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Kurt Weill: Eternal Road (Highlights) (Milken Archive of American Jewish Music)
Kurt Weill, Gerard Schwarz, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Kurt Weill: Eternal Road (Highlights) (Milken Archive of American Jewish Music)
Genre: Classical
 
This world-premiere recording of scenes from Kurt Weill's rediscovered masterpiece The Eternal Road brings to life a major 20th-century work that was a sensation of the 1937 New York theatre season. Originally conceived as...  more »

      
   
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Album Description
This world-premiere recording of scenes from Kurt Weill's rediscovered masterpiece The Eternal Road brings to life a major 20th-century work that was a sensation of the 1937 New York theatre season. Originally conceived as a biblical pageant, a profound music-drama, and a theatrical extravaganza, The Eternal Road combines the legends of timeless Jewish heroes and heroines with the all-too-familiar story of persecution in Europe. Set against a richly colored backdrop, Weill's masterful score embodies the passions and aspirations of many dramatic characters in search of their Jewish Destiny.

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CD Reviews

A Historical Work That Will Appeal To Many
Timothy Kearney | Hull, MA United States | 01/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a recording that will probably be of interest to a varied audience. Opera lovers who appreciate Kurt Weill's music will probably enjoy the recording most. Opera lovers who collect recordings love the familiar, but always relish the less familiar music that is released from time to time. THE ETERNAL ROAD will certainly be a rare treat in any opera lover's collection, that when listened to from time to time, is certain to bring enjoyment. The excerpts included in this recording are powerful and represent a side of Weill that is not as familiar as many of his other stage works. While it was conceived as a stage work, the recording sounds more like a modern day oratorio, but listeners can easily see how the musical pieces could be staged. Since the music is somewhat large and spectacular, and much of Weill's music found as home on the Broadway stage, people who enjoy theatrical music will also appreciate the recording. The piece is important historically not only because it presents a less familiar side of Weill, but also its historical context. Weill began work in 1933 which coincided with the beginnings of Nazi persecution. It was an affirmation of faith in the midst of the Holocaust.The work is composed of the stories of many of the great Biblical heroes and heroines of the Jewish faith. Included in this recording are scenes telling the story of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and the Angel, Jacob and Rachel, the death of Jacob (a very moving musical scene), Moses receiving the Ten Commandments (I believe to be one of the best scenes of the recording), Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz, and the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. The work ends with a very hopeful finale, but the ending is a bit closer to a Broadway musical's finale which does not fit the majesty of the other excerpts, but is an enjoyable musical moment none-the-less.The recording was supported in part by the Milken Archive, an organization dedicated to presenting and preserving Jewish sacred and secular music. It has been released by the budget label Naxos, but the work is worth more than its modest price."
The Eternal Road -at last!
Michael M. Eisman | 11/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Weill's The Eternal Road has basically languished for more than half a century. Several years ago a production was mounted by the Chemitz Opera in the original German, which played in Chemnitz, Brooklyn and Tel Aviv. Now excerpts from the work in its English form are finally available.
The Chemitz production clearly showed both the fascination that the work has and its extensive problems. Set in a synagogue during a Nazi program, the characters are identified by types (alienated Jew, Rabbi, Christian married to a Jew, etc.) and have no real personality. They are the raison d'etre for a telling of the biblical narrative. The rabbi acts as a the reader in the fashion of the Bach St. Matthew Passion. As the story unfolfs the characters act out the story on an upper stage. In general the work is episodic with little development. In this it is really a pagent not an opera or even an oratorio. The biggest difficulty is that the work in its present form is way to long. The music slides from one style to another and by the end of a performance the audience is generally numbed into submission. In short it doesn't work on stage.
Now with a highlight recording one can savour some of the best portions of this very uneven work. Repeated hearing may increase ones desire to hear the whole work, but clearly the best of it is here and is very moving and enjoyable. If you are looking for Three Penny Opera or Mahagony you will be be let down, but heard on its own it is quite remarkable."