.
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From the German Bell Musik Company comes another welcome reissue from ‘THE MASTER’ the sadly missed Klaus Wunderlich. Titled EVERGREENS Vol. 1 [BLR 89.107] this compilation is derived from two early LPs, both of which have been long ago removed from catalogues. What’s more it would be a very rare chance to come across either one in a car boot sale or charity shop. The first fourteen tracks come from the 1983 LP titled ILLUSION and was one of only three that Klaus recorded in his short contract term with Arioloa Records. The instruments credited for this recording are the Wersi Helios, the pianostar and synth bass, The entire music is that of Franz Grothe and are delightful, light-hearted tunes that one never hears played on radio or indeed finds on recordings. Having said that I will give credit to our own Tony Stace who took three of the tunes and performed them in his concert programmes last year. The remaining six tracks are taken from his 1974 LP KLAUS WUNDERLICH PLAYS ROBERT STOLTZ MELODIES, or to give its full and original title ADIEU, MEIN KLEINER GARDEOFFIZER. The original LP contains a reprint of the personal letter which Stoltz sent to Klaus, and which the compiler of this, and all the other Bell Musik compilations, Werner Kohlhammer, has quoted in part in the accompanying booklet. The instruments used in the last tracks are a Hammond H-100, Wersi W-248-S and unlike the Arioloa recording where Klaus played all the percussion, this 1974 session for Telefunken would have most certainly had a studio rhythm group. Those with an eye for detail will note that this CD is credited as volume one… so lets all hope that a volume two is in preparation and that contains some more of these never to be forgotten incredible sound recordings.

It has been five years since he passed away and today he would have been just turning seventy. What’s the betting that he would still be the greatest electronic organ sound innovator we have ever been privileged to hear in our lifetime. If you see this CD in the shops, please don’t be put off by the German titles, because such compositions as these transcend any language barriers.
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Continuing with the excellent series of Klaus Wunderlich re-issues it’s perhaps fair to say that JUBILÄUMS-AUSGABE [BLR 89-711] is a triple whammy! Yes, the first ever 3 CD boxed Wunderlich set. I had always hoped that one day some tracks from Wunderlich’s 1962 recording HAMMOND CONCERTO Telefunken BLE/SLE 14277- PEX would get re-released. Why this one you may ask. It has to be accepted that this recording of his stands both technically and musically way above anything that has ever been achieved by a Hammond organ soloist. 40 years on the recording is a master class in playing technique, and apart from one single track the entire original LP is presented on disc one, but now re-titled LIGHT FARE.

I am given to understand that the missing WARSAW CONCERTO track is all down to a faulty master tape, but that has now been corrected and is expected to appear on a future re-release. In its place is MEMORY from Cats, which, in an entire CD of classical and semi-classical music does tend to be musically, the odd man out! Additionally there are 4 delightful tracks from his 1974 recording ADIEU, MEIN KLEINER GARDEOFFIZIER: KLAUS WUNDERLICH PLAYS ROBERT STOLTZ MELODIES, Telefunken SLE 14770-P and his KLASSIC HITS POP POURRI from his psuedo live IN CONCERT 1979 English Tour souvenir album: EMI ODN 1003. Of the three CDs on offer this is my favourite but that’s not to take anything away from the delightful SWING & HAPPY, subtitled SWINGING EVERGREENS which features both solo and duet performances by Klaus in the company of Hubert Deuringer, an excellent accordionist. Together the two maestros, aided by a recording engineer who delights in distinct left and right ‘gimmicky’ stereo separation so beloved of the pioneering stereo LP days, have a ball. This CD is a complete copy of the UK released DOUBLE SWING Telefunken SLE 14233-P, and the later 1973 double LP release SWING & HAPPY Telefunken 6.26045.

Completing this wonderful boxed compilation is URALTEDELSCHNULZEN-SYNTHESIZERGAGS* which is a complete copy of the 1974 LP bearing the same title, together with SOUND 2000 Telefunken SLE 14715-P. To avoid confusion I should perhaps point out that this is NOT the same SOUND 2000 titled CD issued by Bell Musik on BLR 89.097 as recently as February 2000. When you consider that notes could only be played one after the other, the hours involved in compiling the finished results must have run into many hundreds. Why did Klaus do it you might ask? Always the comedian he went ahead and composed CORNFLAKES as the German answer to the successful American composition ‘POPCORN’. Once achieved his furtive brain into overdrive and to hear what became of these * “very ancient noble sloppy synthesizer gags” then waste no time in obtaining this bargain priced compilation. The total playing time is is nearly three and a half hours.
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Reviewing Klaus Wunderlich compilations is becoming a regular occurrence in these columns, not that I am complaining for one minute. They can keep coming at regular intervals as far I and countless other Wunderlich fans are concerned. Following on from the previous release comes HAMMOND FIREWORKS Vol 2. [BLR 89 103] but with it come a few lines of explanation. For instance, not all the tracks feature his Hammond organ recordings: at least 6 tracks have appeared a number of times before on earlier compilations, and the Fireworks portion of the title does not in any way have any connections with his 1966 LP of the same name. So what has tone meister Werner Kohlhammer of Bell Musik gathered together for us this time?

