PE0258. KATJA THE DANCER (Katja, Die Tänzerin) (Jean Gilbert [Max Winterfeld]), recorded 1925, w.Arthur Wood Cond. Gaiety Theatre Orch.; Lilian Davies, Gregory Stroud, Ivy Tresmand, Gene Gerrard, René Mallory & Bobby Comber, (Members of Original Cast, 21 Feb., 1925, London); Additional material by the Mayfair Orch.& Hannan Dance Band. An operetta in 3 acts. (Book & lyrics by Leopold Jacobson and Rudolph Österreicher - Vienna 1922; as KATJA THE DANCER (Book by Harry Graham and Frederick Lonsdale, Lyrics by Harry Graham) - Gaiety Theatre, London 21 February, 1925; as KATJA - 44th Street Theatre, New York 18 October, 1926 (112 performances). (England) Palaeophonics 93B, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 10pp. Brochure replete with photos of the production & biographies. Excellently transferred from the legendary Acoustic 78rpm rarities.
“’If I were to sum up my life, everything has been about love’, Princess Lilian of Sweden once said. In what Swedes consider a Cinderella story, Lilian Craig lived for a third of a century as the lover of Sweden’s Prince Bertil, unable to marry because there was a chance he could become king, and Swedish kings were forbidden to wed commoners. Pretty much the whole country knew about their relationship, but they were still barred from appearing in public together.
Three years after King Gustaf VI died, in 1973 - to be succeeded by his grandson Carl Gustaf - Prince Bertil, a son of the older king, finally married Ms. Craig. He was 64 and she was 61, and both called it the happiest day of their lives. Ms. Craig became a princess and duchess with the nuptials. ‘I was nervous as a kitten’, Ms. Craig told THE BOSTON GLOBE in 1985. ‘I had butterflies in my tummy. When we exchanged vows, I was afraid I wouldn’t even remember my husband’s name’. The wedding signaled the formal end of an already bygone era. Prince Bertil had agreed to refrain from marrying a commoner because of fears it could jeopardize the royal line: he was next in line to the throne until Carl Gustaf, his nephew - and now the king - came of age. Today, many members of European royalty, including Sweden’s, routinely and without penalty marry commoners, and female prospects have the same succession rights as male. Carl Gustaf himself married a commoner.
Lillian May Davies was born in Swansea, Wales, on 30 Aug., 1915, and left school at 14 to seek work as a maid in London. She ended up working as a fashion model, dancer and singer, and marrying Ivan Craig, an actor. She dropped one of the L’s from her first name, she said, because she thought it seemed more fashionable that way. During World War II, while Mr. Craig served in the British Army in Africa, Ms. Craig worked at a factory making radios for the Royal Navy and at a hospital for wounded soldiers. During their wartime separation, her husband had also developed another romantic tie. They divorced amicably.
Two of Prince Bertil’s brothers had already disqualified themselves from the line of succession by marrying commoners, becoming the first members of the Swedish royal family to do so in 400 years. Their grandfather Gustaf V, who remained king until 1950, had blocked a marriage between Prince Bertil and the daughter of a Swedish Army captain in 1934, according to THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Prince Bertil was soon publicly linked to Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, who later became the country’s queen, but that incipient relationship also fell through.
In 1947, Prince Bertil’s eldest brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, the heir to the throne, died in a plane crash. Gustaf Adolf’s son, Carl Gustaf, was less than a year old, and if the king had died before the child was old enough to assume the throne, Prince Bertil might have had to serve as a regent, or acting monarch. Both Prince Bertil’s grandfather (who died in 1950) and father refused to allow him to marry a commoner. So he and Ms. Craig lived together in France until 1957, when they moved to Sweden to live discreetly. Her first public appearance with him was in 1972, at the 90th-birthday celebration of King Gustav VI, who had developed a personal liking for her. Once wed and royal, Princess Lilian participated in Nobel Prize events in Stockholm. After Prince Bertil died in 1997, she helped lead sports organizations in which he had been active. She said laughter was the key to her longevity, and also to her great romance.”
- Douglas Martin, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 MARCH, 2013
“Ivy Tresmand was an English soubrette who appeared mostly in musical theatre. Tresmand’s earliest appearances were in the chorus of the revue SHELL OUT (1915), in the musicals HOUP LA! (1916–1917) and Betty, and in the revue BUBBLY.
In 1922 Tresmand won the leading role of Tina in a West End revival of the Broadway show THE RED MILL. She was in the revue JUST FANCY and followed May Beatty as Margot in SYBIL. In 1923 she was in THE MERRY WIDOW at Daly's Theatre. She continued to play in musicals through the 1920s and early 1930s. In 1936 she took the leading role of Penelope Lee in Ivor Novello's CARELESS RAPTURE (1936), remaining with the show while it was on tour and at the Prince's Theatre, Bristol, in 1937–38. She had a part on screen in the film THE DARK STAIRWAY (1938).
After appearing with Leslie Henson in GOING GREEK and SWING ALONG in South Africa, she settled there, continuing to take part in concerts and plays. She died in South Africa in 1980.
Jean Gilbert (11 February 1879 – 20 December 1942) was a German operetta composer and conductor whose real name was Max Winterfeld. He adopted the name of Jean Gilbert for the production of his first operetta in 1901. Born in Hamburg, Gilbert studied at the conservatories of Sondershausen and Weimar, as well as under Philipp Scharwenka in Berlin. He composed more than 50 operettas before and after World War I, working mainly in Berlin. His most successful work was DIE KEUSCHE SUSANNE (1910), which was also popular in an English adaptation as THE GIRL IN THE TAXI. Gilbert was Jewish, and had to leave Germany when the Nazis came to power. He emigrated to Argentina in 1933, and died in Buenos Aires. His son Robert Gilbert (1899–1978) was also a composer. His cousin was the composer Paul Dessau.”
- Hans Lick
“A gentleman farmer with a love of Edwardian and early Twentieth Century music has created a home industry of preserving early Musical and Revue scores as recorded on 78 and cylinder, the latter of which he is certainly a specialist. It is an impressive list of shows that Dominic Combe has digitalised and issued on Compact Disc. Not only is it the recordings but the lovingly created books that attach.
Early theatre recordings abound in Great Britain, more so than in the United States where it took them some time to start recording original cast material. And so, many early scores are available to be heard. But what Dominic discovered when he started assembling these scores was that often latter day British 78 and cylinder record collectors turned their noses up on recordings of dance music or covers and ‘best of’ or ‘gems’ making them hard to find. And, it is those recordings which can often contain songs not otherwise recorded. He has built strong connections with other collectors willing to lend material to make each issue as complete as possible.
Modern equipment and an aptitude for perfection have helped Dominic ‘clean up’ old 78 and cylinder records to deliver a sound quality that can be stunning. The booklets are produced with as much care by using original theatre programmes or magazines such as PLAY PICTORIAL and MUSIC FOR ALL so that the listener can get a good idea of how the show looked as well as to see the unique art work used to advertise the show back then.
Dominic has issued over fifty of these gems and still has titles either being completed or awaiting to be started on. The label is called PALAEOPHONICS.”
- y phayward, OVERTURES: The Bunnet-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, 10 July, 2017