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As we so often do these days, we will let our distinguished guest speaker provide his own introduction for his program (with an emendation or two), and it goes something like this: "I am surely the number two Lauritz Melchior expert around, due to many years of work and friendship with the master collector and discographer of the Melchior oeuvre, Hans Hansen (Controller of the Music Department, Radio Denmark). My program will be, of course, Lauritz's story, his recordings, some live performances, and his wonderful female partners, but also about the women around him, who supported, furthered, and sometimes umwillingly or unwittingly sabotaged his career. There will, however, be a lot of Lauritz, which I know VRCS members will like."
That last line could be the musical understatement of the century where VRCS members are concerned, so much so that is isn't necessary to say a single word about our subject here. If you don't know Melchior's career intimately by now, you just haven't been paying attention! Just off the top of our heads, we can think of ten ladies he recorded with commercially, and myriad others with whom he sang, so we can only salivate at the thought of what Mr. von Kohl may have in store for us.
In his own way, Mr. von Kohl is as fascinating as his subject. As a stint as a writer on music and theater at a Copenhagen newspaper, he came to the attention of the aforementioned Hans Hansen (the go-to authority for All Things Melchior), and Mr. von Kohl became a regular guest on Hansen's radio program, as well as as a student in the ways of structuring and presenting radio programs to the public. Since the Danish Radio of that time did both radio and television, Mr. Kohl was shortly hosting his own TV program, and involved in the presenting of Danish artists and new classical music. Later, he transferred to their Current Affairs Department, and then to the Theater Department, where he was involved in writing, translations and directing. Their Cultural Department then beckoned, and he ended that phase of his career back on the Culture beat. He tells us that he enjoyed all of this immensely. (Mr. von Kohl has the kind of personality that leads you to believe that he enjoys just about everything immensely!)
He left Denmark in 1985 and moved to Ethiopia (where else?), then to New York City, then to Eastern Europe, then back to New York City, then to Morocco, and once more back to New York City, where he remains, but not usually for very long. (Some New Yorkers think they require a passport to go to New Jersey!) During these years he has been a foreign correspondent for various Danish media, and for over a decade has produced documentaries on politics and world development for United Nations Television, this while keeping his hand in for an occasional radio production. More recently, he has produced "a few" documentaries in Morocco on desertification and the negative effect on oases (we knew that if we lived long enough we'd be able to pluralize 'oasis'!) caused by the disappearance of traditional local life styles. He told us a while back that the best road for improvement of the mind is to studiously avoid the watching of all political TV programs, which given recent history, only indicates the prescience with which he operates at all times!
Mr. Kohl has given several terrific programs for the VRCS, the last of which was devoted to Aksel Shiotz, probably the second most famous Danish singer of the 20th century, now to be supplanted by the Great Dane himself, Lauritz Melchior, who certainly led a happier existence than did Mr. Schiotz. Do plan to be with us to learn to learn more about what made Melchior so happy most of the time, this from the man who gives every indication of being our happiest member, Niels von Kohl!
FRIDAY, FEBUARY 2, 2018 (THE FIRST
TIME: 7:45PM SHARP
This page last revised 1/11/18 3:16 AM EST
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