Samstag, 26. Mai 2018

Kurt Weill - Der Silbersee: ein Wintermärchen (London Sinfonietta)

"Der Silbersee: ein Wintermärchen" ("The Silver Lake: a Winter's Fairy Tale") is a 'play with music' in three acts by Kurt Weill to a German text by Georg Kaiser (cf. Heinrich Heine's Germany. A Winter's Tale).

"Der Silbersee" was premiered on 18 February 1933 simultaneously at the Altes Theater in Leipzig, the Stadttheater in Erfurt and the Stadttheater in Magdeburg, just 3 weeks after the Nazi Party's Machtergreifung on 30 January 1933. It was directed by Detlev Sierck and conducted by Gustav Brecher (Leipzig). It was the artists' last production in the Weimar Republic before they were forced to emigrate and it was banned on 4 March 1933 by the Nazis after having been performed 16 times.

"Der Silbersee" tells the story of Olim, a policeman, who shoots the thief Severin, who was stealing a pineapple. Severin survives and, from then on, Olim has a bad conscience. He wins the lottery and soon finds himself at a castle at the silverlake. He gives shelter to Severin, takes care of his wellbeing and tries to build a friendship with him. Severin does not forgive him, and conflict evolves at the estate. The mistress von Laub cleverly takes advantage of the two men with Olim finally agreeing to sell her all his property for a very low price. The two men reconcile and, at the end of it all, wish only to die together in the silverlake. However, in the meantime, the lake turns out to have frozen.

Even though the piece is based on a play and most of the action is transmitted by the spoken word, the elaboration of the piece by Weill requires skilled singers and musicians for a medium-sized orchestra. Similarly to his other works, Weill uses a broad variety of elements such as the cantata, instrumental interruptions, moritate, and songs. It questions the limitations of the genres. As a result, the Nazis labelled the work not only degenerated but a "musical bastard". Due to these characteristics it has not until recently become established in postwar theater nor on opera stages. It still lacks an appropriate framework to be performed within.
One day after the ban on the piece by the NSDAP on 4 March 1933, Georg Kaiser was also barred from the Akademie der Künste of which he was a member. On 10 May the work with illustrations by Caspar Neher was burned on the Opera Plaza. Today only occasionally is the piece found as part of the repertoire.

Here´s the recording with the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Markus Stenz with Heinz Kruse, HK Gruber and Juanita Lascarro.

Kurt Weill - Der Silbersee (London Sinfonietta)
(128 kbps, front cover included)

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