spoliansky1940Whilst Mischa Spoliansky's music continues to be performed world wide despite the pandemic. We are delighted to have just recorded the first ever recording/performance of Spolianskys, "Symphony in 5 movements" under the label, ToccataClassics.

The release date is April 1st 2022.

In addition, we've also included 2 other compositions, " Boogie" also never performed about which very little is known, and "The Overture" from Spolianskys last theatrical show, entitled " My Husband and I " based on Sheridan's "School for Scandal" in which there are a host of wonderful songs.

It is hoped this CD release will allow a whole new generation of music lovers to admire the wealth and diverse talent Spolianskys music has given us over the years since his rise to fame in the heady Berlin Kabaret era.



It may come as a surprise to many that Mischa Spoliansky, the composer of the sly and witty cabaret songs that helped to launch the career of Marlene Dietrich and the sparkling scores for the British film industry should have left a five-movement symphony that lay unperformed for decades after his death in 1985.

In his unpublished autobiography – a fascinating document that deserves to be widely known – Spoliansky described the evolution of this work:

When I was younger and working from one composition to the next, I decided that when the time came to work less I would start composing a symphony. In the interim whenever I had some spare time, I would make notes of my ideas, musical themes, phrases, anything that came into my head. I carried on over several years until I stopped working so much. By this time I had collected a considerable amount of material. And what was so extraordinary was that these brief sketches and outlines fitted together and had taken on some sort of form. I was then able to write out my symphony, which has five movements.

He added plaintively: ‘Perhaps one day it will be performed’.

To each of the five movements Spoliansky attached a title, suggesting an autobiographical programme:
1. And thus was man created.
2. Ode to Love
3. Of Laughter (Humoresque)
4. Of Weeping (Lament)
5. And new life blossoms from the ruins (Epilogue)
Like Darius Milhaud, another composer of Jewish origin (though Sephardi rather than Askenazi) who was a close contemporary, Spoliansky was a self-declared optimist. Milhaud entitled his autobiography My Happy Life, and Spoliansky ended his with the words ‘I have been a very lucky man’.

Spoliansky did indeed have plenty of blessings to count: a warm and loving early childhood that clearly formed his character, a God-given talent and the lucky breaks that led to a brilliant career in the cultural hot house of 1920s Berlin. It was a quite extraordinary piece of luck that in 1933 of all years, he enjoyed a huge international hit with the song he described as his passport to freedom, ‘Tell Me Tonight’. Above all, he enjoyed a supremely happy private life, with an enduring marriage and loving daughters, in a milieu that in earlier years at least can hardly have been conducive to stable domesticity. And finally, though he cannot have known this when he wrote his autobiography, he died peacefully in his own bed, according to a postlude written by his daughter Spoli.

Of course, there were darker aspects to Spoliansky’s life that do not go unacknowledged in his autobiography, even if he chose not to dwell on them.
Quite apart from the persecution and disruption that was the common experience of Jewish artists in the first half of the twentieth century, Spoliansky endured more than his fair share of the hammer blows of fate. In particular, the premature deaths of his mother, when he was seven years old, and of his father, when he was twelve, led to a period of Dickensian grimness.

To what extent was Spoliansky’s Jewish background a factor in his creative personality? He tells us that he consciously renounced religion at an early age. But even had he wished to do so, the political events of his lifetime – pogroms in his early childhood and Nazi persecution later on – never allowed him to forget his Jewish origins and he mentions them frequently in his autobiography. The pattern of his career follows a pattern typical of Jewish composers, from Offenbach to Gershwin, in operating along the blurred boundaries between classical and popular music.

Mischa Spoliansky was born in 1898 in the Polish city of Białystok, then part of the Russian Empire. He was the youngest of three siblings, a fact that may have some bearing on his essentially happy and easy-going character. His father was a moderately successful operatic baritone who had earlier sung at the Mariinsky Theatre, and there was music in the household from the first. His older brother, Schura, played the cello and his sister Lisa, the piano, eventually studying in Vienna with the legendary Pȁdagog Theodor Leschetizky. An idyllic early childhood surrounded by love and protected from the menace of anti-Semitism seems to have given Mischa the emotional resilience to survive the tragedy of the premature deaths of both parents.

Love played an exceptionally important role for Spoliansky – not the tormented and tempestuous love of a Liszt or a Berlioz but a quietly contented love that lasted a lifetime, immune to the surrounding storms of his era. He did not see a conflict between domestic and creative life and, according to his eldest daughter, Spoli, was happy to continue composing with his children playing on the floor in the same room. Spoliansky’s account of his courtship of his wife Eddy reads like the script of a Hollywood movie: love at first sight, followed by a delightful period spent in a country house as guests of a wealthy and eccentric friend.

