Jussi Bjorling, Sweden, opera singer, David Bjorling


On September 9 1960 the newstands of Stockholm were plastered with the news "Jussi dod i morse• (Jussi dead this morning). It is rare for newspaper to call an opera singer by his Christian name, but then Bjorling's relationship with Sweden was a very special one. 11 had begun forty-five years earlier, when his further David Bjorling-also a tenor-decided to take little Jussi (born on February 5, 1911) on tour with his brothers Costa and Olle. The "Bjorling Male Quartet" could not fail to win audiences over, with the boys dressed in traditional costumes singing music (including compositions by David Bjorling and the Swedish notional anthem) calculated to move. Yet the quartet's survival for twelve years (they remained active until 1927, a year after the father's death), and the success of their United States tour (during which they made six acoustic recordings for Columbia were attributable to less ephemeral qualities: the uniqueness of the "Bjorling sound" that the boys had inherited from their father and grandfather, and the superior quality of their musical and vocal training, described by David in a booklet entitled "How to Sing".

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