Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Nick Cave performing " Mack the Knife " from Kurt Weill's The Three Penny Opera in the documentary about Kurt Weill " SEPTEMBER SONGS ".

" I have never acknowledged the difference between serious music and light music. There is only good music and bad music. "
German composer Kurt Weill

Below Stan Ridgway performs " Cannon Song " from The Three Penny Opera :

for more about Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht see the excellent THE THREE PENNY OPERA website:

" A milestone of 20th century musical theater, The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) rolls on unstoppably into the 21st. In their opera "by and for beggars," composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) transformed saccharine, old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, incorporating a sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Weill's acid harmonies and Brecht's biting texts created a revolutionary new musical theater that inspired such subsequent hits as Cabaret, Chicago, and Urinetown. The show's opening number, "Mack the Knife," became one of the top popular songs of the century."

" The opening night audience at Berlin's Theater am Schiffbauerdamm didn't quite know what to expect when the curtain rose on The Threepenny Opera on August 31, 1928, but after the first few musical numbers they began to cheer and call for encores. The show was a brilliant hit, and Threepenny-fever spread throughout Europe, generating forty-six stage productions of the work in the first year after the Berlin premiere. In 1931, a film version directed by G.W. Pabst entitled Die 3-Groschenoper opened, making an international star of Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya, who repeated her portrayal of Jenny Diver from the show's first production. "

making of the opera:

" Early in 1928, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht were both regarded as “enfants terribles” in the world of Weimar culture. They had one obscure collaboration under their belt, Weill’s setting of five of Brecht’s poems about an imaginary city called Mahagonny, and they were already hard at work on the full-length Mahagonny opera, which would cause a scandal and lead to Nazi riots in 1930. But Brecht was also toying with the famous Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, from 1728, which had been revived in London in 1920 and run for years. Elisabeth Hauptmann, Brecht’s assistant and collaborator, introduced him to the piece and translated the English libretto into German. "

Anyway the point is that the social & political satire of Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht is still relevant given our present condition & predicament. With an on-going questionable war in Iraq which is just a new form of Colonialism & an extension of the Christian Crusade which has never really ended . As for political corruption this is self-evident as are the ways in which the laws of our land are applied against the common man while the crimes of the rich & powerful & their Quisling's go unpunished . Over & over the Neocons remind us that this elite class who are our 'betters' are superiour to the rest of us & so the ordinary laws & rules cannot be applied to them.

And here is a video of William S. Burroughs reciting Kurt Weill piece " What Keeps Mankind Alive"

Take care,

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