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Notable Books

Kurt Weill Bibliography

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Johnny Johnson, ed. Tim Carter. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; European American Music, 2012. Kurt Weill Edition, Series I, Volume 13. 344, 112 p. ISBN: 9780913574690. Kurt Weill's first Broadway show, produced by the Group Theatre and populated by a host of future stars in its original production, was a satirical anti-war show that scholars still struggle to categorize. Tim Carter's prodigious research and attention to detail have produced a carefully restored text that hews to the authors' original conception, embodied in two stagings by the Federal Theatre Project in 1937. The quirky but powerful score now has a fully worked-out performing edition which will encourage directors to bring this landmark of the 1936-37 season back to the boards, where its theme and message resonate as much today as back then.

Stages of Reform

Weill's Musical Theater: Stages of Reform, by Stephen Hinton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. 569 p. ISBN: 9780520271777. The most comprehensive and satisfying overview yet of Weill's works for the stage, written by renowned scholar Stephen Hinton, whose engagement with Weill has lasted decades and resulted in several essential volumes, most notably the critical edition of the score and text of Die Dreigroschenoper. His approach encompasses all of Weill's theater works, comparing them to each other while situating them within several larger contexts, lending a perspective that allows Hinton to trace continuities in Weill's practice from one end of his career to the other and discover his theatrical innovations. With each chapter covering a genre or type of stage work, the book provides a new framework for Weill studies, setting old questions to rest while raising new ones. A sine qua non for the Weill scholar.


Music with Solo Violin, ed. Andreas Eichhorn. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; European American Music, 2010. Kurt Weill Edition, Series II, Volume 2. 246, 71 p. ISBN: 9780913574683. Weill's Violin Concerto and the cantata, Der neue Orpheus, on a text by Iwan Goll, are now available in complete critical editions of the full scores. These works both date from the mid-1920s as Weill was beginning to seek a new voice. The Concerto, with the solo violin set against a wind orchestra (plus four double basses), shows not only imaginative scoring but a real flair for getting the most out of the violin as well. Weill's only concerto has earned the devotion of violinists, as attested by numerous recordings. Der neue Orpheus, for soprano, solo violin, and orchestra, was Weill's setting of the story of Orpheus adrift in modern Europe, struggling with a philistine culture. Both works have been edited by noted scholar Andreas Eichhorn, working from original manuscripts and performing materials, including some discovered in the course of work on this volume. Issued with a companion critical report listing and explaining editorial decisions.


Popular Adaptations, 1927-1950, ed. Charles Hamm, Elmar Juchem and Kim H. Kowalke. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; European American Music, 2009. Kurt Weill Edition, Series IV, Volume 2. 320 p. ISBN: 9780913574676. A complete catalogue of sheet music and arrangements published during Weill's lifetime, this volume includes full-color reproductions of the covers of every popular edition of a Weill song or collection, along with complete, full-size b&w facsimiles of about forty selected songs. The editors' essay provides a thorough history of the reception and exploitation of Weill's works, giving a completely new perspective on Weill's status as a composer of popular music and relations between composers and publishers. This unprecedented collection represents the results of years of combing archives and private collections for sheet music editions and the most scrupulous attention to detail, blazing a trail for others to follow.


Zaubernacht, ed. Elmar Juchem and Andrew Kuster. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; European American Music, 2008. Kurt Weill Edition, Series I, Volume 0. 224, 72 p. ISBN: 9780913574652. Long thought to be lost, Weill's original orchestration of this children's pantomime, his first stage work, was discovered at Yale University in 2006. Managing Editor Elmar Juchem and Staff Editor Andrew Kuster of the Kurt Weill Edition have painstakingly surveyed the newly discovered materials to prepare a definitive score of this nearly forgotten work, with extensive editorial notes. For the introductory essay, Juchem unearthed many new documents and press reports from archives in Berlin, augmenting our knowledge of Weill's beginnings as a composer. A remarkable addition to the Weill canon.


Der Protagonist, ed. Gunther Diehl and Jürgen Selk. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; European American Music, 2006. Kurt Weill Edition, Series I, Volume 1. 377, 53 p. ISBN: 0913574643. The complete orchestral score and libretto (by celebrated playwright Georg Kaiser) of Weill's first opera, premiered in 1926. With this work, Weill embarked on his lifelong project of transforming opera and musical theater and established his position as one of Germany's leading young composers in the revelatory Weimar years. The volume includes a detailed introductory essay and extensive critical notes on sources and editorial decisions.

Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical

Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical, by bruce d. mcclung. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 . 274 p. ISBN: 0195120124. Beginning with the roots of this revolutionary Broadway show through its composition, tryouts, Broadway run, and road tour, mcclung's exhaustive research supports a detailed yet smoothly flowing narrative. The script, score, and lyrics are all fully discussed and analyzed. The chapter on cultural context allows today's readers to appreciate how Lady was perceived in its time and how it helped to shape American culture, while the discussion of revivals shows that the show lives on as more than an intriguing artifact of Broadway history. Richly illustrated.

