Street Scene : Work information
- Kurt (Julian) Weill ( Music, Images,)
- Performed by
- Kristine Ciesinski (Mezzo-soprano), Richard Van Allan (Bass), Bonaventura Bottone (Voice), Janis Kelly (Voice), Catherine Zeta Jones (Voice), English National Opera Orchestra, English National Opera Chorus, Carl Davis (Conductor)
- Work name
- Street Scene
- Work number
- 1946-01-01 02:00:00
- JAY Records
- John Yap
- Recording date
Kurt (Julian) WeillWeill began his studies in his home town of Dessau with Albert Bing, a private tutor. He enroled at the Berlin Hochschule in 1918 under Humperdinck and Krasselt, but only lasted one term before leaving to work as an opera coach and conductor. In 1921 he took lessons from Busoni in Berlin and composed his first major work, the Berliner Symphonie. Lost for many years, the manuscript was only found after Weill’s death and the work was premiered in 1958 to great acclaim.
Weill began to write satirical operas, their cynical tone in keeping with the prevailing mood of the Weimar Republic. Der Protagonist (1925) and Royal Palace (1926) are still peformed, but collaboration with poet and playwright Bertold Brecht yielded one of his greatest works, Mahagonny (1927, reworked as Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny in 1929). Brecht and Weill became, and are to this day, names synonymous with satirical socialist music theatre. Mahagonny exposed the dark underside of the American dream, and the pair did much the same with Die Dreigroschenoper (1928), adapting John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera to their own ends. The work’s first song, known in translation as ‘Mack the Knife’, found a place in the jazz repertoire in interpretations by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Brecht’s renunciation of the orchestral string section in favour of banjos, saxophones and the like meant that this was not the leap of style one might expect.
Weill married cabaret singer Lotte Lenya, who he cast in many of his productions. As a socialist, an institutionalised hierarchy of singers was too bourgeoise for his tastes, and his works were designed to be singable by all. Most of the numbers require only a basic compass of notes, and their popular, easygoing style is immensely appealing. When Schoenberg described Weill’s works as the only music completely devoid of merit he perhaps could not see the wood for trees; their simplicity means that Weill’s sneakily angular turn of phrase is all the more effective.
As a Jewish composer, Weill could see that Germany would not be a good place to be in the thirties. He settled in the US in 1935, taking citizenship in 1943. He composed for Broadway with a number of eminent librettists including Ira Gershwin and Ogden Nash; until recently commentators have felt these works compared unfavourably to his works with Brecht, but they contine to find champions. In later years he began to incorporate atonality, polytonality and polyrhythms into his compositions.
- Introduction 1:38 min
- Ain't It Awful, That Heat? 4:16 min
- I've Got A Marble And A Star / Scene 2:55 min
- Get A Load Of That / Scene 3:33 min
- When A Women Has A Baby 1:48 min
- Scene / She Shouldn't Be Staying Out Nights 2:35 min
- Somehow I Never Could Believe 7:21 min
- Scene / Get A Load Of That! / Scene 4:12 min
- Ice Cream Sextet / Scene 7:41 min
- Let Things Be Like They Always Was / Scene 3:47 min
- Scene / Wrapped In A Ribbon And Tied To A Bow / Scene 7:58 min
- Lonely House 3:34 min
- Scene / Wouldn't You Like To Be On Broadway 5:31 min
- What good would the moon be? 5:52 min
- Scene / Moon Faced, Starry Eyed / Dance 6:15 min
- Scene / Come On 2:19 min
- Remember That I Care 7:49 min
- Finaletto 3:30 min
- Introduction / Catch Me If You Can / Scene 11:05 min
- Scene / There'll Be Trouble 4:19 min
- I Tried To Be A Good Wife To Him / Scene 3:22 min
- A Boy Like You / Scene 5:29 min
- We'll Go Away Together / Scene 6:10 min
- The Murder 4:21 min
- The Women Who Lived Up There 4:29 min
- Interlude 2:31 min
- Scene / Lullaby 4:50 min
- Scene / Oh Officer 3:48 min
- Finale - I Loved Her Too 4:14 min
- Finale - Don't Forget The Lilach Bush 7:36 min
- Finale - Ain't It Awful, The Heat? 0:56 min
Winner of Best Operetta and Musical Award - MRA Awards
JAY Records present here the complete recording of The English National Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’s powerful modern masterpiece, STREET SCENE. Since it was unveiled at the London Coliseum in October 1989, this magnificent production has attained unprecedented acclaim.
Based on Elmer Rice’s 1929 stage play, STREET SCENE is an intimate family tragedy set in a poor section of Manhattan. The unfolding human drama is set against the sound of the big city, which are hauntingly present during dialogue on the surround channel of this recording.
Kristine Ciesinski and Richard Van Allen lead a strong cast which includes Janis Kelley, Bonaventura Bottone and Catherine Zeta Jones, who has since become a star in both film and television. The ENO Orchestra are conducted by Carl Davis.
This is the very first complete Original Cast Recording of Weill’s opus. Produced by John Yap and Engineered by John Kurlander, JAY Records’ STREET SCENE includes the entire score and dialogue appears on double CD sets only.