Montag, 14. Dezember 2020

Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill ‎– "Tryout" - A Series Of Private Rehearsal Recordings (1983)

"A series of private rehearsal recordings," notes the album cover, and inside are performances by composer Kurt Weill and lyricist Ira Gershwin, demonstrating songs written for two Weill projects of the mid-'40s, the 1943 Broadway musical "One Touch of Venus" and the 1945 movie musical "Where Do We Go from Here? "

Gershwin is featured only on the tracks intended for the latter, to which he wrote the lyrics. The film concerns a contemporary man intent on getting into the Army, and thereby the action, during World War II, despite a 4F physical rating, who stumbles upon a genie in a lamp and inadvertently ends up in various historical incidents including Columbus' discovery of America (the extended piece "The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria"); Washington at Valley Forge (where the hero overhears the enemy Hessians singing "Song of the Rhineland"); and, in a section cut from the final script, the Indians discussing the sale of Manhattan ("Manhattan [Indian Song]"). Accompanied by Weill at the piano, Gershwin sings these songs spiritedly in his distinct New York accent, Weill piping in in his high German tenor at points in "The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria."

Gershwin's wit and wordplay are on display even on these minor efforts. The songs from One Touch of Venus, with lyrics by Ogden Nash, are much better remembered, particularly "Speak Low" and "That's Him."

Weill alone handles this material, which includes two songs, "Very Very Very" and "Jersey Plunk," that were dropped from the score before opening night. Of course, these are not polished, professional performances intended for the public to hear, but they will fascinate fans of show music.

This album is doubly precious, as not only does it offer rare recordings of Kurt Weill singing his own compositions (occasionally in duet with Ira Gershwin!) it features several songs from "One Touch of Venus," which is valuable in the absence of an extant "Venus" cast album.
As the editor of the Weill-Lenya correspondence collection "Speak Low" observes, Weill is plainly no professional singer, yet there's a uniquely pleasant and endearing quality to his voice. More than that, hearing him sing his own songs answers a question that long perplexed me, i.e., what he ever saw musically in Lotte Lenya. Maybe it was a natural affinity, or maybe the long years together as a working couple, but I can hear Lenya in these recordings of Weill: the same happy, open, all-out voice, plain yet punctuated by unexpected bursts of strong vibrato, of course individualized by Weill's distinctly masculine register and clipped German accent, in stark contrast to Lenya's sensuous Viennese one.

The Nina, The Pinta, The Santa Maria
West Wind
Very Very Very Wooden Wedding
Song Of The Rhineland (Duet With Ira Gershwin)
Speak Low
The Jersey Plunk - The Trouble With Women (quartet)
Manhattan (Indian Song) (Duet With Ira Gershwin)
That's Him

(224 kbps, cover art included)

3 Kommentare:

Kostas hat gesagt…

Hi.Do you want to exchange blog links?
My Blog is:
If you decide to add me to your bloglist, OK.
No problem if you don't want to.
Your Blog is in my bloglist.
Greetings from Athens, Greece.

zero hat gesagt…

Of course, i will add you to our bloglist. Stay safe!

eljoh1 hat gesagt…

Thank you. Just discovered this. So Great. Whole “album” now on YouTube, too.

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