Libretto im Progress: Brechts und Weills Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny aus textgeschichtlicher Sicht

Libretto im Progress: Brechts und Weills Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny aus textgeschichtlicher Sicht, by Esbjörn Nyström. Bern: Peter Lang, 2005 . 709 p. (Arbeiten zur Editionswissenschaft, Bd. 6) ISBN: 3039104799. A meticulous and exhaustive history and analysis of the libretto of Weill's most frequently performed opera. Drawing on extensive archival research, Nyström compiles and compares fragments and complete versions of the libretto in order to establish a "genealogy" of the text. This endeavor sheds light on the genesis, early performances, and reception history of the work and provides helpful background to an understanding of some of its problematic scenes. Detailed philological diagrams are included.


Chamber Music, ed. Wolfgang Rathert and Jürgen Selk. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; Miami: European American Music, 2004. Kurt Weill Edition, Series II, Volume 1. 188, 92 p. ISBN: 0913574635. Authoritative edition of Weill's five chamber works: the String Quartet in B Minor, the Sonata for Cello and Piano, the String Quartet no. 1, op. 8 (with two discarded movements included as a separate work), Frauentanz, and the song "Ick sitze da--un' esse Klops." Critical notes and commentary in a separate volume. Weill's early compositions shed new light on his training and in some cases foreshadow his later development as a theater composer. Scrupulously edited from original manuscript sources.

Dialog der Künste: Die Zusammenarbeit von Kurt Weill & Yvan Goll

Dialog der Künste: Die Zusammenarbeit von Kurt Weill & Yvan Goll, by Ricarda Wackers. Münster: Waxmann, 2004. 326 p. ISBN: 3830913699. Groundbreaking, thoroughgoing study of Weill's work with the poet and dramatist Yvan Goll. Wackers's research into Goll's life and work helps to recover the reputation of this important artist, and her intensive treatment of his collaboration with Weill makes for new insights into Weill's development during the crucial period of the mid-1920's. The book contributes detailed studies of two neglected works, Der neue Orpheus and Royal Palace.

Unsung Weill

Unsung Weill, ed. Elmar Juchem. Miami: European American Music, 2002. 95 p. ISBN: 0913574953. Twenty-two songs cut from Weill's Broadway shows or film scores, for voice and piano with chord symbols. The scores have been scrupulously selected and edited from Weill's manuscripts to form a treasury of largely unknown but thoroughly rewarding songs. Lyricists include Maxwell Anderson, Sam Coslow, Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Langston Hughes, Alan Jay Lerner, Ogden Nash, and Ann Ronell. The editor's introductory essay and full-page portraits of the artists make it more than just a songbook. Click here for a list of songs.

Amerikanismus, Americanism, Weill

Amerikanismus, Americanism, Weill, edited by Hermann Danuser and Hermann Gottschewski. Schliengen: Edition Argus, 2003. 330 p. ISBN: 3931264238. A collection of essays by distinguished scholars from the U.S. and Europe, this book places Kurt Weill's life and career in context by exploring the influence of American culture in Weimar Germany and the ways in which the arts (particularly music and theater) formed and were formed by societies on both sides of the Atlantic. Against this rich background, Weill's prolific career takes a new shape, and the complexities of his relationship with the United States, before and after he moved there, come into sharper focus. Essays in German and English drawn from a symposium held in Berlin during Weill's centenary celebrations in March 2000.

Kurt Weill. Briefwechsel mit der Universal Edition

Kurt Weill. Briefwechsel mit der Universal Edition, selected and edited by Nils Grosch. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2002. 526 p. ISBN: 3476018385. Nearly 700 letters between Weill and his publisher from 1924 through 1933 provide a detailed "insider's" view of the ups and downs of the first ten years of Weill's career. No more comprehensive source exists for understanding the roles of Weill and Universal Edition in the genesis, development, and early performances of such works as Die Dreigroschenoper, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, and Die Bürgschaft. A selection of letters from 1934-1950 is also included. Compiled by one of Germany's leading authorities on Weill, this source is an indispensable reference for scholars and fans alike.

The Firebrand of Florence

The Firebrand of Florence, ed. Joel Galand. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; Miami: European American Music, 2002. Kurt Weill Edition, Series I, Volume 18. 1008, 112 p. ISBN: 0913574627. A two-volume critical edition of the complete score and text, accompanied by a "Critical Report," a detailed account of editorial decisions and other information. This edition presents a nearly forgotten venture into the field of American operetta with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and one of Weill's most lavish and intricate scores. Firebrand ran briefly on Broadway in 1945 without success. Although it has languished for decades, recent performances and a forthcoming recording indicate renewed interest in the work.

