Freitag, 18. Dezember 2020

Lotte Lenya - Die 7 Todsünden (1957, Philips)

Kurt Weill's "Seven Deadly Sins" ("Die sieben Todsünden") dates from 1933, the year he left Germany for Paris, after his music had been labeled "degenerate" by the Nazi's.
Originally, he had envisaged it as a Freudian psychological drama and asked Jean Cocteau to write the libretto. Cocteau turned it down, so Weill turned to his long-time collaborator Bertold Brecht. Brecht agreed on condition that he could use it to depict the corruption of the individual in a capitalist society. Rounding out the famous names, George Balanchine was the choreographer for the original production.

Brecht's story became one of the greatest satires of modern music. A young woman, represented by the practical Anna I (originally sung by Lotte Lenya) and the impulsive, flighty Anna II (danced by Tilly Losch) leaves her two brothers and parents and sets out on a journey through American cities to earn money for the family to build a house.
In each city Anna II succumbs to one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and has to be reined in by the sensible Anna I, so that their ultimate goal can be achieved. The massive irony is that this goal is by no means virtuous. To make their fortune, men are seduced, robbed, blackmailed and driven to suicide by the two Anna's.

Brecht's message is clear. Capitalist ambition is the greatest Deadly Sin, and ultimately, in a capitalist world, the wages of such sins is success.
"The Seven Deadly Sins" was a work written for Lotte Lenya, Weill's wife, who was still a soprano in the 1930's. She became the custodian and champion of Weill's music after his death in 1950, and promoted his music till her death in 1981.

Lenya returned to Berlin in 1955 after a 20 year absence, and was heartbroken by the devastation of the city by the War. She made 2 recordings, the 1956 "Sins" and in 1955 the "Berlin Theatre Songs", a selection of songs from Weill's earlier German works, including "The Threepenny Opera" and "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogonny".
They were a great success of long-neglected works and led the Weill revival that continues to the present day, greatly influencing the opera/musical styles of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.

This is quintessential Weill; driving rhythms, discordant harmonies, and his unusual orchestrations. "Sins" is scored for soprano (Anna I), male singing quartet (the family) and a small instrmental ensemble, which includes accordian and banjo.
But it is Lotte Lenya's voice that sets her Weill recordings apart from all others. She first wanted to be a dancer and never formally trained as a singer. Her style is rough, earthy, almost amateur, emotional but never sentimental. By the 1950's, Lenya's voice was raspy and gravelly, a legacy of countless cigarettes, and this recording had to be transposed down by a fourth. If anything, this adds to the bittersweet but seedy tone of the whole work. Lenya loves this music, and the music loves her. Her performance is raw but also vulnerable and human.

Recorded on September 1-8, 1956, at Friedrich Ebert Halle, Hamburg, Germany. Originally released 1957 with Lotte Lenya (vocals), Ernst Poettgen, Sigmund Roth (bass), Fritz Göllnitz, Julius Katona (tenor) and Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg (conductor).

Lotte Lenya - Die 7 Todsünden (1957)
(192 kbps, complete cover art included)

9 Kommentare:

AmericanSamourai hat gesagt…

Thanks, ZSG!

zero hat gesagt…

You are welcome!

Anonym hat gesagt…

please re-up dead link - Thankx

loriartx hat gesagt…

if a vinyl rip please re up thanks XX

loriartx hat gesagt…

any chance of this re-up as well pls

zero hat gesagt…

Now there is a fresh link. All the best!

Bob Mac hat gesagt…

Thank you.

loriartx hat gesagt…

thank you

zero hat gesagt…

You are welcome!

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