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Mona Paulee (1911-1995)






Heinz Sandauer conducts operetta selections from 'Viktoria und ihr Husar' and 'Die Blume von Hawaii' (Paul Abraham) on Philips P 10115 R from the early nineteen fifties.







On Philips P 10110 R he leads 'The Merry Widow' - Die lustige Witwe (Franz Lehar) and 'White horse Inn' - Im Weissen Rössl (Ralph Benatzky).

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Operetta Jewels from Circus Princess, Count of Luxemburg, Frederike, The Bat, Paganini and The Cousin from Nowhere - with Walter Anton Dotzer, Ilona Steingruber and the "Wiener Symphoniker", Heinz Sandauer conductor (Philips S 06047 R).




Heinz Sandauer the cocktail hour pianist (Philips P 10304 R).




Piano instructions "Der Jazz-Pianist" by Heinz Sandauer















































Plymouth release of Cole Porter songs

Selections of the Cole Porter and Gershwin LPs were later released on Palace M-710: Love for Sale, Lady Be Good, Night and Day, coupled with "Twilight Concert" (Scherzo from Midsummer Night's Dream, The Young Prince and the Young Princess, and Fledermaus Overture).







Mona Paulee - Twilight Concert No. 5

Twilight Concert No. 5
Cover by Alex Steinweiss

























Columbia: The Most Happy Fella

Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella with Jo Sullivan, Art Lund, Susan Johnson, Shorty Long and Mona Paulee.











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Club français du disque CDF1: Nelson Mass (Haydn) (Missa in Angustiis) with Jonathan Sternberg conducting the Vienna Opera Orchestra. The singers are Theresa Stich-Randall, Rudolf Schock, Mona Paulee and Gottlob Frick.






When Mona Paulee visited Europe in the summer of 1952 and also performed in Vienna, the obvious thing for producer Marcel Prawy to do was to obtain taped performances of this beautiful voice for release on Don Gabor's Remington label. Because of the relatively good quality of the sound, at first it was suspected that the recordings could have been radio recordings made by the OR, Österreichischer Rundfunk (Austrian Public Broadcasting Service). However they were produced by Marcel Prawy himself and made in the Musikverein on Wednesday, July 23, 1952.


Mona Paulee sang various selections of music Marcel Prawy had come to know and love when he was living in New York before and during World War Two and must have attended many Broadway shows. The list with recording dates indicates that on the day of recording in the Musikvereinssaal it was the Tonkünstler Orchestra that was led by famous pianist-conductor-composer Heinz Sandauer, "Der Sandauer" as the popular bandleader was called. But the mention of that orchestra was most likely the usual and easy way to indicate a planned recording which was supervised by Prawy. The LP-covers however mention that Heinz Sandauer conducted his own orchestra.

Heinz Sandauer

Heinz Sandauer (Vienna, January 1, 1911 - August 5, 1979) was a composer, conductor, arranger and orchestrator. In the last capacity he worked for Franz Léhar, Emmerich Kálmán and Robert Stolz. As a youth he "became acquainted with nearly all the secondary schools in Vienna". And he "must have consumed about ten stalwart and determined female piano teachers" before studying at the Vienna State Music Academy, as Sandauer writes on the back of the cover of Philips P10304R. The talented Sandauer received his degree with distinction.

According to the info given on an early edition of the AEIOU web site he took up the post of conductor of the Viennese Radio Orchestra (Wiener Rundfunkorchester) in 1937. After the Second World War - from 1946 on - he worked for the radio station Red-White-Red (Rot-Weiß-Rot) and later for the Austrian Radio and Television Organization ORF. In 1963 he took up the post of professor at the 'Wiener Musikhochschule' where he taught the lighter side of music and jazz. He is the author of a course for jazz piano for the advanced jazz pianist.

Heinz Sandauer made numerous recordings with various artists who sang popular songs and selections from operettas. He composed songs and a few more serious scores too: 'Concerto Ritmico for Two Solo Percussion Instruments and Orchestra', 'Hungaria' (for Piano and Orchestra), 'Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra', and 'Swanee River', subtitled 'Variations for Orchestra on a Negro Spiritual'.

Heinz Sandauer
Picture taken from Elite Special SOLP-439 on which he plays together with pianist Peter Kreuder and a rhythm section

He studied under Austrian composer Joseph Marx at the Viennese State Academy for Music and Dramatic Art (Staatsakademie - today Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst) and later he became a professor at this institute himself. Many studied with Joseph Marx who was a romantic but also a conservative and one best option to learn the basics of form, harmony and full-blooded orchestrations, and for acquiring the necessary skills as well.

