New CD information from Nimbus Alliance/Melinda Hughes

Artist(s):           Melinda Hughes/Kiss & Tell

Composer:       Mischa Spoliansky et al

Title:                Smoke and Noise

Catalogue No:  NI6139 [0710357613920]

Discs:              1CD/Standard Jewel Case

UK PPD:          £8.70

UK Release:     18th April 2011


This recording is a collection of songs by Mischa Spoliansky and Kiss & Tell. ‘Smoke and Noise’ (Schall und Rauch) is named after the Berlin cabaret club that Spoliansky wrote for over eighty years ago. Additional songs by Kiss & Tell, inspired by the music of Spoliansky, bring an up to the minute commentary on society today.



Life’s a swindle; CRUNCH; l’heure bleue; The Smart set; Carbon Footprints in my Jimmy Choos; Das Lila Lied; Where flamingos fly; I am a vamp; Toy Boy; Auf der Mundharmonica; Close your eyes and wish for happiness; leben ohne liebe kanst du nicht; Kleptonmania; Smokers Lament; Don’t be afraid*; Auf Wiedersehen                                                                                                            (*première recording)


CD & Composer Information


This recording is a collection of songs by Mischa Spoliansky and Kiss & Tell. ‘Smoke and Noise’ (Schall und Rauch) is named after the Berlin cabaret club that Spoliansky wrote for over eighty years ago. Additional songs by Kiss & Tell, inspired by the music of Spoliansky, bring an up to the minute commentary on society today.


Mischa Spoliansky was born in Bialystock, Russia on 28th December 1898. His father, Pavlov, a contract baritone with the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, had been persuaded to join the opera in Bialystock and moved there with his wife Barbara and children. The family moved to Warsaw and then to Kalisz where the young Mischa was taught to read music. He was six when his mother died aged 44. His older brother and sister then moved to Berlin to continue their music careers. Mischa went with his father who had been invited to join the State Opera in Vienna. They moved again to Dresden, Mischa met Professor Mark Guensburg and his wife, both concert pianists. They were so impressed by Mischa’s ability that they took him as a pupil.

By age eleven Mischa was orphaned and went to Koenisberg to live with friends of his father. However, when war broke out in 1914, he was sent to Berlin to join his older sister Lisa who was living with a family of musicians. After finishing his schooling, Mischa then got a job in a department store in order to pay for his musical studies at the Sternsche Conservatorium then joined his brother Alexander in his trio, as a pianist at the Café Schoen, Unter den Linden.

Mischa joined the Chamber Orchestra of the Ufa Theatre in Freidrich Strasse, and later the Mozart Saal at the Nollendorf Platz, under its Conductor – Composer Giuseppe Becce. Giuseppe introduced many of Spoliansky’s compositions into the repertoire. Victor Hollander, the father of Friedrich, was also impressed by Spoliansky’s music and piano playing. Werner Richard Heymann asked Spoliansky to join them at the literary cabaret “Schall and Rauch” which was in the cellar of the Grosses Schauspielhaus.

It was here he met Max Reinhardt who asked him to writer the music for “Victoria “, based on Somerset Maugham’s “Home and Beauty”. This was a great success not only in Berlin but also in Vienna and Salzburg. In the following year he wrote “Es Liegt in der Luft” again for Reinhardt, book and lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer, this achieved equally great success. It was in this show that Spoliansky’s friend Marlene Dietrich made her stage debut.

In 1933 Spoliansky and his family were forced to leave Germany as a result of the anti-Semitic activities of the regime. They arrived in London and after some time they were able to become British citizens. Mischa worked a great deal with Alexander Korda and settled into his new life in England with his young family.

He wrote many other musical works, as well as over 50 film scores – amongst them “Sanders of The River” and “King Solomon’s Mines” with Paul Robeson, “The Ghost goes West”, a wonderful score for “Idol of Paris” “North West Frontier”, “Trouble In Store” with Norman Wisdom, “Wanted for Murder” with Eric Portman, “The Happiest Days of Your Life” with Alastair Simms and Margaret Rutherford, and Otto Preminger’s “Saint Joan”.

In 1978, then nearly 80, Spoliansky performed a concert of many works with his dear friend Margo Lion, the widow of Marcellus Schiffer, at the invitation of the Berlin Arts Festival. Mischa died peacefully, in his own home in London, in 1985. He had completed a lifetime of endearing and unforgettable music.


