pars media // films // Belcanto - The Tenors of the 78 Era // 13 Börling (1911-1960)

scene: A gathering of Jussi Björling’s former colleagues at the Café of the Stockholm Opera, where Björling gave 642 performances. Collaboration with Björling was the pivotal influence on their musical development.

music: Meyerbeer, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Schubert, Nordqvist


analysis: Ingemisco (Messa da requiem, Verdi), 1939

Quotes from the film's exposition...
I cannot think of any other voice than Björling's that was better placed, more exactly focused or better centered. (Kesting) Standing next to him, you adapted the same way of breathing: this fantastic, natural way of singing that he had. You really sang better than you had done in all your life. (Söderström)

...from its development...
David, my grandfather, started to teach him singing right at the beginning. My father had his first lessons at the age of four. When the fourth son was born, Carl, their mother died and David was left alone with his boys. Those were difficult times and they started to give concerts and were very successful. (Lars Björling) I remember a jubilee concert with Jussi. In the middle of the encore he said: "Come on, let's go back-stage and drink a whisky!" He took me with him to the box, and everybody thought he was leaving because the jubilee concert had moved him. The audience clapped and cheered like mad. Jussi said to me: "Come on, let's start again from the beginning." Everything had happened, and I was the only one who knew what we had done during this interval. (Bokstedt)

...and from its resolution
Jussi Björling's character was so Swedish: hering and young potatoes and dill and linguan silt and bright nights. Jenny Lind tried to describe her voice and the Swedish voices. "Our voices are an imagination of the bright nights in June. They have a scent of pinetrees." (Söderström) I regard him as the classical tenor after Caruso. (Kesting) It was an honour to work with him. It was the best thing I could have imagined in my life. Never forget it - just be grateful, very grateful. (Bokstedt)

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