The tenor Janusz Popławski (1898-1971) was a Polish opera, operetta and music hall singer. The artist of distinguished and versatile vocal abilities had a big success in 1939 with his Tango „Violetta“, which was based on one of the motives of Verdi’s „Traviata“, and became a popular song in Germany, Poland, France and Great Britain. His Hungarian foxtrot „Tokaj“, arranged by Helmuth Gardens with Polish lyrics from W.Stepien, was recorded in 1937 together with the dance orchestra from the Odeon label, directed by Jerzego Gerta. From 1953 until his death 1971, Janusz Popławski was a singer at the Operetta in Gliwice (Upper Silesia).
The German violinist Joe Bund (1911-1971) recorded Helmuth Gardens’ composition as an instrumental foxtrot, on Odeon Records like Janusz Popławski with his vocal version one year later. Joe Bund, who directed his orchestra always with the violine in his hand, performed on the stages in cafés of famous hotels like „Adlon“ in Berlin and „Esplanade am Dammtor“ in Hamburg, and recorded numerous swing and foxtrot records in the 1930s. Bert Kaempfert, the composer of „Strangers In The Night“, played in Joe Bund’s orchestra in Hamburg.
Georges Boulanger (1893-1958) grew up in Tulcea (Danube Delta, Romania) as a son from a Gypsy family with long tradition in music. He was one of the most famous violin virtuosos of salon music in the 1920s and 1930s. At the age of 15, he was heard by Leopold Auer who took him to Dresden/Germany, where he studied with him for the next two years. Recommended by his master, he received a position of first violinist in the Café Chantant in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1922 he went to Berlin where he played for his old audiences of Russian aristocrats that now lived in Berlin. In the year 1926, his name suddenly became well-known. Boulanger played in radio transmissions that were broadcast live throughout the country. He played in the most famous houses in Berlin and other large European cities such as the Savoy Hotel in London. After the war Boulanger moved to South America, worked at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, and finally settled in Argentina. He wrote over 250 compositions, with the Hungarian foxtrot „Tokay“ being one of them.
Dean Spanley is a very nice New Zealand and British comedy-drama film from 2008, where Tokaji wine plays a central role. The film is based on Lord Dunsany's short novel „My Talks with Dean Spanley“, and stars Sam Neill as the Dean and Peter O'Toole as Fisk Junior. Fisk Junior, initially intrigued by the Dean's oddly open-minded views on reincarnation, is prompted to look beyond the Dean's appearance by his weakness for certain peculiar sensations produced by Hungarian Imperial Tokay wine, which leads him into a dreamlike state. Fisk secures a batch of Tokay to entertain the Dean, who acts ever more strangely, starting to reveal memories of his previous life - as a Welsh Spaniel.
One of the original references to Tokaji is definitely the bet on Tokay made by the „Lying Baron“ Munchhausen at the Sultan´s court in Constantinople. This sequence shows the „Tokay Bet“ in the German movie „Münchhausen“ with Hans Albers as lead actor, filmed in 1943. Munchhausen explains to the Sultan, that it was actually the Tokaji´s merit, which, in 1683, made the Austrian commander hazard a daredevil excursion against the siege of Turkish troups outside the gates of Vienna, which were beaten then in the Kahlenberg Battle. Munchhausen, being arrested at the Sultan’s Palace, makes a wager for his freedom with the Sultan, wherein his runner must retrieve a Tokay from Vienna within an hour.
Here is another version of Munchhausen’s Tokay bet. „The Adventures of Baron Munchausen“ is a 1988 British adventure fantasy comedy film, directed by Terry Gilliam. The wager over Tokay has been set into an oppulent plot, which is the Sultan’s harem.
Written by Noël Coward, „Tokay“ was sung by Nelson Eddy and his patrons in the musical movie „Bitter Sweet“. The film is based on Coward’s same titled operetta, which premiered in London in 1929. Set in late 19th century Vienna, the story focuses on the romance between music teacher Carl Linden (Nelson Eddy) and his prize pupil Sarah Milick (Jeanette MacDonald).
A beautiful Essencia from the outstanding Danczka vineyard. Behind the beauty of this Essencia lies a powerful golden goddess, whose soul and magic is contained within the orange blossom honey nectar.
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„Another glass, Watson!” said Mr. Sherlock Holmes as he extended the bottle of Imperial Tokay. ... „It is a good wine, Holmes.” - „A remarkable wine, Watson. Our friend upon the sofa has assured me that it is from Franz Josef’s special cellar at the Schoenbrunn Palace.”
from „His Last Bow”
Arthur Conan Doyle