Kurt Weill on Stage

Kurt Weill on Stage: From Berlin to Broadway, by Foster Hirsch. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. 403 p. ISBN: 0375403752. A detailed examination of Weill's stage works, his most enduring musical legacy. Hirsch draws on interviews and archival research for this study, which seeks to demonstrate the continuities in Weill's oeuvre. The book devotes special attention to the Broadway musicals in their historical and theatrical context, talks about major revivals, and discusses Weill's influence on the American theater.

Kurt Weill: A Life in Pictures and Documents Kurt Weill: A Life in Pictures and Documents

Kurt Weill: A Life in Pictures and Documents, by David Farneth with Elmar Juchem and Dave Stein. New York: Overlook Press, 2000. 312 p. ISBN: 0879517212. (German edition: Kurt Weill: Ein Leben in Bildern und Dokumenten, trans. Elmar Juchem. Berlin: Ullstein, 2000. 320 p. ISBN: 389834004x.) With a focus on Weill's musical development and works for the stage, this book attempts a complete survey of Weill's life, largely in his own words. Drawing on letters, documents, published articles, and interviews, the editors have assembled a chronological record from childhood through Weill's untimely death at the age of fifty. Over 900 illustrations.

Briefe an die Familie (1914-1950)

Briefe an die Familie (1914-1950), ed. Lys Symonette and Elmar Juchem with Jürgen Schebera. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2001. 448 p. (Veröffentlichungen der Kurt-Weill-Gesellschaft Dessau, Band 3) ISBN: 3476452441. Carefully annotated transcriptions of some 253 letters, mostly from Weill to members of his family, particularly his brother Hans. The bulk of the letters date from 1917-1920, and they provide insights into Weill's early musical development, his schooling in Dessau, his first studies at the Berlin Musikhochschule with Engelbert Humperdinck, and his brief tenure as a conductor in Lüdenscheid. Furthermore, the correspondence reflects a portion of world history, commenting on events of World War I and the November Revolution which Weill witnessed in Berlin; later letters discuss life in exile and World War II from an American perspective. Last but not least, the letters offer important insights into a lost part of German-Jewish culture.

Kurt Weill Songs: A Centennial Anthology, vols. 1-2 Kurt Weill Songs: A Centennial Anthology, vols. 1-2

Kurt Weill Songs: A Centennial Anthology, vols. 1-2. Miami: Warner Bros., 1999. 256, 280 p. ISBN: 0769290450 (vol. 1), 0769290469 (vol. 2). A total of 118 songs are gathered into this two-volume set, representing every song by Weill published individually (as sheet music or as part of a sheet music album) during his life. Many favorites from Die Dreigroschenoper, Happy End, Lady in the Dark, etc. are included, along with several hard-to-find songs from The Eternal Road, Der Silbersee, Love Life, Where Do We Go from Here?, among others. An essential resource.

Kurt Weill: Musik und musikalisches Theater: Gesammelte Schriften mit einer Auswahl von Gespr?§chen und Interviews

Kurt Weill: Musik und musikalisches Theater: Gesammelte Schriften mit einer Auswahl von Gesprächen und Interviews, hrsg. von Stephen Hinton und Jürgen Schebera unter Mitwirkung von Elmar Juchem. Mainz: Schott, 2000. 571 p. ISBN: 3795704235. In German. A revised and enlarged edition of Weill's collected writings--including a generous sampling of his music criticism from the 1920s, discussions of his own works, and theoretical articles on music and theater. Accompanied by a CD featuring Weill speaking and singing, including the first release of his radio interviews.

Speak Low (When You Speak Love) Speak Low

Speak Low (When You Speak Love): The Letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, edited and translated by Lys Symonette and Kim H. Kowalke. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. 554 p. ISBN: 0520078535. A German edition, Sprich leise wenn Du Liebe sagst (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1998) is also available. (Roughly half of the 400 or so letters were originally written in German, the other half in English.)

Kurt Weill und Maxwell Anderson: Neue Wege zu einem amerikanischen Musiktheater, 1938-1950

Kurt Weill und Maxwell Anderson: Neue Wege zu einem amerikanischen Musiktheater, 1938-1950, by Elmar Juchem. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 2000. 410 p. (Veröffentlichungen der Kurt-Weill-Gesellschaft Dessau, Band 4) ISBN: 3476452433. A detailed study of the collaboration of Weill and his best friend, playwright Maxwell Anderson. The team produced two Broadway musicals along with several shorter works, and they had begun a musical based on Huckleberry Finn when Weill died. This landmark study carefully documents their work with scrupulous attention to its relation to the American theater of the time.

DISCLAIMER: These books are listed purely as a service to users of the Kurt Weill web site. The fact that they are listed on this page does not imply endorsement or approval by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.