Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Full Moon Music - Luna Waltz

Carl Emil Paul Lincke was born in the Jungfern Bridge district of Berlin in 1866, a year that saw Jesse James rob his first bank and Italy go to war with Austria. After his father's death, Lincke was sent to Wittenberge where he joined the Wittenberg City Band and learned to play various instruments. Lincke didn't go into minitary music as a career as his mother thought he would. The nightlife drew him away from the starkness the life of a military musician and he found himself drifting toward the dance halls and berlesques. In 1987 he created the one-act musical play Venus auf Erden which premiered at the Apollo Theater in Friedrichstrasse.

In 1899, after a two year stint with the vaudeville house Folies Bergere, Lincke returned to the Apollo and produced his biggest success the operetta Frau Luna and the Luna Waltz (below) featured in that composition. But, as we all know, a lovely song does not make a lovely person and as the nineteen-teens ebbed into the furious twenties and then the steely thirties, Lincke found himself one of the poster-boys of the Nazi regime.

In 1937 he was awarded the silver cross and made an honorary citizen of Berlin. He departed Germany to conduct Frau Luna in Bohemia in 1943 and returned to find his Berlin home and publisher had been destroyed by allied bombs. After the war Lincke couldn't endear himself to the allies as he had to the Nazis. He moved to Arzberg, Bavaria with the approval of American General Pierce and later to Hahnenklee where he died shortly before his eightieth birthday. To this day his march Berliner Luft remains the unofficial anthem of the city that adopted him and his tune Das Gluhwurmchen (The Glow Worm) was translated into English in a greatly edited version by Johnny Mercer and made a hit by the Mills Brothers in 1952.

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