Kurt Weill’s Symphony No. 1 will be featured in Carnegie Hall’s innovative Spring for Music Festival, which each year invites six North American orchestras to New York to perform “creative, stimulating, and adventurous programs” at Carnegie Hall. On May 9, 2012, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will perform a program that explores the influences and vision of composer and teacher Ferruccio Busoni, with whom Weill studied in Berlin in the early 1920s. Music Director Jacques Lacombe conducts Weill’s Symphony No. 1 alongside works by Busoni and Edgard Varèse. The performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc.
Weill wrote his one-movement symphony in 1921 while a student in Busoni’s master class, inspired by an expressionist-pacifist play by socialist playwright Johannes Becher, entitled Workers, Peasants, Soldiers: A People’s Awakening to God. The score was not performed or published and disappeared when Weill fled Germany in 1933. Many years later, however, it resurfaced in an Italian convent and had its posthumous premiere in Hamburg in 1957.
“The increasingly apparent and impressive ability of the new conductor [Lacombe] and the orchestra to pull off a kind of controlled chaos, where ferocity and clarity combine . . . was on full display in Kurt Weill’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Berliner.'”
—New Jersey Star Ledger, 2010
Program note from New Jersey Symphony
Background information from New Jersey Symphony
Learn more about Symphony No. 1