Spoliansky was one of those composers like Rossini and Offenbach with an instinctive ability to express laughter through music. Indeed, he was at one point dubbed ‘The Berlin Offenbach’. It is no coincidence that the first piece of music that he composed at the age of six was entitled ‘Scherzo’. He was a very witty man and always ready to find the humour in every situation. This comes through in his delightful autobiography as well as in his cabaret songs and film scores. His song ‘Mir ist so nach dir’ or ‘Viens!’ is funny in both the French and German versions – with very different texts – and the jaunty tune would raise a smile even with no text at all.

In spite of his early experience of family tragedy, Spoliansky was blessed in that none of his immediate family was involved in the Holocaust. He did not have the experience of the sculptor Oscar Nemon, who found precarious refuge in Britain only to discover at the end of the war that his entire family had been murdered. Spoliansky’s parents were already dead and his two siblings also escaped, though he must have feared for them until he heard news of them at the end of the war.

Twenty years ago, when Spoliansky’s oldest daughter Spoli was hoping to publish her father’s autobiography, she began to read through her mother’s diaries in search of material to amplify her father’s text. In one of our joyous weekly conversations (always enhanced by the generous glasses of vodka and tonic that Spoli poured out for me), I commented that her parents must have been dreadfully fearful in the autumn of 1940 when German victory and the arrival of the Nazis in Britain seemed possible and even probable. Spoli exclaimed: ‘Oh no! It never occurred to us that the Germans would win’. In fact, Spoliansky’s autobiography contains many comments about the fears he and his wife had for their daughters, and the very next time Spoli and I met she told me how shocked she was to discover an entry in her mother’s diary recording a conversation she and Spoliansky had about what to do to protect their daughters in the event of Nazi victory, including the ultimate option of shooting them to prevent them falling into Nazi hands. Spoliansky’s autobiography also makes a number of sad references to friends and colleagues from the Berlin years who did not make it to the end of the war.

As the 1930s began, Mischa Spoliansky was on a heady roll of success. The possibilities seemed infinite, and his career could have developed in a number of directions. He had made his name in the late 1920s with a series of brilliantly successful musical revues, including Es liegt in der Luft (providing Marlene Dietrich with her first major success), Zwei Krawatten and Alles Schwindel. He had the prestige of working with Germany’s leading theatre director, the all-powerful Max Reinhardt. He had written a full-length opera that awaited production (it was entitled Himmelmayer – another never performed work that might deserve disinterment). The international success of Spoliansky’s songs for the 1933 film Tell Me Tonight opened the possibility of an entirely new career in the movies. From an artistic point the most interesting development was Spoliansky’s ‘cabaret opera’ Rufen Sie Herren Plim!, premiered in Berlin at the end of 1932. Live recordings of excerpts from a performance provide evidence of the warm reception the Berlin audience gave to this novel form of entertainment on the eve of the Nazi takeover. But political events prevented any follow-up.

In his application to the German government after the Second World War for compensation for lost earnings (an insultingly meagre compensation as it turned out), Spoliansky wrote:

The changes brought about by the National Socialists did not simply mean the annihilation of my economic existence, but it meant that work I had spent years creating and developing for the future, so closely bound to the German language and German culture, never saw the light of day and was lost forever.

In the following years, the diaspora of Berlin musical talent reacted variously to the new circumstances around the globe. Spoliansky’s old friends Richard Werner Heymann and Friedrich Holländer found a measure of success in Hollywood, while Erich Korngold and Franz Waxman took the art of the film score to new heights. For many, such as Spoliansky’s former mentor Max Reinhardt, times were hard and cultural life unrewarding. Ralph Benatzky, disheartened by his lack of success in the New World, contemplated suicide by throwing himself from a building. While strolling down Broadway, Alexander Zemlinsky told his wife bitterly that he should not wish to be buried there. Paul Abraham was committed to an asylum after trying to conduct New York traffic, and Jaromir Weinberger eventually took his own life.

After World War II, all the surviving refugee composers were then faced with the grim reality that musical tastes had moved on and they had been left behind.
Spoliansky suffered his own disappointments. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow when the Hungarian film-producer Alexander Korda transferred the production of the lavish film The Thief of Bagdad from England to Hollywood and replaced Spoliansky with Miklós Rozsa, providing the latter with a career break that could have been Spoliansky’s. Nevertheless Korda had already introduced Spoliansky to the admittedly rather less glamorous British film industry, and to that industry Spoliansky was able to devote much of the rest of his career, creating a notable body of work.

