BEN BAGLEY’S KURT WEILL REVISITED
Music by Kurt Weill
Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, Fernay, Ira Gershwin, Yvette Guilbert, Langston Hughes, Alan Jay Lerner, and Ogden Nash
There are certain composers whose music never ages. Times and styles may change, but somehow certain music lives on because the voice of the composer somehow remains fresh and unique, seeming to defy time. Kurt Weill was one of those composers. He worked with extraordinary collaborators, including Bertolt Brecht, Maxwell Anderson, Langston Hughes, Ogden Nash, Ira Gershwin, Alan Jay Lerner, and produced such classics as The Threepenny Opera, Street Scene, One Touch of Venus, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Knickerbocker Holiday, Lady in the Dark, Lost in the Stars, and many others.
Ben Bagley’s Kurt Weill Revisited was one of the most interesting in his long series of Revisited albums. As always with this series, Ben unearthed some great gems and of course we don’t get any of the hits, which was never the point of these albums. He assembled a terrific cast for this one, including Paula Laurence, Ann Miller, John Reardon, Chita Rivera, Arthur Siegel, and Jo Sullivan, and Dennis Deal was responsible for the arrangements and orchestrations. The previous CD release was one of the few that did not have any extra material on it, so it was a fairly short run time of forty-three minutes. So, we decided to add our own bonus material. We have Lotte Lenya’s 1930 recording of “Alabama Song,” performed with The Three Admirals and conducted by Theo Mackeben and his Jazz Orchestra. It is nightmarish and wonderful. And the major bonus is a 1930 recording of selections from The Threepenny Opera in German with Lenya, Kurt Gerron, Willy Trenk-Trebitsch, Erich Ponto, Erika Helmke, with the Theo Mackeben and Lewis Ruth Band . These are historic recordings and have been cleaned up by mastering engineer James Nelson, and sound pretty amazing given their age. This all brings up the running time to close to seventy-five minutes.
And as with our other Bagley releases, we have spruced up the sound quite a bit, as the quality of the original LPs and their subsequent CD releases was never optimal, sound-wise. And, of course, the classic cover art is by the one and only Harvey Schmidt, whose paintings help make this series so unique. -KRITZERLAND
1. Songs from One Touch of Venus ~ Paula Laurence, Arthur Siegel, Chorus Vive la Difference, One Touch of Venus, That’s How Much I Love You, Very Very Very 2. This Time Next Year ~ Ann Miller 3. You Understand Me So ~ Chita Rivera 4. I Remember It Well ~ Jo Sullivan and John Reardon 5. Moon-faced, Starry-Eyed ~ Ann Miller6. Youkali Tango ~ Paula Laurence, Arthur Siegel, Chorus 7. Dr. Crippen ~ Chita Rivera and the Men 8. Italy in Technicolor ~ Jo Sullivan 9. Poor Mrs. Peachum ~ Paula Laurence 10. You Are Unforgettable ~Arthur Siegel 11. Love in the Mist ~ Jo Sullivan 12. Is It Him or Is It Me? ~ Ann Miller 13. Locker Room ~ John Reardon, Arthur Siegel, and the Men
Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, Fernay, Ira Gershwin, Yvette Guilbert, Langston Hughes, Alan Jay Lerner, and Ogden Nash Vocal and Musical Arrangements: Dennis Deal
14. Alabama Song Lotte Lenya (1930 recording)
The Threepenny Opera – German Radio Recording – 1930
15. Overture and Ballad of Mack the Knife 16. Pirate Jenny 17. Cannon Song 18. Love Song Barbara Song 20. First Threepenny Finale 21. Farewell 22. Pimp Ballad 23. Ballad of Pleasant Life 24. Jealousy Duet 25. Second Threepenny Finale 26. Song of Inadequacy 27. Ballad and Final Chorale
Music and Lyrics by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht