Donnerstag, 4. April 2024

Teresa Stratas - The Unknows Kurt Weill (1981)

Kurt Weill was both well respected and popular in his own day, and in the years since his death in 1950 his reputation has only increased. As a result, many of the songs on "The Unknown Kurt Weill "(recorded in 1981) are no longer quite so unknown.
Perhaps that's because Weill's melodies are so catchy that they take up residence in your brain after just a listen or two. No wonder "Mack the Knife" (not included here) became an enormous pop hit for Bobby Darin. But crossover appeal aside, these are songs that beg for individual interpretation.

Teresa Stratas is a Weill specialist, having been tapped by Weill's widow - the gravel-voiced chanteuse Lotte Lenya - to carry the musical torch. The notoriously volatile Stratas is no longer singing (due to a faulty throat operation), but on this recording, she sounds terrific, sinking her teeth into stunning songs like "Und was bekam des Soldaten Weib" (Ballad of the Soldier's Wife) and "Nanna's Lied" (both with texts by Bertolt Brecht).

Of this production Harold Lawrence writes "Easily one of the outstanding early digital releases is this Nonesuch recording of 14 songs of Kurt Weill's theater music. The soprano, Teresa Stratas, who made such a deep impression in the role of Jenny in the Metropolitan Opera's revival of "Mahagonny", sings 14 songs by Weill in this release, Kurt Weill's widow, Lotte Lenya, was in the audience on opening night and wrote Miss Stratas that 'nobody can sing Weill's music better than you do.' She offered Stratas a number of unpublished songs that she had guarded since her husband's death in 1950. The result was a New York concert in January 1980 in which these songs formed the nucleus of the program. The event attracted the interest of Jac Holzman, Nonesuch's enterprising director. Holzman lost no time in signing up Teresa Stratas and pianist Richard Woitach to commit the concert to disc. The album is a fascinating collection, spanning some 20 years. Teresa Stratas sings with total understanding of the different sides of the composer and the recording, on Nonesuch Records, ranks as one of the best early digital efforts."
This recording is a revelation because it testifies to Weill's heritage and place in music: from the profane to the metaphysical, the seedy to the classic, it connects Weill to both the German dance- and concert-halls. Stratas interpretation places this music in the Berg tradition, using a wide range of color and emotion that rushes the melodious songs at you in a brilliant and immediate way. This is an album that I would grab first in a fire and I believe is a true classic in recording history.

Teresa Strata - The Unknown Kurt Weill (1981)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

4 Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

Ugh!!! The link is down for this!!! Please let me first take the opportunity to thank you for this amazing blog! It's hard what to thank you most for: the Woody Guthrie, the Sun Ra, or the Kurt Weill! Or everything else!

If you could ever repost this one, I'd be highly appreciative! The way you write about is making me dying to hear it!

zero hat gesagt…

Thanks a lot for your very uplifting feedback! Now there is a fresh and working link. Hope you enjoy these recordings! Greetings!

-Otto- hat gesagt…

Indeed, the link is working well. I guess the person who originally ripped this was not all too well versed in German or French. I guess there are a few misspellings to straighten out, like inserting the missing "t" and replacing the initial "G" with an "F" to restore Feuchtwanger's rightful name or to add the umlauts for Kästner. And as an update to biographical details for a few writers: Howard Dietz, he died in 1993, and Mehring died in 1981. In any case, all this does not impact the music. Thanks for the re-up, zero.

zero hat gesagt…

Otto, thanks for correcting all these misspellings. Best wishes!

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