Kurt Weill

Biography

Born: March 2, 1900; Dessau, Germany   Died: April 3, 1950; New York, NY  
The son of a cantor, Kurt Weill was born in Dessau into a family that took in operatic performances as a main form of entertainment. When Weill was in his teens the director of the Dessau Hoftheater, Albert Bing, encouraged him in the study of music. Weill briefly studied composition with Engelbert Humperdinck and was already working professionally as a conductor when he attended composer Ferruccio Busoni's master classes in Berlin. Delighted to Read more see the positive responses of an audience to his first collaboration with playwright Georg Kaiser, Der Protagonist (1926), he thereafter resolved to work toward accessibility in his music. In 1926 Weill married actress Lotte Lenya, whose reedy, quavering singing voice he called "the one I hear in my head when I am writing my songs."

In 1927 Weill began his collaboration with leftist playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht; their first joint venture, Mahagonny-Songspiel (1927), launched the number "Alabama Song," which, to their surprise, became a minor pop hit in Europe. The next show, Die Dreigroschenoper (The Three-Penny Opera, 1928) was a monstrous success, in particular the song "Moritat" (Mack the Knife). Nonetheless, strain in their association was already being felt, and after the completion of their magnificent "school opera" Der Jasager (1930), the two parted company. Brecht and Weill were brought together once more in Paris to create Die Sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins) (1934). In the meantime, Weill collaborated with Caspar Neher on the opera Die Bürgschaft (1931) and Georg Kaiser again on Der Silbersee (1933), works that garnered the hostile attention of the then-emerging Nazi party. With the rise to power of Hitler, Weill and Lenya were forced to dissolve their union and flee continental Europe. Weill found his way to New York in 1935; rejoining Lenya, Weill became a citizen and devoted himself to American democracy with a vengeance, preferring his name pronounced like "wile" rather than "vile." After a series of frustrating flops, Weill hit his stride with playwright Maxwell Anderson, producing his first hit, Knickerbocker Holiday (1938). In the dozen years left to him, Weill's stature on Broadway grew with a series of hit shows, including Lady in the Dark (1941), One Touch of Venus (1943), Love Life (1948), and Lost in the Stars (1949). Weill had ambitions to create what he regarded as "the first American folk opera"; the closest of his American works to reach that goal is Street Scene (1946), a sort of "urban folk opera" based on a play by Elmer Rice with lyrics by Langston Hughes.

