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
Browse 1-25 of 246 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Blacher
    Label: Phil.harmonie   Catalog: 6029 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hanns Eisler,  Boris Blacher,  Paul Dessau,  Kurt Weill
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  • 2.
    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: $134.49
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  • 3.
    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,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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  ... 
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    CD: $98.49
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  • 6.
    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  ... 
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  • 7.
    Clarinet Lollipops
    Label: Continuum   Catalog: 1080 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Kurt Weill,  Fritz Kreisler,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Murray Khouri
    Conductor:  Paul Terracini
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  • 8.
    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  ... 
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    CD: $44.49
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Gershwin, Bach, Bozza, Weill, Meyers, Piazzolla
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: 218 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Kurt Weill,  Eugčne Bozza  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clair-Obscur Saxophone Quartet
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  • 15.
    The Roaring Twenties
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72657 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard A. Whiting,  Aaron Copland,  Benjamin Britten,  Kurt Weill  ... 
    Performer:  Cora Burggraaf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Calefax
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  • 16.
    Liszt Inspections
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 13292 Release Date: 01/01/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Friedrich Cerha,  Kurt Weill,  György Ligeti  ... 
    Performer:  Marino Formenti
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  • 17.
    Kurt Weill: Meisterwerke
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10184 Release Date: 09/19/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Johanna Von Koczian,  Wolfgang Neuss,  Erich Schellow,  Wolfgang Grunert  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhe Bruckner-Ruggeberg,  Siegfried Köhler,  Charles Sanford,  Axel Stordahl
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  • 18.
    Ute Lemper: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002131602 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill,  Mischa Spoliansky,  Friedrich Hollaender,  Rudolf Nelson  ... 
    Performer:  Ute Lemper,  Wolfgang Meyer,  Kai Rautenberg,  Jeff Cohen  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri,  Robert Ziegler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Ensemble,  Berlin RIAS Sinfonietta,  London Voices  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 19.
    Lieder Eines Armen Madchens
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99006 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hanns Eisler,  Friedrich Hollaender,  Kurt Weill,  Czeslaw Niemen
    Performer:  Nina Proll,  Trio de Salon
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  • 20.
    Escape to Paradise - The Hollywood Album / Daniel Hope
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002145302 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Miklós Rózsa,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Hanns Eisler  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Maria Todtenhaupt,  Sting,  Jacques Ammon  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Shelley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra,  Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin Quartet,  Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin Quintet
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  • 21.
    Behind the Lines / Anna Prohaska
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002092902 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hanns Eisler,  Hugo Wolf  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Prohaska,  Eric Schneider
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  • 22.
    Most Wanted Recitals - George London On Broadway
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002065402 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Frederick Loewe,  Kurt Weill,  Jerome Kern  ... 
    Performer:  George London
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 23.
    Le Meilleur D'une Vie: Enregistrements 1958-1997
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 631289 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith,  Pierre Pierlot,  Gérard Jarry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Martini,  Herbert von Karajan,  Jean-François Paillard,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
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  • 24.
    Jewish Composers In America - The Zamir Chorale Of Boston
    Label: Zamir Chorale   Catalog: 917 Release Date: 05/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sholom Secunda,  Johnny Mercer,  Herman Wohl,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Conductor:  Joshua Jacobson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zamir Chorale Boston
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Broadway to Hollywood / Richard Glazier
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3347 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bronislaw Kaper,  Bernard Herrmann,  George Gershwin,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Glazier
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