Notes and Editorial Reviews
Kurt Weill's 1924 Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra was his last concert work before his success with The Protagonist turned him irrevocably toward the world of theatre. According to Weill, the piece was "inspired by the hitherto untried idea of confronting a solo violin with a choir of wind instruments." The concerto was a success, and was performed all over Europe by Joseph Szigeti and other famous violinists of the time. The work's studied atonality will come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Weill's "serious" music (actually, it calls to mind Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 4, itself a violin concerto), but hints of his characteristic sardonic and acerbic style are already present. Henri Raudales admirably negotiates the challenges of the difficult solo part and manages to find many musical roses among the thorns.
In the wake of the enormous success of the Threepenny Opera, Weill compiled an orchestral suite in order to provide conductors with "a zippy closing piece". Scored for wind band, Kleine Dreigroschenmusik includes eight of the most popular numbers from the opera along with some new transitional passages. Lovers of the original will be delighted by the result, even if the famous lyrics are missing, while newcomers will find much to enjoy in Weill's droll yet biting melodies. Berlin im Licht, a military band piece composed for the 1928 festival of the same name, dresses up Weill's trademark showtune motifs in marching boots for its brief 80-second duration. Gerd Müller-Lorenz and the Münich Radio Orchestra sound perfectly at home in the styles of both the "profound" violin concerto and the "profane" popular pieces, giving us an opportunity to marvel at Weill's orchestral acumen. All this, and Orfeo's great sounding recording, add up to an especially desirable release for Weill fans.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com