Though we may regret the exciting and experimental works that Spoliansky might have created had he been allowed to remain in Berlin, we can at least congratulate ourselves that this re-discovered symphony may provide some compensation for lost opportunities.

Patrick Bade is an historian, writer and broadcaster. He studied at University College London and the Courtauld Institute and was senior lecturer at Christies Education for many years. He has worked for the Art Fund, Royal Opera House, National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Musum. He has published on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century painting and on historical vocal recordings. His books include studies of Degas, Klimt and Mucha; the latest is Music Wars: 1937–1945. He leads cultural tours to various European cities, including Vienna, and is the author of several books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century painting and music, including Femme Fatale: Images of Evil and Fascinating Women, and Music Wars, as well as monographs in the ‘Reveries’ series on Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and others. Reviewing Music Wars, Sir David Hare noted that he has ‘A dazzling gift for both hilarious and devastating detail’.



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Forthcoming Performance


"Alles Schwindel" opens in Dresden Jan 20th 2017. csm 01 Christian Thielemann Preistraegerkonzert f53307c8c7

The title of the farce says it all: »Pure Hogwash«, written in 1931 by Mischa Spoliansky and Marcellus Schiffer as their third piece of music theatre for Berlin’s Theatre am Kurfürstendamm, set out to lampoon the contemporary scene. The story of a society in which everyone pretends to be someone else, and where facts and feelings are capricious, slyly holds a mirror to 1930s Berlin. Buffeted by political upheaval and still reeling from the wild 1920s, many felt their lives to be like a rollercoaster ride.

The action supposedly takes place »yesterday, today and tomorrow«, so that modern audiences are still able to identify with the main couple, Evelyne and Tonio, who meet through a lonely hearts’ advert, and never really get to know one another’s real identity. A portrayal of a fake small-talk society of 1932 and 2017, where no one reveals their true face.


Der Titel der Burleske sagt bereits alles: 1931 schufen Mischa Spoliansky und Marcellus Schiffer ihre dritte Musiktheaterzusammenarbeit »Alles Schwindel« für das Berliner Theater am Kurfürstendamm – und trafen prompt den Nerv der Zeit. Die Geschichte rund um eine Gesellschaft, in der jeder vorgibt, ein anderer zu sein, und in der auf Tatsachen und Gefühle kein Verlass ist, spiegelte gekonnt das Berlin der 1930er-Jahre: Die damalige politische Umbruchzeit und die Nachwehen der wilden Zwanziger ließen viele ihr Leben als Achterbahnfahrt empfinden. Schiffers spitzzüngige Texte in Ergänzung mit Spolianskys mitreißenden Melodien gebaren Evergreens wie »Mit dir möchte ich mal auf der Avus Tango tanzen« oder »Auf der Gesellschaft«, die bis heute im Ohr klingen. Und auch jenseits dieser Hits hat die Burleske nichts an Aktualität eingebüßt. Gemäß ihrer Angabe zur Handlungszeit – »Gestern, heute und morgen« – kann man sich bis heute mit dem Protagonistenpaar identifizieren: Evelyne und Tonio, die sich über eine Kontaktanzeige kennenlernen und bis zum Ende nicht wissen, wer der andere eigentlich ist, sind Abbild einer falschen Small-Talk-Gesellschaft, die 1932 wie 2017 kein wahres Gesicht erkennen lässt.


"WIE WERDE ICH REICH UND GLÜCKLICH"? Opens in Mannheim Jan 21st 2017.


Mischa Spoliansky’s cabaret revue was met with jubilant acclaim when it first premiered in the Komödie playhouse am Kurfürstendamm in 1930.

With its unassuming tragi-comical protagonists, the absurd story of the rise of a con artist in the middle of the global economic crisis touched the nerve of the times. Despite its musical sophistication, Spoliansky had no qualms entertaining the masses with his jazz, dance and chanson numbers, capturing both the flair of the »Roaring Twenties« and the sentiment of misery in times of crisis. And – let’s be honest – who hasn’t asked themselves: How do I become rich and happy?