Sandauer started writing music for films when he was in his twenties. In all he wrote scores for twenty movies and arranged scores for many other motion pictures, a.o. the science fiction movie 'Destination Moon' from 1952 (in 1957 Sandauer recorded his arrangement of Leith Stevens's score in stereo with the Vienna Concert Orchestra).
He also arranged several songs of his teacher, Joseph Marx. Together with Willy Schmidt-Gentner he arranged Marx's "A New Years Hymn" (Ein Neujahrshymnus) for mixed choir, organ and orchestra, originally composed in 1914. Sandauer's orchestrated version was heard in the motion picture "Cordula" (1950).

Through records Sandauer's name became famous in many European countries, especially in the nineteen thirties and fifties. In the US he appeared on Urania 8004: "Music Under the Stars" with selections in the semi-classical style of pieces written by Christian Sinding, Claude Debussy, Riccardo Drigo, Edwin Lemare, Zdenek Fibich, Anton Rubinstein, Peter Tchaikovsky, Joachim Raff, Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy, Charles Gounod, Ignac Paderewski, Richard Wagner, and Frederic Chopin. Soloists on that disk were violinist Walter Schneiderhan and pianist Otto Schulhof; Heinz Sandauer conducting the Vienna Philharmusica Symphony Orchestra in this recording.

On Philips Records he conducted operettas for which - so it seems - he arranged the scores in his flamboyant, entertaining style.

P 10109 R - Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles) and Paganini
P 10110 R - Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) and Im Weissen Rössl (White Horse's Inn);

P 10115 R - Viktoria und Ihr Husar and Blume von Hawai (Flower of Hawai);
P 10214 P - Gräfin Maritza (Countess Maritza) and Maske in Blau (Mask in Blue).
P 10215 R - Frederike and Schön ist die Welt (Franz Lehar).

Stars on these records from the nineteen fifties are Sari Barabas, Maria Mucke, Gerda Scheyrer, Hedy Fassler, Rudolf Christ, Hainz Roland, Toni Niessner, Walter Anton Dotzer, Friedl Pöltinger, a.o. with the Vienna Broadcasting Orchestra and Academy Choir.

His arrangements are showish, skillful and have verve as have the arrangements for the recordings by mezzo-soprano Mona Paulee. They also show some traits that are typical of the music of German movies, of radio shows and of the television shows of the nineteen fifties and sixties. Heinz Sandauer was for the Austrians what the elderly Louis Levy with his orchestra and big band was for the Brits and the British film industry.
- Rudolf .A. Bruil, 2005.

There would not have been a better arranger and conductor to accompany the versatile voice of Mona Paulee in songs of American musical shows.

Mona Paulee - Picture taken from Remington R-199-120
Mona Paulee around 1952
Picture taken from Remington R-199-120 and edited by R.A.B.

As Mona Paulee's selections were too many to release on just one LP record, Don Gabor cleverly released the songs on three different discs and added on the B-Sides mostly excerpts of classical concertos, symphonies and operas from his standing catalogue. This not only meant that it was necessary to buy all three records instead of one in order to have all songs, but the releases did initiate many consumers to the field of classical music and to the Remington catalog of course.
Christina Carroll sings Jerome Kern

The records were issued in the special 'Twilight Concert' series.

Mona Paulee was an attractive addition to the section "American musical shows" of the Remington catalog, which listed also singers Jean Campbell and Bob Dale (R-199-115, South Pacific).

Furthermore there was Christina Carroll in the Remington catalog on R-149-41. On RLP-149-46 with Jerome Kern favorites, she sang Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Yesterdays, They'll Never Believe Me, The Last Time I saw Paris, All The Things You Are, with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Max Schònherr, alternated with a few selections played by Fred Clement And His Orchestra.
There were more singers on Gabor's disks: Elizabeth Humphries and Lucille Graham singing selections from The King and I (Hammerstein) with Frank Chacksfield and His Orchestra (R-149-55).
But with Mona Psaulee he had a large number of songs that insured increased sales, because the voice of Mona Paulee is not only beautiful, but also expressive, and the singer conveys much more than ease and spaciousness. One could say that her timbre is ephemeral and often touching, attributes which are not always encountered in one voice.

R-199-119 Mona Paulee sings Romberg - One Kiss, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, Lover Come Back To Me - and Gershwin - Somebody Loves Me - coupled with Scherzo From 'A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn), The Young Prince And The Young Princess From 'Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov), Overture To 'Die Fledermaus' (Johann Strauss). Issued as Twilight Concert No. 3 (selections also later released on Paris P-125).

