I bought an LP this week (I took more than three hundred to a charity shop last month). It’s an album I once had on cassette called After Hours, featuring Elly Ameling and Louis van Dijk singing songs from the 20s 30s and 40s. I liked it, and it’s not on CD or Spotify so I enjoyed the decision to buy it on vinyl.
It’s as gorgeous as I remember, especially the piano playing of Louis van Dijk – always sotto voce, as though he doesn’t want you to hear how good he is. Elly Ameling was more often heard singing opera or Bach’s sacred music, and she does sound a little inhibited in the bouncier bits of Gershwin, like I Got Rhythm, but in the slower and more intimate pieces she is wonderful, drawing you in with her effortless control.
Les Feuilles Mortes, or Autumn Leaves, was written by a Hungarian living in France during the War and published in 1945. I like it very much. I can’t say why, and it seems pointless to heap up superlatives. I just like it with a liking that comes from somewhere deep in me.
Here is van Dijk looking splendid in early 80s style.