On April 3, 1950, Weill unexpectedly suffered a massive coronary and died in Lenya's arms. Weill's estate was valued at less than 1,000 dollars, and Lenya realized that his contribution to musical theater was likewise undervalued. She commissioned composer Marc Blitzstein to adapt an English-language version of Die Dreigroschenoper; it opened off-Broadway in 1954 and ran for three years, touching off a Weill revival that continues. Read less
Weill: Street Scene / Original Broadway Cast
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Cbs Masterworks  
Catalog: 44668   Number of Discs: 1
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Milken Archive - Weill: The Eternal Road (Highlights)
Release Date: 09/30/2003   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559402   Number of Discs: 1
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Weill: Seven Deadly Sins / Stratas, Kimball
Release Date: 06/10/2003   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2904   Number of Discs: 1
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Weill: Symphony No 1 & 2, Etc / Alsop, Bournemouth So
Release Date: 08/16/2005   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557481   Number of Discs: 1
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Weill: Street Scene / Mauceri, Barstow, Ramey, Reaux, Hadley
Release Date: 06/05/2008   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 433371   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 244 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    In Search of Freedom / Sareika, Berlage Saxophone Quartet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9031999 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Arvo Pärt,  Erwin Schulhoff  ... 
    Performer:  Vineta Sareika
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlage Saxophone Quartet
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 2.
    Let There Be Life, Love & Laughter: Eric Ineke Meets the Tenor Players
    Label: Daybreak   Catalog: DBCHR75226 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johnny Green,  Benny Golson,  Denzil Best,  Ray Henderson  ... 
    Performer:  Eric Ineke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tenor Players
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Thousands of Miles / Lindsey, Trotignon [Vinyl]
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: Alpha278 Release Date: 06/09/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill,  Alma Mahler,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Alexander von Zemlinsky
    Performer:  Kate Lindsey,  Baptiste Trotignon
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  • 4.
    Thousands of Miles / Lindsey, Trotignon
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 272 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill,  Alma Mahler,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Alexander von Zemlinsky
    Performer:  Kate Lindsey,  Baptiste Trotignon
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Weill: A Portrait - From Berlin to New York / Mossberg
    Label: Sterling Records   Catalog: 1820 Release Date: 05/05/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Curt Hedlund,  Karin Hultenberger,  Kia Nyberg,  Torsten Mossberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lars-Olof Norées Trio
    CD: $29.99
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  • 6.
    Plays & Operas for the Radio / Theis, Staatsoperette Dresden
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777839 Release Date: 03/17/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Pavel Haas,  Paul Hindemith,  Walter Gronostay,  Kurt Weill  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernst Theis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Dresden State Opera Orchestra
    CD: $34.99
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  • 7.
    For Seasons / Hope, Zurich Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002632502 Release Date: 03/03/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Nils Frahm,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Max Richter  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Christoph Anacker,  Jacques Ammon,  Jane Berthe  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Hope
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra,  Kaiser Quartett
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    Au fil de l'Art en Musique
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 3019 Release Date: 02/10/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Dunstable,  Giovanni Gabrieli,  Michael Praetorius,  Bellerofonte Castaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Maxine Eilander,  Stephen Stubbs,  Daniel Taylor,  Jivko Georgiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Jackson,  Francis Colpron,  Thomas Rösner,  Yoav Talmi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Voix Baroques,  Concerto Palatino,  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal  ... 
    On sale! $16.99
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  • 9.
    In the Voice of the Labyrinth / Berberian
    Label: Symphonia   Catalog: ERM1036 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Anonymous,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Kurt Weill  ... 
    Performer:  Cathy Berberian,  Luciano Sgrizzi,  Bruno Canino,  Dario Muller
    Conductor:  Francis Travis,  Giorgio Bernasconi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RTSI Orchestra,  Gruppo Musica Insieme di Cremona
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Kurt Weill/Franz Werfel: The Road Of Promise
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 6059 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Mark Delavan
    Conductor:  Ted Sperling
    CD: $14.99
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  • 11.
    Tangos for Piano from Latin America & Europe / Worms
    Label: Zefir Records   Catalog: 9647 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Horacio Salgán,  Leopold Godowsky,  Anibal Troilo  ... 
    Performer:  Marcel Worms
    CD: $18.99
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  • 12.
    Inspirations
    Label: Aparte   Catalog: 114 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Kosma,  Grigoras Dinicu,  Astor Piazzolla,  Andrea Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Romain Leleu
    CD: $20.99
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  • 13.
    Blacher
    Label: Phil.harmonie   Catalog: 6029 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hanns Eisler,  Boris Blacher,  Paul Dessau,  Kurt Weill
    On sale! $31.99
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  • 14.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $129.99
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  • 15.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 16.
    Weill, Brecht: Die Sieben Todsunden (The Seven Deadly Sins) Ballet Chante
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95126 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Gisela May,  Peter Schreier,  Günther Leib,  Hermann-Christian Polster  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel,  Henry Krtschil,  Heinz Rögner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Male Chorus,  Berlin Radio Studio Orchestra
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  • 17.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: 100 Greatest American Light Orchestras, Vol. 2
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5231 Release Date: 10/15/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mexican Anonymous,  Irving Berlin,  Richard Rodgers,  Vincent Youmans  ... 
    Conductor:  Percy Faith,  Glenn Osser,  Richard Jones,  Xavier Cugat  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Pittsburgh Strings
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    The CBSO Years / Rattle
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552758 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 52
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Benjamin Britten,  Kurt Weill,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Ameral Gunson,  John Mitchinson,  Malcolm King  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir Men and Boys  ... 
    CD: $126.99
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  • 19.
    L'illusion
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: 227 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fritz Rotter,  Michael Jary,  Hildegard Knef,  Friedrich Hollaender  ... 
    Performer:  Andreas Wingert,  Rick Musallam,  Philip Bynoe,  Scheila Gonzalez  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    Kurt Weill Edition, Vol. 1
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 7178 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Ulrike Steinsky,  Walter Raffeiner,  Jane Henschel,  Rolf Wollrad  ... 
    Conductor:  Jan Latham-Koenig,  Lothar Zagrosek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  König Ensemble,  Händel Collegium Cologne,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $26.98
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  • 21.
    Thomas Hampson - Autograph
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564619045 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Charles Gounod,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Charlotte Margiono,  Delores Ziegler,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Michel Plasson,  Antonio de Almeida,  Richard Armstrong  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Opera Chorus,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $45.98
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  • 22.
    Anne Sofie Von Otter - 10 Classic Albums
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281102 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Antonio Bertali,  Giovanni Legrenzi,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Dane Roberts,  Florian Deuter,  Reinhard Goebel,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Marc Minkowski,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 23.
    Shostakovich: Preludes; Prokofiev: Visions Fugitives; Weill: Seven Pieces From The Threepenny Opera
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1253 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Benjamin Schmid,  Lisa Smirnova
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Eine Nacht In Berlin / Max Raabe [dvd]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002244209 Release Date: 01/20/2015  
    Composer:  Annette Humpe,  Marc Roland,  Erwin Bootz,  Kurt Weill  ... 
    Performer:  Max Raabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Eine Nacht In Berlin / Max Raabe, Palast Orchester
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002244102 Release Date: 01/20/2015  
    Composer:  Annette Humpe,  Marc Roland,  Erwin Bootz,  Kurt Weill  ... 
    Performer:  Max Raabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palast Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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