Samstag, 16. Juli 2016

Lotte Lenya - Kurt Weill´s Seven Deadly Sins & Happy End (Bertolt Brecht)

Whether playing Anna in "The Seven Deadly Sins" or singing "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" ("Mack the Knife"), Lotte Lenya helped define the music of her husband, Kurt Weill. The duo literally created the soundtrack for the pre-war Berlin of our fantasies - an exotic land of nicotine and nightlife - where cabaret, jazz, and the odd American instrumental influence all coexist happily.


For the uninitiated Lenya's voice seems crude and untrained yet her interpretations of her late husbands work are the most compelling and astonishing. Here we hear some of her finest recordings of Weill's repetoire: This recording was made on the 9th and 10th of July, 1960, at the Friedrich Ebert Hall in Hamburg-Harburg, Germany. the conductor, Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg, who has directed all the previous Kurt Weill recordings for Columbia, was one of the resident conductors at the Hamburg State Opera.

Forget subtlety - Lenya is all about emotion. On cuts like "Surabaya-Johnny," her German sounds fragile and sweet, but mostly she's just herself - bittersweet, raw, and (most of all) human. In spirit, Marianne Faithfull, PJ Harvey, and a host of others all kept the torch of Lenya's style going. But after listening to these songs in classic form (and in their original tongue), you'll never hear them the same way again. In "The Seven Deadly Sins" Lotte Lenya engages emotionaly with the music in a manner unparalleled in recent recordings. Although her deep voice does not provide the contrast with the orchestra achieved in its original scoring, the fact that this is music written with Lenya's voice in mind makes up for this. The music is, perhaps, Weill's most stunning. Brecht's scathing attack on Bourgeois morality, personified in Anna's conflicting drives towards sensuality and wealth, is perfectly set to music by Weill, who's constant changes in tempo and style underpin Anna's schizophrenia. Of the songs included in this compliation "Subaraya Johnny" has never sounded so beautifull.

"The Seven Deadly Sins" (German: "Die sieben Todsünden") is a satirical ballet chanté ("sung ballet") in nine scenes composed by Kurt Weill to a German libretto by Bertolt Brecht. It was translated into English by W.H. Auden & Chester Kallman.

"The Seven Deadly Sins" was first performed in the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris on 7 June 1933, with choreography by George Balanchine. The lead roles were played by Lotte Lenya (Anna I) and Tilly Losch (Anna II). Nils Grosch writes that it "was met with bewilderment by the French audience (not just because the work was sung entirely in German). German émigrés living in Paris, however, were enthusiastic and considered it 'a grand evening." The production went to London opening at the Savoy Theatre under the title "Anna - Anna", on 28 June of the same year. It was revived by Lotte Lenya – Kurt Weill's widow – in the 1950s, however with the main singing part in version transposed to a fourth below its original pitch level which matched Lenya's new lower voice but didn't correspond to Weill's intentions. Another transposed version, down by a full octave, was used by Marianne Faithfull in her recording from 1997. The original higher version has been recorded by, among others, Elise Ross, Anne Sofie von Otter, Teresa Stratas and Anja Silja.

"The Seven Deadly Sins" tells the story of two sisters, Anna I and Anna II. Anna I, the singer, is the main singing voice. Her sister Anna II, the dancer, is heard only infrequently and the lyrics hint at the possibility that they are the same person: "To convey the ambivalence inherent in the 'sinner', Brecht splits the personality of Anna into Anna I, the cynical impresario with a practical sense and conscience, and Anna II, the emotional, impulsive, artistic beauty, the salable product with an all too human heart." "The Family", a male quartet, acts as the Greek chorus. Both sisters set out from the banks of the Mississippi in Louisiana to find their fortune in the big cities, and to send enough money back to their family to build a little house on the river. After the prologue, in which Anna I introduces the sisters and their plans, seven scenes are devoted to the seven deadly sins, each encountered in a different American city.
After arriving back home after seven years, the sisters ostensibly succeed in securing the means to buy the little house, but in the process Anna II envies all those who can engage in the sins she has been deprived of, and the epilogue ends in a sober mood, with Anna II's resigned response to her sister, "Yes, Anna."

For anyone who has recently got into Kurt Weill and not experienced how it should be heard then I would wholeheartedly recomend this compilation as a fantasic introduction.

Lotte Lenya - Seven Deadly Sins & Happy End
(256 kbps, front cover included)

4 Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

Great music at this site!
Is there a chance the Lenya Seven Deadly Sins and Happy Ending link might be repaired?
Thank you.

zero hat gesagt…

Of course, here´s a fresh link. Best wishes!

Anonym hat gesagt…

That's wonderful. Many thanks.

Lucky hat gesagt…

She's the best. :)

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