Notes and Editorial Reviews
The 1933 premiere of 'Der Silbersee' was greeted with great critical acclaim, but the Nazi seizure of power shortly thereafter precluded this leftist morality tale from remaining on the stage, and Kurt Weill wisely fled the country soon. Weill's score contains some of his best music, covering a wide range of styles from the popular dance rhythms that drive many of the songs to long operatic scenes that integrate music, song and speech. The story has overtones of fairy tale but also unmistakably refers to the politics of the time, and Weill's music comments succinctly on both realms.
This recording includes all of Weill's music and a few scenes with dialogue, and the London Sinfonietta gets Weill's satirical style exactly right. The cast is uniformly good, and HK Gruber, himself a composer influenced much by Weill, is an especially distinctive vocal presence. Unfortunately, some of the most interesting characters only sing one song apiece, but Graham Clark makes the most of the Lottery Agent's Song--perhaps the score's greatest number, with its maniacal greed and promises of "interest and compound interest" underscored by a seductive tango--and the distinguished soprano Helga Dernesch is wonderfully malicious in her all-too-brief appearance as the plot's villain.