Of the 21 tracks, all but 7 are taken from the ‘Pop’ organ sound series with the majority of the tunes being those that are still remembered in the comparatively short life that such compositions enjoy. In fact this generous running 74 min CD runs the whole musical gamut of the legendary artist’s recorded output featuring as it does, examples of his solo Hammond performances, the later Wersi/Lowey combination, his incredible dabbling with the early monophonic Moog Synthesizer: his electronic ‘sound bending’ Bechstein ElecTrik piano and tracks from the SOUND 2000 series. An informative booklet gives details of the various musical periods which Klaus travelled through and the stunning sound quality is all down to the transfer of the original analogue recordings to digital CD format. Despite the inclusion of several already familiar tracks, this is still a release which every Wunderlich fan will want to add to their collection.
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I still find it hard to accept that Klaus Wunderlich is no longer around and enthralling us with his magical playing, but I’m going to commence this issue by turning back the clock to 1966 & 69 when two of his thrilling Hammond organ LP’s arrived on these shores. This is where it gets slightly confusing because the new CD HAMMOND FIREWORKS [Bell Musik BLR 89.099] bears the same title as one of those LPs: the other being WONDERLAND BY NIGHT. On this new recording the original analogue tapes have been faithfully converted into digital CD, and in his 70th year, had he still been with us, I guess the maestro would have been more than happy with the outcome.

For me there is a small disappointment inasmuch that not all the original FIREWORKS LP tracks have been included, whereas all of the original WONDERLAND ones have! It wasn’t as though there was insufficient time left on the disc either, but who knows, maybe after 35 years some of the tapes had begun to deteriorate. Anyone who has a copy of my Klaus Discography (see advert on page 12) will know that I refer to his multi-track technique. In the informative booklet that comes with this new CD there is a much longer description and reading it you can begin to understand not just how fanatical he was in order to obtain perfection, but that he would stop at nothing in order to achieve it.

So here we have 24 delightful Hammond organ tracks played in the easy on the ear 60’s style: everything from HELLO DOLLY to DRIGO’S SERENADE / BOOM-BANG-A-BANG / THE JAPANESE LANTERNMAN / TWILIGHT TIME, a couple of his own compositions ECHO IN THE NIGHT and FIVE SONS and my own two all time favourites ILLUSION and BALLSZENEN. Don’t waste time going to the shops for a copy, because it seems that only MSS Studios have them in the UK.
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Can it be 12 months since I, the last of the big spenders, let off a celebratory sparkler to herald in the supposed Millennium? Even worse, is it 21 years since Cled Griffin came up with the idea of staging an electronic organ festival? Imitation they say is the sincerest form of flattery, and now hardly a month goes by without an organ festival of one sort or another. In November, at the invitation of Cled and his wife Sylvia, who once again clasped me firmly to her bosoms in a welcoming embrace, (or should it be her welcoming bosoms?) I paid a return visit to Barton Hall, Torquay. On hand also was their extemely talented organist and multi keyboard star son Ian, one half of the famous Keyklix duo.

Christmas having just gone, not to mention leaving most of us with large bank overdrafts, I hope you will forgive me for making mention of the Festive season once more. Although the CD was available in time, a review of KEYS FOR CHRISTMAS (BLR 89 098) missed the print deadline, and there is no way I am going to pass up the opportunity of bringing a Klaus Wunderlich recording to your notice. The title is a new one but the content is not. What Bell Musik have done is re-package the whole of his 1971 HAMMOND FOR CHRISTMAS LP and the majority of the later 1987 JINGLE BELLS CD into one 70 minute recording.

