Posts Tagged ‘record’

Dame Vera Lynn breaks chart record aged 97 with album of wartime hits

June 8th, 2014

An early version of We’ll Meet Again was played at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday, in a “duet” with singer Katherine Jenkins. Dame Vera appeared on screens in black-and-white footage, with her daughter watching on from the audience.

On being told of her achievement, Dame Vera said: ”I am delighted of course. It is wonderful to hear these songs again that were at the top of the charts so long ago, and it’s warming to think that everyone else is listening to them too.”

The veteran singer’s last major chart feat was five years ago when, at the age of 92, she achieved a number one with an earlier best-of release.

Dame Vera – who made her professional debut at the age of seven – already holds the record as the first British artist to top the US charts in 1952 and as the only artist over 90 to top the UK album charts.

Elsewhere in the chart, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran achieved his first UK number one single with Sing, while fellow British solo star Sam Smith remained at the top of the album chart with In The Lonely Hour.

Sheeran’s single, which was co-written and produced by US star Pharrell, sold nearly 124,000 copies over the last seven days, according to the Official Charts Company. It knocked Sam Smith’s Stay With Me off the top spot, with the 22-year-old’s track slipping to number two.

A charity single inspired by teenage cancer victim Stephen Sutton also reach ed the top 20. Hope Ain’t A Bad Thing by The Neon Brotherhood finished in 16th place.

Tom Drover from Neon Sound Studios, who played guitar on the track, said: ”The idea was hatched when Stephen posted his thumbs up picture. We all decided to come together to do something for Ste, one of the things on his bucket list was to have a charity single.”

Stephen, 19, raised millions of pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust before his death last month and all the profits from the song will go to the charity.


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Record of largest-ever Nazi art hoard made public for first time

May 29th, 2014

And this week it has made the information from those catalogues freely available on the Internet – the first time any German art dealer has publicly released its records from the Nazi era.

Their publication is the initiative of Katrin Stoll, who took over the auction house in 2008, and has no connection to Mr Weinmüller.

“I feel very fortunate to have this difficult task,” she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Names and images of artworks that were sold can be freely browsed on lostart.de, the German government website for recovering looted art. The website does not list who bought the artworks, but anyone with a serious claim to legal ownership can apply for that information.

The website does list where Mr Weinmüller obtained the artworks, and the entry “seizure by the Gestapo” frequently crops up. Where some dealers traded in art sold at knock-down prices by Jewish owners fleeing the Nazis, Mr Weinmüller was dealing directly in looted art.

Despite his significance, Mr Weinmüller has remained a shadowy figure. For years no one even knew what he looked like, until a photo emerged a few months ago of a bespectacled, unobtrusive man at an auction.

He successfully lied to the “Monuments Men” about his role during the war, and hid his connections to the Nazi high command. In fact he had risen to wealth and prominence by his loyalty to the party, and counted Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, amongst his clients.

A previously small-time dealer, he chaired a pro-Nazi trade organisation and took over the Munich arts scene as Jewish dealers were forced out.

Despite investigating him as a high priority, the “Monuments Men” were unable to prove anything against him, or prevent him from reopening his auction house. He held a further 35 auctions before his death in 1958.

After his death the Weinmüller auction house, as it was then known, was sold to Ms Stoll’s father, Rudolf Neumeister, who changed its name.

Experts say the real test of the new initiative will come when legal owners come forward to claim looted artworks. Some of the details of the buyers in the auction house’s records are sketchy, and list no more than a common surname. But others may be traceable, and artworks long given up as lost may finally be found again.


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Germany’s interest in Adolf Hitler at record levels

May 2nd, 2014

Another film dealt with Hitler’s decision to ban traditional Rhineland Catholic carnivals. Germany’s public ZDF Info channel was found to have screened 109 documentaries on Hitler this year alone.

Robert Bachem, its director said: “As history is one of our main fields of interest, it is not surprising that we run many programmes about National Socialism.”

Sociologists have attributed the rise of interest in Hitler and the Nazis to the fact that the majority of today’s Germans have had no experience of the Second World War, are less ashamed of the period than previous generations and more eager to learn about it.

They point out that most of today’s Germans had family experience of the war only through parents or grandparents.

In many German families, the Second World War remained a taboo subject for decades after 1945.

However, this aspect is now also under scrutiny. A rash of new books by German authors in their fifties and sixties have sought to lift the lid on their families’ dark past.

In several cases the authors have been shocked to discover that their parents were dedicated, and sometimes brutal, Nazis.


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