Calling all Palast Orchester fans! Bandleader Max Raabe has eine Nachtricht für Sie: “Shortly we will be in on our yearly North America tour. We are very happy that two new cities are on our schedule: Montreal on April 16 and Ottawa on April 17. Other cities we will be revisiting like Chicago, Boston, Toronto and Washington, D.C. Come and listen how we mix American standards like ‘Let’s Do It,’ ‘Over My Shoulder’ or ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf’ with their German counterparts written in the late ’20s. Hilarious songs like ‘When I Need Love, I Go to Pauline,’ romances like ‘Women Are So Beautiful When They Love’ and classics like Kurt Weill’s ‘Bilbao Song’ are cleverly woven into a highly entertaining evening that builds bridges over time and space.”
Before Raabe and his Palast Orchester return to Orchestra Hall for an SCP Special Concert on April 20, here’s a personal list of favorites that inspire Herr Max, with comments by the man himself:
Al Bowlly with Ray Noble and His Orchestra, “Midnight, the Stars and You” (1934)
Al Bowlly with Ray Noble and His Orchestra are a classic. We often listen to them when polishing our style. Their version of “Midnight, the Stars and You” was used for the film “The Shining” (1980), and we have adapted it for our tour to North America.
Paul Whiteman, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (1934)
If you look on our website, you will find a video of us performing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Our rendition is based on an arrangement by Paul Whiteman, “King of Jazz” of the Æ20s and ’30s. Not so long ago, his and my paths crossed again; I was called by Sir Simon Rattle, music director of the renowned Berlin Philharmonic. He was planning a late-night concert with Paul Whiteman arrangements and asked me to sing. Of course, with such a program, we had a ball on stage! By the way, that version can be heard online via the Digital Concert Hall site of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Schubert lieder
I used to love listening to them as boy and originally my ambition was to earn my income as a lied performer. I was then told that to do that, I had to study opera singing — so I did. That is why I became a certified baritone.
Isham Jones, “With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming” (1934)
This is another rendition we have taken into our concert program. Actually, it’s our opener. This song was also beautifully sung by one of my other favorite singers, Dean Martin.
Gamma Ray, “Birth Control” (1972)
This song was a hit at parties in childhood days. Recently I was invited to a friend’s house, and they actually played “Birth Control”; immediately I got up and bounced around on the dance floor like in those days.
Brahms, String Sextets
I just adore them! I have an old recording of Pablo Casals and Isaac Stern. Out of this world!
Amy Winehouse, “Back to Black” (2006)
I loved the voice and groove of Amy Winehouse and was totally shocked when news of her death broke.
Charles Trenet, “La mer” (1946)
We have a cute connection to this song. At the end of 2016, we put our entire repertoire of over 600 titles on internet and asked our audience via social media to choose which songs they would wish us to perform in the upcoming show. Ranked no. 1 by far was this French song, “La mer” by Charles Trenet. The strange thing is: it was chosen although we had never performed it in Germany.
Rammstein, “Engel” (1997)
The German metal band Rammstein makes a very martial impression with their aggressive performance, growling vocals and pyro on stage, but in fact singer and songwriter Till Lindemann writes great lyrics and is a recognized poet. A few years ago, the Palast Orchester and I were invited to Lindemann’s 50th birthday in a crazy location in the middle of Berlin: a onetime public indoor swimming pool. We danced in the deep end, so to speak.
Itzhak Perlman/Samuel Sanders, Kreisler’s Liebesleid
I had the privilege of singing this beautiful song at Carnegie Hall, just with piano accompaniment.
TOP: Max Raabe in concert at Symphony Center in April 2015. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015