The Hammond tracks are played as two continuous medleys, originally one per side of the original LP and to my mind this has to be one of the finest Yuletide recordings ever made a lesson to any organist thinking of going down that avenue in years to come. The later recording is made on the Wersi organ and comprises of separate tracks. All I can say is cash in those un-wanted High Street store gift vouchers and spend the proceeds on this lovely recording.
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...SOUND 2000 [BLR 89 097] To save confusion I should point out that this is not the Wunderlich recording of the same title on Telefunken SLE 14715-P which was released during his experimental moog synthesizer and electric piano period. However the CD does contain a few tracks from that correspondingly titled LP. For fans who constantly ask to hear something new from the Wunderlich archives, myself included, then you're in luck. Making their first ever sound outings are a full version of RIVERS OF BABYLON, previously only heard as a portion of a three part medley: the BERLIN MEDLEY Parts 1 & 2, and another of his own compositions WUNDERBAR not to be confused with the tune of the same name from Kiss Me Kate. In between these tracks there are further examples of his legendary Wersi organ sound ie: STRING OF PEARLS and a couple of his POP HITS MEDLEYS. From his early Hammond days comes another of his own compositions HIGHWAY SPEED which to be honest has been included on a number of other Wunderlich compilations and re-releases. Sales of all these Bell Musik releases prove that despite his early passing, the music of this sadly missed super star is still as poplar as it ever was.
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No sooner had that Klaus Wunderlich compilation arrived in the MSS storeroom than two more re-issues appeared. Once again it's all down to Werner Kohlhammer who, in conjunction with Bell Records seem to be slowly and methodically working their way through the Wunderlich music collection. In my letters to Werner Kohlhammer I have always made a point of suggesting that the very early Wunderlich recordings are far more likely to enjoy good sales figures based on the theory that for a number of years, those prior to the emergence of his Hammond Pops series, many people had no real idea just who he was. His early Hammond recordings are brilliant and if you don't believe me then just snap up a copy of 48 FILM AND OPERETTA MELODIES YOU'LL NEVER FORGE [BLR 89 096] This compilation is actually two complete and separate recordings originally released as 24 FILM MELODIES YOU'LL NEVER FORGET subtitled GOLDEN FILM HITS Telefunken SLE 14566-P and 24 OPERETTA MELODIES YOU'LL NEVER FORGET Telefunken SLE 14753-P. The great thing about both those LP's were that each side was recorded in continuous medley format no annoying breaks between tracks. All those early recordings have long disappeared and unless a collector has been extremely careful with them , they too must now be showing their age. Fear not, because with modern day technology the original master tapes have undergone a transformation to wipe out all traces of magnetic tape background and the resultant sound is as good, if not better in dynamic range, than it was back in the 70's when these two recordings first reached these shores. The 24 FILM MELODIES contains the themes from some of the most famous film world releases: LIMELIGHT / A MAN & A WOMAN / GOLDFINGER / NEVER ON SUNDAY / WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? / ZORBA'S DANCE / HARRY LIME THEME & THREE COINS IN A FOUNTAIN to name but a handful. If you love the lilting melodies of Franz Lehár, Johann Strauss, Emmerich Kálmám, Robert Stoltz & Paul Lincke, then all these famous composers are represented on the 24 OPERETTA MELODIES segment. Everything from DIE FLEDERMAUS to VILJA, KOMM ZIGÁNY & VICTORIA AND HER HUSSAR. There is no finer playing of a Hammond organ than as demonstrated on this superb CD. If your musical tastes lie in other directions then I am sure there will be something for you to enjoy on...
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...BIG BAND SWING [BLR 89 093] To arrive at the various authentic big band sound styles, Klaus spent many months listening to the original recordings and then set about meticulously copying the arrangements down note for note. Thus you have an eclectic mix of Harry James, Charlie Barnet, Billy Strayhorn, Perez Prado, Sy Oliver, Neil Hefti and of course the one and only Glenn Miller, from which album his IN THE MILLER MOOD, earned him a Gold Disc. Just over half of the tracks come from that famous LP, and the remainder, all but one, come from his MOOS MOOS album. The sound doesn't come any bigger than on this CD. More Klaus goodies are scheduled for release in the months ahead.
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Staying with a fellow countryman for a few moments longer, fans of the late Klaus Wunderlich will no doubt be ordering the latest two re-releases from his vast catalogue of recordings. The year 1977 saw the release of the only recording he ever made using the Hohner range of instruments, namely the Electra Piano T: Clavinet D6 and the String-Melody. Having put the instruments at his disposal I guess Hohner hoped for an ongoing association, but it was not to be. Even so they could not fail to have been mightily impressed with the end result of the original double album DREAM CONCERTO, and all have been now been included on DREAM MELODIES [BLR 89 094] Without doubt the 24 tracks are representative of some of his most delightful and sensitive playing and form the ideal background for an evening of late night listening with maybe a couple of glasses of some Millennium leftovers to ease you into a euphoric state. Listen out for his hauntingly beautiful arrangement of BALLSZENEN from the pen of one Helmensberger, and also BUBBLE GUM which Klaus composed using the alias of Lauer. If your tastes are for something with a little more 'oomph' then your choice most certainly will be the second of the releases, namely a compilation of tracks in Big Band style which he recorded in the years 1977 & 1987 (the sleeve notes erroneously state 1979 & 1984) and which now appear as...