R-199-120 Mona Paulee sings Gershwin - The Man I Love - and Friml - L'Amour, toujours l'amour, Indian Love Call - coupled with excerpts from compositions by Tchaikovsky: Waltz Of The Flowers, Pizzicato Ostinato from Symphony No. 4, and Conzonetta (Andante) and Finale (Allegro) from the Violin Concerto with Michèle Auclair. Issued as Twilight Concert No.4.

Mona Paulee sings George Gershwin and Rudolf Friml - Twilight Concert No. 4 - Remington R-199-120
Twilight Concert No. 4
Cover by Alex Steinweiss

Click here to listen to Mona Paulee singing Gershwin's The Man I Love with Heinz Sandauer conducting.

R-199-122 Mona Paulee sings Cole Porter - Love for Sale, Night and Day - and Gershwin - Lady Be Good, coupled with excerpts from compositions by Bizet, Puccini, Rimsky-Korsakov Issued as Twilight Concert No. 5
Several songs were also issued on 7" discs like REP 65 and REP 68 with Lover Come Back to Me and Love for Sale respectively.

On Plymouth P-12-67 Gabor released The Man I Love, Somebody Loves Me and Lady Be Good together with selections from Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca taken from the classical Remington catalog.

These are all lovely performances. Gershwin's "The man I Love" is very expressive with a powerful orchestral arrangement written by Sandauer with varying tempi and a few short phrases of the piano. Friml's songs are romantic, Porter's have a longing atmosphere.

The Romberg selections were of course not only commercially appropriate as Sigmund Romberg (also a Hungarian and fellow countryman of Gabor, born in Nagykanisza on 29 July, 1887) had died on November 9 of 1951. Romberg's songs enjoyed a renewed popularity, but his shows did not survive as they were old fashioned. "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" is his most well known song and maintained itself mainly in many a fine jazz performance (like the one by Shelley Manne and his Men at the Manne Hole on the two LP release on Lester Konig's Contemporary Records), or pianists Sonny Clark and Wynton Kelly respectively.

Mona Paulee sings this gem beautifully, though Sandauer plays the song in a rather stressed tango mood and the performance reaches an intensity of its own, quite different if compared to the beauty of matron Helen Traubel's exquisite performance accompanied by Jose Ferrer on piano, in the movie "Deep in my Heart", Sigmund Romberg's biopic from a few years later (1954).

The liner notes on Remington R-199-120 give a short biography:

Mona Paulee - Mezzo Soprano

An enviable position in the fields of concert, opera and radio is held today by sparkling, dark-haired Mona Paulee. A beautiful and warm voice, musicianship of extraordinary versatility and penetrating interpretative gifts combine with a vivacious temperament to make Mona Paulee an appeal to the musical sophisticates and on other occasions speak a simple heart-to-heart language.
Mona Paulee was born in Canada but was brought up in the United States. She received her early music education in Portland, Oregon, and pursued her music goal through many arduous phases, beginning in night clubs and movie houses, then to concerts on the west coast, and a debut with the San Francisco Opera. Eventually she became a member of the Metropolitan.
While still devoting part of her time each season to operatic appearances, lovely Miss Paulee has concentrated more and more on recital, radio and television appearances. Her concert tours are more extensive and she is often guest star on the top programs of the air. During 1950 and 1951, she made two tours through Central America where she scored brilliant new successes. She appeared in Europe, for the first time in the summer of 1952, and was acclaimed in England, Scandinavia and Holland for her concerts and broadcasts there. However, the greatest triumphs in the career of Mona Paulee have been her New York recitals which are hailed by the Metropolitan press as musical events of first order.
"Her voice is the most voluptuous mezzo-soprano to be heard this side of the ocean..." - New York Herald Tribune
"The luscious quality of her mezzo-soprano in the lower register was carried through to the high notes with a striking ring in its timbre. She was taken to the heart of the audience at once." - Washington Star

Numerous were the positive reviews in newspapers when she performed in Oklahoma, Tacoma, San Diego, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and New York. The Philadelphia Bulletin spoke of "The natural beauty and strength of her voice and the warmth and imagination of her interpretative style..." and the critic of the San Diego Union said: "Mona Paulee, exotic brunette, whose glorious mezzo-soprano voice scored a tremendous triumph, impressed with the beauty of her vibrant, richly colored voice, animated by intelligence and fine musicianship."

