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By Ethan Mordden

Noted historian of the Broadway musical chronicles the braided lives of 2 of the 20th century's such a lot influential artists

For the 1st time, Ethan Mordden chronicles the romance of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya in Love Song, a twin biography that unfolds opposed to the heritage of the tumultuous 20th century, scored to song from Weil's maximum triumphs: Knickerbocker vacation, misplaced within the Stars, woman at the hours of darkness, satisfied finish, One contact of Venus and The upward push and Fall of town of Mahagonny. The romance of Weill, the Jewish cantor's son, and Lenya, the Viennese coachman's daughter, replaced the background of Western track. With Bertolt Brecht, they created one of many definitive works of the 20 th century, The Threepenny Opera, a destroy that may survive in musical theatre historical past. Weill, the jazz Mozart, was once the author whose paintings is behind the scenes, unseen. Lenya, his epic-theatre femme fatale, was once the performer who positioned the paintings into view. They heard an analogous particular track, yet he gave it shape whereas she gave it lifestyles. Love Song is finally the tale of a very good romance scored to a couple of the 20th century's maximum music.

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Tuneful but acerbic, the paintings is one of those Zeitsymphonie, commenting at the political storms wrecking the peace in Europe. all started within the fateful month of January, 1933—the “Hitler month,” one may perhaps say, of the seizure of power—the symphony used to be first played in Amsterdam lower than Bruno Walter on October eleven, 1934, to be rejected through press and public. Walter took the paintings to Vienna, thence to manhattan, the place it used to be given a identify as 3 evening Scenes, even though the 2 outer events don't remotely recommend something like a nocturne. no less than a brand new part of Weill was once rising: that of what we'd name the music Dandy, developing extraordinary samples of his cabaret paintings on call for. This used to be crossover track sooner than the time period existed. Weill composed numbers for Marlene Dietrich (on texts by way of Erich Kästner and, it's believed, Jean Cocteau) after which, at Heugel’s request, for the French singer Lys Gauty on texts through Maurice Magre, “Complainte de los angeles Seine” and “Je Ne T’aime Pas. ” Dietrich, regularly, bustled approximately Paris, frantically attempting to pay money for Weill to fee her numbers, then didn’t sing them. Gauty, even if, cherished the Seine quantity, with its dense imagery of the garbage and sorrow that stay on the backside of the river, and asked “Je Ne T’aime Pas” as a spouse piece for a recording. and he or she made it, too. at the present time, Weill is well known for surprisingly theatrical songs with moody, juicy lyrics—“Pirate Jenny,” “Surabaja Johnny,” “That’s Him. ” yet in 1934, not anyone knew what Weill could be identified for, except Die Dreigroschenoper, and as a rule via Pabst’s movie, with its truncated ranking. The Symphony may purely complicate his public id, and actually it relatively was once the final of Busoni’s Weill, the concert-hall Weill. but wasn’t it Busoni who suggested Weill by no means to disdain the attraction of sheer melody? Busoni intended this commonly, yet Weill have been specializing his melody as one of those cabaret Meistersinger: for his paintings with Brecht had taught him the price of composing round lyrics of satanic glitter—words too shrewdpermanent for track but, as soon as set, conclusively musical. ponder “The Ballad of Mack the Knife”: in case you had by no means heard the song, it's possible you'll take the verses for a jeering little set of black jokes, as bored with song as a limerick. yet permit Weill upload his primitive track, with its absurdly wistful emerging 6th by way of a sardonic falling 7th, you already know what Brecht have been lacking. the 2 males have been a nasty combine, yet they'd a gorgeous marriage. Weill suffered a few poor marriages for the following few works, beginning with the French playwright Jacques Deval. simply the 12 months prior to, in 1933, Deval had produced a success side road comedy, Tovaritch, that appeared certain to overcome the phases of the West, as certainly it did. A spoof of that endemic Parisian inflammation, the White Russian émigré, Tovaritch was once stable personality writing or even had a few critical political content material. This was once Weill’s territory, crafting the original out of a favored shape, and he and Deval teamed up for a play with tune, Marie Galante.

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