Johnny Johnsonby Kurt Weill Performer:
Jane Connell (Voice),
Hiram Sherman (Voice),
Burgess Meredith (Voice),
Thomas Stewart (Baritone),
Evelyn Lear (Soprano),
Scott Merrill (Voice),
Jean Sanders (Voice),
Bob Shaver (Voice),
Lotte Lenya (Voice),
William Malten (Voice)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1936; New York, USA Date of Recording: 1956 Venue: New York, NY
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Lesser Weill, but still WeillAugust 20, 2014By a. Willment (Ridgewood, NJ)See All My Reviews"As a Weill enthusiast, I was surprised to find this recording even existed. It's well worth adding to a collection, and not just for the completist. 'Johnny Johnson' suffers in comparison to Weill's more famous works in two ways. One, the music was written for a play that is largely forgotten now, one of many agitprop reactions to the unprecedented devastation that was WW I. The story is deliberately simple and so is the moral. (Yet, as the liner notes observe, the show refuses to go away.) Weill's music, though, as always has a complexity and subtlety that transcends the material. Two, the music has few 'break-out' tunes that can be separated from the story; at every turn it serves the plot. About half the music is in that category. Bearing that in mind: Weill's gift for genre music and pastiche - a talent shared by Sondheim - is amply demonstrated here, by turns patriotic, sentimental, even a cowboy tune - bringing out the irony inherent in the lyrics and context of the songs. When sincerity is called for, he gives us the poignant 'Mon Ami, My Friend' (Lotte Lenye! Worth the price just for that), the savage 'Song of the Goddess,' the piercing 'Song of the Wounded Frenchmen' and 'Song of the Guns,' the charming 'Sewing Machine Song' which has the convincing sound of an actual folk song, and to wrap it up, the heartbreaking 'Johnny's Song,' delivered by Burgess Meredith in the title role, which is all the more effective because Meredith wasn't a singer and is more in the Rex Harrison talk-singing mode. Many of Weill's 'lesser' works were never recorded, not recorded in full, or have gone out of print. I hope eventually 'One Touch of Venus,' 'Love Life,' and other more obscure shows will join 'Johnny Johnson' as available to Weill fans."Report Abuse
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