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September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill
     

September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill

 
The German-born composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) once said, "Music is not bad just because it's popular." He proved it during an extraordinary career that first found him collaborating with the iconoclastic German playwright Bertolt Brecht on such monumental theatrical works as 1928's THREEPENNY OPERA and later, after Weill emigrated

Overview

The German-born composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) once said, "Music is not bad just because it's popular." He proved it during an extraordinary career that first found him collaborating with the iconoclastic German playwright Bertolt Brecht on such monumental theatrical works as 1928's THREEPENNY OPERA and later, after Weill emigrated to the United States, composing successful Broadway productions including "Street Scene" and "Knickerbocker Holiday." Weill's idiosyncratic songs have inspired a dedicated following among generations of wide-ranging performers. Appearing on 1997's SEPTEMBER SONGS -- - the soundtrack to a film documentary directed by Larry Weinstein - -- are such diverse artists as opera diva Teresa Stratas, proto-punkster Lou Reed, jazz vocalist Betty Carter, and alternative rocker PJ Harvey. Despite the inclusion of many excellent new recordings -- like Harvey's darkly atmospheric "Ballad of the Soldier's Wife" and Elvis Costello's melancholy "Lost in the Stars," a collaboration with the Brodsky String Quartet -- three older performances remain the most affecting: "Pirate Jenny," sung by Weill's widow, the legendary chanteuse Lotte Lenya; "Mack the Knife," as barked by Brecht; and "Speak Low," dreamily crooned by the composer himself.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Brett Hartenbach
German-born composer Kurt Weill's music has aged quite well through the years and has been rediscovered and reinterpreted by such diverse artists as Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Willie Nelson, the Doors, and Teresa Stratas. Just prior to the 70th anniversary of the classic Three Penny Opera, which made its debut in 1928, producer Hal Wilner, who supervised the brilliant 1985 Weill tribute Lost in the Stars in association with filmmaker Larry Weinstein, gave fans old and new September Songs, a collection of interpretations from the film project of the same name. Weinstein, inspired by hearing the Lost in the Stars project, developed his film as a visual follow-up to the record, hiring Wilner to reprise his role as music supervisor. Wilner once again chose a wide array of artists for the project, ranging from pop musicians such as PJ Harvey and Elvis Costello to jazz vocalist Betty Carter, opera soprano Teresa Stratas, beat author William S. Burroughs, and the gospel stylings of the Persuasions. Among the true joys of September Songs, aside from the wonderful new renditions, is the inclusion of recordings by Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya, from 1955 on "Pirate Jenny," lyricist Bertolt Brecht performing "Mack the Knife" in 1930 in its original German, and Weill himself, joined via modern recording technology by bassist Charlie Haden, singing the beautiful "Speak Low." Without a weak performance on the entire album, Wilner once again has done an excellent job of capturing the beauty and scope of one of the 20th century's greatest composers.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/19/1997
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646304624
catalogNumber:
63046
Rank:
46986

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kurt Weill   Piano,Vocals
Nick Cave   Track Performer
Elvis Costello   Track Performer
David Johansen   Track Performer
Lou Reed   Track Performer
Betty Carter   Track Performer
Bob Dorough   Track Performer
Fred Hersch   Piano
Lotte Lenya   Track Performer
Ellen Shipley   Track Performer
Bertolt Brecht   Track Performer
PJ Harvey   Track Performer
Teresa Stratas   Track Performer
William S. Burroughs   Track Performer
Danny Frankel   Drums
Charlie Haden   Bass,Track Performer
Ralph Schuckett   Track Performer
Gerard Schwarz   Track Performer
Kenny Wollesen   Track Performer
Mary Margaret O'Hara   Track Performer
Joe Macerollo   Accordion
Spanish Fly   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Marc Blitzstein   Composer
Kurt Weill   Composer
Elvis Costello   Producer
Persuasions   Arranger
Lou Reed   Arranger,Producer
Betty Carter   Arranger
Fred Hersch   Arranger,Producer
Bertolt Brecht   Composer
PJ Harvey   Producer
Ogden Nash   Composer
Anthony Coleman   Arranger
Jim Bessman   Liner Notes
Michael Delanian   Producer
Charlie Haden   Producer
Robert Hurwitz   Producer
Dave McNair   Engineer
Ralph Schuckett   Arranger,Producer
Hal Willner   Producer
Mary Margaret O'Hara   Producer
Eric Liljestrand   Engineer
Genevieve Haines   translation
Eric Salzman   Producer
Frank Schramm   translation
Arnold Weinstein   Composer
Peter Thomas   Producer,Engineer
Spanish Fly   Arranger
ZDF   Producer

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