Search - Kurt Weill, Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg, Lotte Lenya :: Kurt Weill - Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny / Lenya · Brückner-Rüggeberg

Kurt Weill - Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny / Lenya · Brückner-Rüggeberg
Kurt Weill, Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg, Lotte Lenya
Kurt Weill - Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny / Lenya · Brückner-Rüggeberg
Genres: Jazz, Soundtracks, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #2

Even seasoned operagoers are likely to look at this cast list and wonder who these people--aside from Lotte Lenya--are. The answer is that it doesn't really matter. The point is that this mid-1950s recording, made a little...  more »

      
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Amazon.com essential recording
Even seasoned operagoers are likely to look at this cast list and wonder who these people--aside from Lotte Lenya--are. The answer is that it doesn't really matter. The point is that this mid-1950s recording, made a little more than two decades after the piece's premiere, authoritatively captures the unique, peculiar, fragile style of Brecht and Weill in the Weimar Republic. That means big, provocative ideas expressed with relatively humble musical means with a presentational style of theater and vocal gruffness inhabiting its own netherworld between cabaret and opera. If one needs further proof, this performance has all the grit one hears in the scratchy, 1932 original-cast excerpts, with the exception of Lenya, who sounds like a bad opera singer in the early recordings but the very soul of Weill's cynical, world-weary music in the later one. In fact, she delivers the now-overexposed "Alabama Song" with an acerbic freshness here that may not be possible today. Other recordings may be more faithful to the original keys but not as faithful to its spirit. --David Patrick Stearns
 

CD Reviews

If Mack the Knife is all you know, you're really missing out
Sean | 10/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Truly this is Weill's masterpiece, and perhaps one of Bert Brecht's best, too. If a drunk Ferruchio Busoni wrote Dixieland jazz, this probably would be the result. I also have the Capriccio CD, and despite it's superior fidelity, the performances don't compare. (Except for the restoration of the "bordello-scene"; omitted in this recording.) In the Capriccio CD, the singing is pompous, more befitting an inflated "Rienzi"; in this vintage recording, the performance is probably closer to Weill's conception. Doors freaks will enjoy the "Alabama-Song"; while political historians will notice a clever foreshadowing of the maniacal reign of Hitler. This is the quintissential Weill--forget Dreigroschenoper! The omitted star is for mono sound, but one hardly notices the limitation."
Viva la Lenya! Viva la Weill! Viva la Brecht!
Sean | LOOK | 07/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This recording, as the above editorial review states, is very faithful to the original spirit of MAHAGONNY and the decadent Weimar Republic. Lenya is absolutely brilliant. First off, in "Ach, Bedanken Sie, Herr Jacob Schmidt:" her voice is plaintiff, yet unsentimental. She delves into the role of Jenny, showing us her pathetic upbringing in this song, and hopping right back up for the sexual manipulation of Jenny's character in the ensuing scene with Jimmu Mahoney. But her real triumph is in Jenny's big, Act Two soliliquy "Denn Wie Man Sich Bettet." It is among the dramatic highlights of the show, and Lenya has stamped her name on this song forever. This score is undeniably inventive, just listen to the underscoring in the opening dialogue between Fatty and Trinity-Moses. Then there is the brass and woodwind fugue that represents the approach of the typhoon, and all of the above-mentioned songs. The tenor portraying Jimmy Mahoney on this album is of very good voice, and it shows in his "Duet of the Cranes" with Lenya, as well as his first act two arias. The three woodcutter's make a good harmonic combination in "Wunderbar ist des Heraufkommen des Abends--," and this, along with the "Crane Duet" and the chorus act two opening chorale, poses as one of the few calm, peaceful moments in this in-your-face ferocity (the chorus sounds beautiful in their act two opener). The only quibbles that I have with this album are the quick tempos (which was neccesary to fit the score on two long-playing records in its original 1958 release), and a few spots where Weill's original orchestrations have been tampered with. Other than that this is a highly enjoyable recording, and a good introduction to one of the few masterpieces among 20th Century Opera that was not by Menotti or Stravinsky."
Truly an amazing work
C. Shanafelt | Brooklyn, NY | 09/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"*sigh* This is a fantastic and epic recording. I sat myself down with the translated lyrics and took two days to listen to it. It's a mockery of the American Musical, of capitalism, of socialism, of the values mankind pretends to hold dear... I was thoroughly blown away."