 »So ist das Leben eben, wie das liebe Leben eben ist. Drum muss man’s leben eben, wie das Leben eben ist. Weil das ganze Leben eben ohne Leben gar kein Leben ist!«

Den arbeitslosen Kibis plagen Geldsorgen. Bisher wusste er zwar, mit Tricksereien die Mietzahlungen aufzuschieben, doch als die Vermieter mit der Kündigung drohen, setzt ihn seine Freundin Lis unter Druck. Marie, Tochter des Inhabers eines großen Automobilkonzerns, langweilt sich vor lauter Reichtum, und ihr Verlobter F. D. Lohrenz hat wegen drängender Geschäfte leider keine Zeit für sie. Für beide Fälle garantiert die Werbebroschüre »Wie werde ich reich und glücklich?« hundertprozentige Abhilfe. Beflissen befolgen Kibis und Marie die dort aufgestellten Leitsätze, bis es Kibis gelingt, Maries Aufmerksamkeit zu erregen, während sie als Wohltäterin der Armen wirkt. Marie verzichtet kurzum auf die Verbindung mit Lohrenz und heiratet Kibis. Das Glück scheint perfekt. Doch merke: »Erstens kommt es anders, zweitens als man denkt.« Beim ersten Ehestreit während eines Strandurlaubs wird offenbar, dass Kibis trotz Reichtum nun nicht mehr glücklich ist, und für Marie die Anweisungen zum richtigen Verhalten bei Lohrenz viel besser funktionieren …


 Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret review – sardonic, sexual, wonderfully done 

Cadogan Hall, London
In the company of Meow Meow and a raffish Australian Chamber Orchestra, Humphries reveals a lifelong love for music the Nazis banned as ‘degenerate’




Heute Nacht Oder Nie













Die Spoliansky-Revue [2015] - The Spoliansky revue [2015]Textfassung von Stefan Huber - Text by Stefan Huber 

Musikalisches Arrangement von Kai Tietje - Musical Arrangement by Kai Tietje 

Nach ihrem überwältigenden Erfolg in der Operette Clivia kehren die Geschwister Pfister und Schauspieler Stefan Kurt mit einer Hommage an den Meister des unterhaltsamen satirischen Kabarettsongs und der großen Revuen der Weimarer Republik zurück: eine opulente Vorbühnenshow – mit bekannten und weniger bekannten Juwelen aus der Feder des jüdisch-russischen Komponisten Mischa Spoliansky. After its overwhelming success in the operetta Clivia reverse the siblings Pfister and actor Stefan Kurt with a tribute to the master of entertaining satirical cabaret songs and the great revues of the Weimar Republic back: an opulent Vorbühnenshow - known and lesser-known gems from the pens of Jewish -Russian composer Mischa Spoliansky.

  Friday 1st and Saturday 9th April-  Sunday 23rd June-  Monday 4th July


New recordings of three Spoliansky songs by the talented and versatile Mary Carew.  Spring release date to be advised.



1. Diamonds are forever (1971) John Barry/Don Black
2. What good would the moon be? (1947) Kurt Weill/Langston Hughes
3. I can’t be talking of love (1950) John Duke/Esther Mathews
4. O just suppose (1928)
Friedrich Hollaender
(English lyrics: Jeremy Lawrence)
5. Poor little rich girl (1925) Noël Coward
6. Promiscuity (1953) Samuel Barber/Anon
7. Aria (1984) Carl Vine/Patrick White
8. Over the piano (1971) William Bolcom/Arnold Weinstein
9. Masculine and feminine (1921-24)
 Mischa Spoliansky/Marcellus Schiffer
(English lyrics: Jeremy Lawrence)
10. Life’s a swindle (1931) Mischa Spoliansky/Marcellus Schiffer
(English lyrics: Jeremy Lawrence)
11. Herr Bombardil (1901) Alexander Zemlinsky/Rudolf Alexander Schröder (English lyrics: Philip Mayers)
12. Hitler (1930) Stefan Wolpe
(English lyrics: Philip Mayers)
13. I’m a stranger here myself (1943) Kurt Weill/Ogden Nash
14. At the last lousy moments of love (1997) William Bolcom/Arnold Weinstein
15. Letter to Freddy (1935) Paul Bowles/Gertrude Stein
16. Solitary Hotel (1969) Samuel Barber/James Joyce
17. Do it again (1922) George Gershwin/Buddy DeSylva
18. Candy machine (1991) Jack Gottlieb
19. Toothbrush time (1985) William Bolcom/Arnold Weinstein
20. Romanzo (di Central Park (1900) Charles Ives/Leigh Hunt
21. Three (1947) Paul Bowles/Tennessee Williams
22. Then (1962) Marc Blitzstein
23. O close the curtain (1985) William Bolcom/Arnold Weinstein
24. Mad dogs and Englishmen (1932) Noël Coward
25. Where is love (1959) Lionel Bart

Mary Carewe - voice
Philip Mayers - piano and arrangements tracks 1,2,4,5,7,9,10,13,17,22,24,25.