Kiss & Tell describe themselves as a “sophisticated salacious satirical cabaret” – drawing on the 1930’s Berlin cabaret scene – their live shows feature the songs of Spoliansky, Kurt Weill, Friedrich Hollaender – as well as their own highly entertaining material – some of which are included on this CD.


There is currently a great deal of interest in the 1930’s – clubs such as Volupte and Proud are considered the places to be seen at, Burlesque shows are all the rage up and down the country, television series such as Upstairs Downstairs are ever popular, and the success of the movie “The Kings Speech” can only heighten this awareness of the period.


Song Credits

Life’s a swindle” # –  from the 1931 show “Alles Schwindel” Lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer.  .

CRUNCH – Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb, Lloyd Evans & Melinda Hughes)

“l’heure bleue” – From the 1928 show “Es Leigt in der Luft”

“The Smart set”  # – from the 1931 show “Alles Schwindel This number is  otherwise known as ” Das Lied der Gesellschaft” lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer

Carbon Footprints in my Jimmy Choos – Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb, Lloyd Evans & Melinda Hughes)

“Das Lila Lied” 1920 – Also known as the “Lavender Song” written by Spoliansky under his pseudonym Arno Billing, lyrics by Kurt Schwabach.

“Where flamingos fly” – A stand alone number 1947, lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy,  sung by many well known artists of the day, among them Mario Lanza, Georges Guetary, Ann Shelton and many others.

I am a vamp # – 1933 (from the film 100 Meter Gluck) Lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer.

Toy Boy – Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb & Melinda Hughes)

“Auf der Mundharmonica” – from the 1956 show “Katharina Knie” taken from the book by Carl Zuckmayer about a circus, Lyrics by Robert Gilbert

“Close your eyes and wish for happiness” – from the 1932 film “The Lucky Number”

“leben ohne liebe kanst du nicht” – from the 1931 film “Nie Wieder Liebe” sung by Margo Lion.

Kleptonmania – (1928 taken from the show “Es leigt in Der Luft”) (English Lyrics by Steve Edis)

Smokers Lament – Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb)

Don’t be afraid (1935) – This is the first recording of this song

“Auf Wiedersehen” – from the 1930 show “Wie Werde ich Reich und Gluchlich” “How to be rich and Happy” Lyrics by Felix Joachimson

(#English Lyrics by Jeremy Lawrence)

Artist Information

Melinda Hughes graduated with Honours from The Maastricht Conservatory in the Netherlands then as a postgraduate from the Royal College of Music, London. She spent a year at The Brussels Opera studio and for two years Melinda then toured Europe with The André Rieu Strauss Orchestra as a soloist often appearing on radio and television. She has sung over fifteen of the major Lyric operatic soprano roles in over forty countries including the title role of Madame Butterfly with Colombia Artists touring America in 2003.

In 2007 she formed Kiss & Tell Cabaret with co-writers Jeremy Limb and Lloyd Evans. Their debut album “Kiss & Tell” was released in December 2009 and they have performed at festivals and events in the UK and abroad.  They have been commissioned to write songs for The Royal Institute of British Architects, The London Fine Art and Antiques Fair as well as for private individuals. She is the face of Opera for Sky Arts in the recent Rankin Street Galleries campaign launched in August 2010.

Melinda’s interest in Spolianksy began a few years ago whilst searching for light songs to end a classical recital, and she comments:

I had always been drawn to the glamour, intrigue and wit of 1930’s cabaret and I feel the music is a natural bridge between classical and modern in its composition and intellect. I feel we’ve caught the spirit of the day in this CD catching the zeitgeist of a 1930’s revival.

Melinda Hughes is the daughter of the late film director Ken Hughes.

For more information please visit and


Other Performers

Jeremy Limb (piano); Andy Tolman (double bass); Jamie Fisher  (drums); Andy Smith (trumpet);  Philip Achille (harmonica); Martin White (accordion)


Press/Media and Marketing

The CD will be fully serviced to all UK classical and other appropriate music press and radio. Advertising will include major classical music magazines and other appropriate publications.

For more details, and to request a review sample and/or an interview request, please contact John Cronin at Music & Media Consulting Limited.

Smoke and Noise NI6139 Press Release (74.0 KiB)

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