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Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy
When I’m Calling You
Various orchestras led by Nat Shilkret, Herbert Stothart and others.
rec. 1930-1942

At a very early age I got to know Indian Love Call through the radio. The song was still very popular in the 1940s and 50s and often popped up in various request programmes. Though I wasn’t so attuned to classical singing at that time I admired the bright silvery tones from Jeanette MacDonald and the warm baritone of Nelson Eddy – and things haven’t changed. It has been a pleasure to return to these two voices after all those years. At that time I didn’t know anything about the singers and their very successful careers as the magic duo on the screen in eight films between 1935 and 1942. It also came as a surprise to learn that they only recorded two 78s together during their heydays in the 1930s. On this CD we can hear them, however, in no less than fifteen duets, of which the majority is culled from the film soundtracks. The technical quality of the soundtracks is fully comparable to the 78s and the quality of their respective voices is very consistent during the entire period. In Jeanette MacDonald’s case it is a matter of twelve years, since she is also represented by a few tracks from her earliest career. Both voices were actually in prime condition even much later and made it possible to re-record four of their duets in stereo as late as 1959. MacDonald was even contracted for the role of Mother Abbess in the film version of The Sound of Music in 1965 but had to withdraw due to ill health. But she did have a brief career as opera singer in roles like Juliette in Rómeo et Juliette and Marguerite in Faust. Nelson Eddy also sang classical repertoire, as he had also done before his film career, and still recorded into his 60s. Jeanette MacDonald’s capacity in traditional soprano repertoire is best demonstrated in her rendition of Vilja-Lied from Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe, which she sang in the MGM film from 1934 (her Danilo then was Maurice Chevalier). The studio recording of Vilja was made the same year, and it is a good version with cute singing and secure top notes.

There is little need to go into detailed analyses of the separate numbers. On some of the soundtrack numbers there are some extra-musical noises, which add a feeling of being at the cinema. In the insert number by Hermann Lohr, Little Grey Home in the West, from 1911, on the soundtrack from Sweethearts there is some very musical but uncredited whistling, and in the Sweetheart Waltz there are a few bars of Auld Lang Syne. One of the best tracks is Nelson Eddy’s Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise from New Moon, which is sung with considerable glow, not always his forte otherwise.

As always with these Retrospective issues, the presentation is exemplary: complete discographical details, including matrix numbers and recording dates and extensive liner notes by Ray Crick – with thanks to notes by Peter Dempsey. Have you worn out your old vinyl discs of these old favourites, or are you too young to have even heard about Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy? Those are damages that are easy to repair: Just buy this disc! No record collection of light music or film music from days gone by is really complete without these classic recordings.

Göran Forsling

Rudolf FRIML (1879 – 1972)
Rose Marie (1936 MGM film starring JM & NE; from the 1924 musical)
1. Indian Love Call (JM & NE) [3:36]
2. Rose Marie (NE) [3:07]
Victor HERBERT (1859 – 1924)
Naughty Marietta (1935 MGM film starring JM & NE; from the 1910 operetta)
3. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life! (The Dream Melody) (JM & NE) [3:32]
4. I’m Falling in Love with Someone (NE) [3:23]
Three earlier Jeanette MacDonald films:
Richard WHITING (1891 – 1938) & Franke HARLING (1887 – 1958)
Monte Carlo (1930 Paramount film starring JM & Jack Buchanan)
5. Beyond the Blue Horizon (JM) [2:20]
Richard RODGERS (1902 – 1979)
Love Me Tonight (1932 Paramount film starring JM & Maurice Chevalier)
6. Isn’t it Romantic? (JM) [3:27]
Franz LEHÁR (1870 – 1948)
The Merry Widow (1934 MGM film starring JM & Maurice Chevalier)
7. Vilja-Lied (JM) [3:22]
Sigmund ROMBERG (1887 – 1951)
The Night is Young (1935 film)
8. When I grow too Old to Dream (NE) [3:20]
Maytime (1937 MGM film starring JM & NE)
9. Will You Remember (Sweetheart) (JM & NE) [3:35]
James A BLAND (1854 – 1911)
10. Carry Me Back to Old Virginny (1878)(JM & NE) [3:01]
11. Farewell to Dreams (JM & NE) [3:33]
Blossom Time (1921 musical after Schubert)
12. The Song is You (JM & NE) [3:29]
The Girl Of the Golden West (1938 MGM film starring JM & NE)
13. Seńorita (JM & NE) [3:20]
14. Who Are We to Say? (JM & NE) [3:56]
Sweethearts (1938 film starring JM & NE, from 1913 operetta)
15. Sweetheart Waltz (JM & NE) [3:56]
Hermann LOHR (1871 – 1943)
16. Little Grey Home in the West (1911) (JM & NE) [2:18]
New Moon (1940 MGM film starring JM & NE; from 1928 operetta, The New Moon)
17. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise (NE) [3:22]
18. One Kiss (JM) [3:49]
19. Wanting You (JM & NE) [4:07]
20. Lover, Come Back to Me (JM & NE) [2:11]
Noël COWARD (1899 – 1973)
Bitter Sweet (1940 MGM film starring JM & NE; from the 1929 operetta)
21. I’ll See You Again (JM & NE) [3:36]
22. Dear Little Café (JM & NE) [2:36]
I Married An Angel (1942 MGM film starring JM & NE; from the 1938 musical)
23. I Married An Angel (NE) [3:16]
24. Spring Is Here (JM & NE) [1:49]

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