“Popular Adaptations, 1927-1950”

Collectors of sheet music, lovers of popular song, and scholars of pop music and musical theater will be fascinated by the latest volume in the Kurt Weill Edition. Thanks to a sustained, multiyear search, every known popular adaptation of Weill’s music published during his lifetime is included in a full-color gallery of covers and its catalogue: workers’ choruses, virtuosic violin showpieces, sheet music, vocal gems and selections, polyglot songbooks, newspaper supplements, anthologies, dance band and choral arrangements. Particularly prone to physical deterioration and loss over time, some of these items have apparently survived only as unica. The 176 covers tell a colorful tale all on their own, and each of the 38 black-and-white facsimiles is printed at full size and in original format. A magisterial essay by Charles Hamm, one of the foremost scholars of popular music in the 20th century, accompanies the illustrations and discusses each facsimile in detail. As none of Weill’s theatrical works were available in full score, the publication is an essential volume in documenting how Weill’s music was transmitted and received during his lifetime.

Kurt Weill Edition (Series IV, vol. 2): “Popular Adaptations, 1927-1950,” edited by Charles Hamm, Elmar Juchem and Kim H. Kowalke (New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music / European American Music Corporation, 2009), 326 pp. $225 ($175 for subscribers).

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