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Bell Musik of Germany continue to release recordings by Klaus Wunderlich and although I don't have hopes that they will market any more brand new releases, they have now embarked on re-releasing previous material, although even on the latest CD SÜDAMERIKANA [BLR 89 086] there are some tracks which are of special interest. Regrettably I cannot get precise confirmation from a Herr Kohlhammer who is closely connected with the on-going release programme, as he has chosen to ignore my letters for reasons best known to himself! Be that as it may, I will put my neck on the line and say that I feel certain some are taken from Wunderlichs earliest German 45rpm EP releases and feature him on Hammond in his formative recording years back in the early 50's. That said, the majority of the remaining tracks come from the three volumes in the SÜDAMERICANA / LATIN FESTIVAL series. Interestingly there are two versions of TICO TICO recorded some 17 years apart on different instruments and for some inexplicable reason in a CD devoted to Latin American music, there is a the ORGEL RIFF foxtrot, which comes from the pen of the maestro himself. Whether accompanied by other musicians, as in his early recordings, or going solo with his faithful Wersi range of organs, there are few keyboard musicians who can come anywhere near to the faultless playing and finite interpretation of the exciting rythmns of Latin America. The SÜDAMERICANA / LATIN FESTIVAL LPs were re-released time and time again in the Country, but these studio enhanced recordings are worth having for their historic value alone. The next re-release will be of some of his Big Band recordings.
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Better value timewise, are the last recordings he is reputed to have made especially for his friends, but which are now contained on CONCERTO GROSSO [BLR 89 082]. This time it is the specially adapted Wersi organ that brings to life the sound that made him so famous, and the beauty of this recording is the actual content. None of those terrible, easily forgotten European Pop medleys that he was forced to make in order to satisfy the whims of the marketing guru's in the 50's and 60's. Instead, a one man 'Boston Pops Orchestral' concert awaits you. If you are a Strauss music fan then 5 of the 11 tracks will give you the greatest of musical pleasure: TRITSCH TRATSCH POLKA: KAISER WALTZER: LEICHTES BLUT: GESCHICHTEN AUS DEM WIENER WALD and THE BLUE DANUBE. A solo Spanish guitar leads into a fiery ESPAÑA, which in turn gives way to music from the NUTCRACKER SUITE and lastly to DONNA DIANA. A couple of his very early, and now long ago deleted Hammond recordings contained ERINNERUNGEN AN EIN BALLERLEBNIS and the OVERTURE TO THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. I doubt that they are played any better this time around, but the tonal comparison with his first and last instrument is interesting to those that can do so. This leaves the INTERMEZZO from the "Tanzerische Suite" to complete a programme that only serves to remind us what a most saddening and dreadful loss the organ world has suffered.
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Seemingly Bell Musik have access to most of the Wunderlich catalogue and are intent upon releasing other recordings, and just in case you were unable to obtain a copy of SPECIAL which the artist released just prior to his death, then this too has been re-packaged and is once again available with a new catalogue number of BLR 89.083. The programme content is along similar lines to CONCERTO GROSSO with superb versions of the POET & PEASANT OVERTURE: HAPPY DANUBE: PETITE FLEUR: JALOUSIE: PERFIDIA: AS TIME GOES BY: THE MERRY WIDOW and one of his own many delightful compositions PIANO CHARLEY.
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In the words of the famous song lyric 'where do I begin'? It's difficult to comprehend just how many new organ recordings have arrived for review since the first issue of 'ORGAN1st' was released. At the time I expressed surprise that no enterprising record company had been able to do a deal with the Trustees of the Wunderlich estate in releasing material from his private library of recordings. Lo and behold along come Bell Musik GmbH with CDs of his first and very last recordings, namely 24 MELODIES YOU'LL NEVER FORGET [BLR 89.084] and CONCERTO GROSSO [BLR 89.082]. Despite the accompanying publicity the former was NOT his first recording, and your's truly has Wunderlich letters to prove it! Having set the record straight let me say this is the REAL Klaus Wunderlich. The CD is a direct copy of the original Telefunken Vol.1 SLE 14166-P release of the same title, although re-mastered in stereo. This is the kind of playing: the kind of sound that set him miles apart from any of his contemporaries and became responsible for placing him on a pinnacle that no-one ever succeeded in toppling him from. You want Hammond organ playing? Look no further than this beautiful excursion of timeless tunes such as BLUE TANGO: CHARMAINE: LA VIE EN ROSE: JALOUSIE: SING, NIGHTINGALE SING: INDIAN LOVE CALL etc, all interwoven in one 43 minute continuous medley.
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