Saint Joan CD Release

Delighted to announce a limited edition byKritzerland, the film sound track CD of:
Otto Premingers 1957 film“Saint Joan”
Music composed and conducted byMischa Spoliansky.

The first released CD of a film score by Spoliansky, remastered byKritzerlandfrom the original masters of the album held in the Capitol/EMI vaults. The main theme is astonishingly beautiful and evocative, Spoliansky's dramatic scoring accompanies Premingers stately visuals masterfully. His “Toccatina” for organ is a wonderful piece, as is the “Dream Minuet”. But every cue in the film helps underscore the characters many and varied emotions.

Mischa Spoliansky scored for many high profile films like “The Private Life of Don Juan”, “Sanders of the River” (starring Paul Robeson, and for who Spoliansky composed several songs), “The Man who could work Miracles” “Wanted for Murder” “King Solomans Mines” “The Happiest days of our Lives” “North West Frontier” and many others.

On the original LP presentation, the album contained all of Spoliansky's score, cues were combined rather artfully so much so Kritzerland decided to present this CD in the exact same album configuration.

Chandos CD Release

We are pleased to announce the imminent release of a CD of some of Mischa Spolianky's film music. This was recorded by the BBC Concert Orchestra under the conductorship of Ramon Garos for the Chandos label. This CD is as a direct result of our partnership deal with Music sales.We are particularly excited about this release as we hope this to be the beginning of our endeavors to re-vive Spoliansky's name to the international prominence he once enjoyed. Theme music from films such as "The Ghost Goes West" & "Wanted for Murder" with songs which became household favorites originally sung by Paul Robeson from films "Sanders of the River" & "King Solomans Mines" originally sung by Paul Robeson, and ending with a most memorable suite "Dedication" from the film "Idol of Paris" a most accomplished piece of film composition.

Spoliansky Biography

The Trust is also excited about finalizing Mischa Spoliansky's biography. This was something his eldest daughter Spoli Mills was instrumental in uncovering and undertaking. The biography was compiled by Spoliansky himself and adapted by Penny Black. The publisher is to be Ricordi and is currently undergoing a German translation. We are hopeful of finding and English publisher in the not to distant future.

Melinda Hughes CD


Songs by the Weimar composer Mischa Spoliansky
& the outrageous satirical group Kiss and Tell Cabaret

Available on Amazon on the Nimbus Alliance label.

For more info seewww.kissandtellcabaret.com

Melinda’s satirical look in the jazz style at life now and then with songs from her new album promises to be a riotous evening of song, comedy and cabaret. Kiss and Tell songs are written by Jeremy Limb, Lloyd Evans and Melinda Hughes with music by Jeremy Limb.
Classically trained, Melinda Hughes has performed as an opera singer in over forty countries in more than twenty leading roles from Madame Butterfly in the USA to Fiordiligi, Pamina and The Countess in the UK and Europe.  She has performed in concert halls such as Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and the Auditorio Nacional, Madrid. Her love for Weimar Cabaret inspired her to form Kiss and Tell Cabaret and to record the album Smoke and Noise.
Melinda has recorded with Barry Humphries for Radio 4 “Barry on Weimar” broadcast this summer and will sing at the Hay on Wye Literary Festival on 28th May and The Cadogan Hall, on Monday 13 June for the Intelligence Squared Comedy Evening.

        For more info seewww.kissandtellcabaret.com

   Reviews for Smoke and Noise

Clear diction means that every syllable tells, and she’s a convincing actress, able to sound vampish, bored, seductive and upper class as each song demands… "Leben ohne lieb" and "Don’t be afraid" are bittersweet jewels. Punchy, witty accompaniments turn what could be an academic archaeological exercise into something far more involving.
The Arts Desk

Hughes, who's fluent in German, is pretty good at smouldering too, and has a comic gift. Hughes delivers the lines with a cut glass accent so arch that sometimes she deliberately sings up a tone, so it feels like the cut glass is cracking. Which is exactly what the song is about. Savagely trenchant. Hughes mixes Spoliansky's originals with songs from her own cabaret Kiss & Tell, like CRUNCH. This song is brilliant. Every line crackles - impossible to quote the best!
Classical Iconoclasthttp://classical-iconoclast.blogspot.com/2011/04/

An intimate/nearly claustrophobic performance with cynicism and bite, this is tailor made for the opened ears looking for some really wild, new kick. Hughes could sing the phone book, she's that good and the material is justas cool a find. Performance art at it's populist best.
Midwest records USAhttp://midwestrecord.com/MWR308.html