As co-founder and singer of the Palast Orchester from Berlin, Max Raabe sings numerous songs that for many people have long been a part of the past. But do the songs sung by Max Raabe really belong to the past?
Not if Max Raabe sings them. “Wenn die Sonne hinter den Dächern versinkt“, originally made famous by Greta Keller, is just one of many songs that Max Raabe revives. Greta Keller let the Viennese chanson sail around the world – Max Raabe lets the Berlin chanson, the Viennese chanson and many other chansons sail around the world.
Raabe grew up in Lünen, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia and studied at the former Berlin University of the Arts, graduating in 1995 as a trained baritone opera singer. As early as 1986 the trained baritone founded the Palast Orchester with some fellow students. In 1992 the German singer achieved success with his self-written piece “Kein Schwein ruft mich an“.
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Not only though his songs, but also through his style Raabe immerses himself in the cultural world of the Weimar years – when Max Raabe appears with his orchestra, he is always to be seen in a suit with a bow tie. The members of the Palast Orchester are also dressed in style. This can definitely be regarded as an allusion to the lifestyle of the Weimar years – performances at that time were certainly similar to those of Max Raabe.
It’s fascinating that Max Raabe simultaneously accomplishes contemporary works: His albums “Küssen kann man nicht allein“ or “Der perfekte Moment… wird heut’ verpennt“ bear traits of pop music, but are based on the style that is usual for Max Raabe. The albums consist of his own songs, which were often created in collaboration with Annette Humpe. The song “Fahrrad fahr’n“ from the album “Der perfekte Moment… wird heut’ verpennt“, for example, is a song of praise for riding a bicycle, whereas the song “Côte d’Azur“ shows a longing for love.
All in all, Max Raabe is currently the only German artist who pays tribute to the music and style of the Weimar years and revives it on such a grand scale. For many people, Max Raabe is not a singer who simply revives old-fashioned things – he is rather a singer who takes songs from past years and interprets them in his own way.
Simon von Ludwig
Cover picture: Singer Max Raabe performs after Secretary Kerry received the Order of Merit From the German Government, 2016. Taken from Wikimedia Commons.