Singers around the world have a hard time resisting Weill’s allure, and a typical year sees one or two all-Weill CD’s. Notables from the past include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ute Lemper, Max Raabe, Angelina Réaux, Julie Wilson; opera singers Teresa Stratas and Angela Denoke have issued memorable recordings. So far in 2017, we have two noteworthy discs, both released in the first half of the year. What will the second half bring?
Wanted: Songs of Kurt Weill (Supraphon SU 4226-2): Star mezzo-soprano Dagmar Pecková, whose résumé includes a turn as Jenny in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny in Stuttgart (1992) and numerous recordings, has created her own Weill program, which she has performed extensively in Prague and committed to disc. The track list includes five songs from Die Dreigroschenoper but dips into Weill’s French and American compositions as well. Pianist and arranger Jan Kučera anchors her accompanying ensembles, the Epoque Quartet and Orchestra and Miroslav Hloucal Jazz Band.
Complete track list and further information
Thousands of Miles (Alpha Classics 272): Young but rapidly forging a distinguished career, Kate Lindsey honors other composers forced to emigrate to the U.S. but concentrates on Weill with fourteen songs (some formed into medleys), along with two each from Korngold, Alma Mahler, and Zemlinsky. Thousands of Miles leans heavily on the American works, with three selections from Lost in the Stars (how often does a singer offer “Thousands of Miles” and “Big Mole” on the same disc?) and two from Street Scene. She collaborates with jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon.
A third entry in the Weill CD sweepstakes has just come out in the form of Kurt Weill: A Portrait from Berlin to New York (Sterling CDA 1820/1821-2), with a group of singers led by tenor Torsten Mossberg, accompanied by an ensemble led by pianist Anders Karlqvist. Though Mossberg is not as accomplished a performer as Pecková or Lindsey, the 2-CD set ranges engagingly across Weill’s catalogue from Die Dreigroschenoper to Lost in the Stars and makes for a welcome contribution to the discography from Sweden.
And yet another! This one a brand-new disc from old Weill hand Bremner Duthie, who notes, “For almost 20 years, I’ve sung Kurt Weill’s songs in every kind of venue: in lovely concert halls and in dark, dilapidated saloons, and I’ve watched audiences fall in love with Weill’s dark, sensual vision of the world. And after all these years, I’m still moon-faced and starry-eyed for these songs.” Sure enough, that’s the title, Bremner Sings Kurt Weill, Vol. 2: Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed. He works with Scots jazz pianist David Patrick and other artists in renditions of fourteen Weill favorites.
More information and audio clips