Kurt Weill’s work stands front and center in New York City during the first months of 2024. Carnegie Hall’s festival “Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice” includes a generous helping of the composer’s music. Among a host of events, performances of five important works by great artists stand out: Kleine Dreigroschenmusik by the Met Chamber Ensemble (22 January); Symphony No. 2 by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin (23 January); Symphony No. 1 by The Knights (29 February); Four Walt Whitman Songs by Justin Austin (5 March); and The Seven Deadly Sins (fifteen-player version) by Ensemble Modern, with HK Gruber and Wallis Giunta (12 April). A number of concerts in the festival are projected to include songs by Weill as well, including those of Ute Lemper, Meow Meow, Max Raabe and Palast Orchester, and the American Composers Orchestra. As a bonus, just before the festival opens, soprano Julia Bullock includes four Weill songs in her recital on 19 January.
Of its festival, Carnegie Hall writes: “From January through May 2024, as the centerpiece of its 2023–2024 season, Carnegie Hall presents Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice, an expansive citywide festival exploring one of the most complex and consequential chapters in modern history: Germany’s Weimar Republic of 1919–1933. Through 30 concerts and events at Carnegie Hall and 70+ multidisciplinary offerings at more than 50 leading cultural and academic institutions across New York City, the festival examines the arts and culture that flourished as artists sought bold avenues for creative expression in this increasingly traumatic time.”
Selected performances, in chronological order:
Julia Bullock in recital
Julia Bullock, Soprano / Bretton Brown, Piano
19 January 2024
Soprano Julia Bullock is widely known to have a special gift for interpreting Weill’s songs. She includes four on her Zankel Hall recital: “Complainte de la Seine”; “Das Lied von der Harten Nuss,” from Happy End; “The Princess of Pure Delight” from Lady in the Dark; and “Ballade vom ertrunkenen Mädchen,” from Das Berliner Requiem.
Met Chamber Ensemble
22 January 2024
A chamber ensemble handpicked from The Met Orchestra performs Kleine Dreigroschenmusik, Weill’s own instrumental arrangement of songs from Die Dreigroschenoper.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director
23 January 2024
Symphony No. 2 is riding a wave of recent performances in Europe and no less than three new commercial recordings in the past twenty months. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra in the work he has described as “a jewel from someone who completely mastered the symphonic world.” Listen to the Concert Live
Eric Jacobsen, Artistic Director and Conductor
Colin Jacobsen, Artistic Director and Violin
29 February 2024
Composed in 1921 but not premiered until after Weill’s death, Symphony No. 1 has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. Now it is being taken up by The Knights, a musically omnivorous chamber ensemble self-described as a “fellowship of adventurous musicians dedicated to transforming the orchestral experience.” The program also includes an arrangement of the “Alabama Song,” by the Knights’ own multifaceted violinist and singer-songwriter Christina Courtin.
Justin Austin in recital
Justin Austin, Baritone / Howard Watkins, Piano
5 March 2024
Four Walt Whitman Songs, Weill’s setting of war poems begun soon after the outbreak of World War Two, figures in this carefully crafted program by the rising star and “mellifluous baritone” Justin Austin. The artist writes of his recital, titled “Don’t Be Angry”: “Many musical performances provide escapism for people who want to temporarily forget about the problems of the world. I think that’s wonderful! My recital will not be one of those performances.”
HK Gruber, conductor; Wallis Giunta, mezzo soprano; amarcord, vocal ensemble
12 April 2024
In a dream team line-up, the long-established Weill partnership between HK Gruber and Germany’s Ensemble Modern is joined by Wallis Giunta, proven many times over as one of the great interpreters of The Seven Deadly Sins. Vocal ensemble amarcord travels from Germany as well to reprise its role as The Family in this New York premiere of the new fifteen-player version of the work prepared by Gruber and Christian Muthspiel.