(From the SoundFountain Archive)

In 1956 she had a minor role next to Jo Sullivan, Art Lund, Susan Johnson, and Shorty Long in Frank Loesser's musical "The Most Happy Fella". The conductor was Herbert Green. The complete musical was recorded under the supervision of Goddard Lieberson. This was a phonographic first for a complete musical (as was Lieberson's famous production of 'Porgy and Bess' for a complete opera). The show was issued on 3 Lp's (O3L-240).

Selections of "The Most Happy Fella" were released on Columbia OL 5118. In the early seventies these recordings were electronically re-recorded to simulate stereo, the odd practice which was followed at the time for commercial reasons, in most cases to the detriment of the sound quality. The record with selections only has one number featuring Mona Paulee and not even in a solo. To hear more of her the complete show has to be owned.

Mona Paulee was the winner of the "Metropolitan Auditions of the Air Competition" in 1941. From 1938 on she followed daily lessons with Mr. John A. Patton, who served on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley; Occidental College, at Los Angeles; the Colorado College of Education; and the Utica Conservatory of Music, New York. He is widely known as the 'Voice Doctor of Hollywood'. Miss Paulee made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, the Met, singing Gianetta in 'L'élisir d'amore' (Donizetti), she had given solo performances with the Pasadena Bach Society, had been enrolled with the San Francisco Opera Company, and sang Lola in 'Cavalleria Rusticana', Nicklaus in 'Tales of Hoffmann', Frederick in 'Mignon', Amneris in 'Aida', and Maddalena in 'Rigoletto'. She even toured with the Columbia Concerts Opera Company during the war and had the title role - with Regina Resnik and Winifred Heidt alternating - in "Carmen" (as mentioned by Victoria Etnier Villamil in her book "From Johnson's Kids to Lemonade Opera", 2004).
A newspaper clip of Mona Paulee (as Lady Thiang) and Jackie Metcalf (as the Crown Prince) in the Starlight Musicals Production of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein's "The King and I" (in Indianapolis, 1959).
Image submitted by Bill Schumacher, USA

Mona Paulee also sang in numerous concerts in the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties. She had minor parts and significant parts. She was Hirtenknabe in Mozart's 'Die Zauberflöte' (The Magic Flute) and sang in 'Don Giovanni' under Bruno Walter in 1942. She appeared in Charpentier's 'Louise' in 1943 under Sir Thomas Beecham. She sang in Mahler's Fourth Symphony under Richard Burgin in Boston in 1945.

On April 3, 4 and 5, 1955, she sang in Verdi's Requiem alongside soprano Francis Yeend, tenor Gabor Carelli (substituted by Jack Waggoner on April 4th) and bass Yi-Kwei Sze, Sir Thomas Beecham conducting. A year before she had sung once again in Vienna in works by Gabrieli and Monteverdi (Paul Hindemith's Instrumentation) with among others Uta Graf (soprano), Waldemar Kmentt (tenor) and Wolfram Mertz (bass), Paul Hindemith conducting the Wiener Singakademie and Wiener Symphoniker (1954). In 1959 she once again starred in a musical. This time with Jackie Metcalf in "The Kind and I".

Although her parts were important, only a few times she was top of the bill. That is often the fate of a mezzo-soprano who has to yield the prime part to the soprano. She loved to perform in many genres and she was the playful, warm character and her beautiful voice was her best asset, the vehicle that would take her anywhere.

Mona Paulee did not make many recordings and what is left to witness her beautiful and lovely voice are practically only the Remington recordings which are to be cherished. There is however a very rare recording on Club français du disque (CDF1) of Haydn's 'Nelson Mass' (Missa in Angustiis) with Jonathan Sternberg conducting the Vienna Opera Orchestra. The other singers are Theresa Stich-Randall, Rudolf Schock, and Gottlob Frick.

Rudolf A. Bruil - September 3rd , 2004

NOTE The website of the California State University, Los Angeles, had a short entry on Mona Paulee:
"Mona Paulee (Emerita, Music) passed away in September, 1995. A mezzo-soprano with the Met during the 1940s and 1950s, she was often heard in the Metropolitan Opera Saturday live broadcasts. She had performed in Europe and throughout Central and South America. Paulee joined the faculty in 1972 and retired in 1987. She is survived by her daughter, Lani, and two grandchildren."
It was mentioned that the university offers a scholarship named after Mona Paulee.
There is some confusion about the date of birth of Mona Paulee. There is mention that she was born in 1911, a document of the Library of Congress mentions 1916, yet another source says that she was born October 4, 1912 in Edmonton, Canada.

(C) Rudolf A. Bruil.




Copyright 1995-2009 by Rudolf A. Bruil