Weill: Kleine Dreigroschenmusik; Toch: Egon und Emilie; Schulhoff: H.M.S. Royal Oak

Weill: Kleine Dreigroschenmusik; Toch: Egon und Emilie; Schulhoff: H.M.S. Royal Oak

by Ebony Band


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Weill: Kleine Dreigroschenmusik; Toch: Egon und Emilie; Schulhoff: H.M.S. Royal Oak

Here are three pieces by German Jewish composers from the 1920s and 1930s, two of them comic and vocal, and two of them influenced by jazz. The jazz issue in Erwin Schulhoff's "H.M.S. Royal Oak" is especially welcome; the average listener, hearing the jazz presence in Kurt Weill's "Die Dreigroschenoper" (The Threepenny Opera) and a few other famous works, may wonder about the substructure on which it rests. Any listener to light music knows the degree to which German audiences liked jazz, at least until it became a part of Hitler's racialized discourse. The program opens with "Die Dreigroschenoper" itself, in a reduction, "Kleine Dreigroschenmusik," for wind band by Weill, whose premiere was conducted by none other than Otto Klemperer. This suite deserves to be better known than it is, for you actually hear more of Weill's encounter with jazz in its wind textures than in the full opera scoring. The middle work on the program, Ernst Toch's "Egon und Emilie," is a 12-minute operatic parody that might be described as a character in search of both an author and a romantic drama. The best find of all (and all three of these pieces are both delightful and rare) is "H.M.S. Royal Oak," which Schulhoff grandly called a jazz oratorio. In fact it's a one-act comic cantata, about the length of Trial by Jury and nearly as funny. It was apparently based on a real event: sailors on a British warship, forbidden to listen to jazz, rebelled against their commander. The ill-fated Schulhoff arguably understood jazz less well than Weill, but this little bit of smartassery is executed just about perfectly and given just the right level of sly youthful humor by the singers associated with the Dutch ensemble Ebony Band. This group, made of musicians from the Concertgebouw Orchestra, is one of several Dutch groups specializing in the still-neglected vernacular-influenced music of this period; with this thoroughly enjoyable release they step to the head of the class.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/08/2009
Label: Channel Classics Nl
UPC: 0723385251095
catalogNumber: 25109

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ebony Band   Primary Artist,Band
Werner Herbers   Conductor
Cappella Amsterdam   Choir, Chorus
Åsa Olsson   Soprano (Vocal)
Chaim Levano   Spoken Word
Elena Vink   Soprano (Vocal)
Bernhard Loonen   Tenor (Vocal)
Åsa Olsson   Soprano (Vocal)
Bernard Loonen   Tenor (Vocal)
Daniel Reuss   Spoken Word

Technical Credits

Erwin Schulhoff   Composer
Kurt Weill   Composer
Ernst Toch   Composer
Werner Herbers   Producer,Liner Notes
C. Jared Sacks   Engineer
Jef van Jole   Cover Illustration
Ad van der Kouwe   Cover Design
Otto Rombach   Text
Christian Morgenstern   Text

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