June 28, 2011: Seventy-three years after its Broadway premiere, Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's Knickerbocker Holiday can finally be heard in its first full recording, released on CD by Ghostlight Records on June 28, 2011. Although dozens of popular artists have recorded the show's most famous hit, "September Song," the only commercial recording of the show previously available was limited to excerpts from a 1945 radio broadcast featuring Walter Huston, Ray Middleton, and Harry Meehan, conducted by Maurice Abravanel.
Now, listeners can hear the score in its entirety, as performed by the Collegiate Chorale, the American Symphony Orchestra, and a cast of Broadway stars in the leading roles, including Victor Garber as Stuyvesant, Ben Davis as Brom, Kelli O'Hara as Tina, Bryce Pinkham as Washington Irving, David Garrison as Tienhoven, and Christopher Fitzgerald as Tenpin. Other featured performers include Michael McCormick, Brad Oscar, Steve Rosen, Brooks Ashmanskas, Jeff Blumenkrantz, and Orville Mendoza. Directed by Ted Sperling and conducted by James Bagwell, Knickerbocker Holiday was recorded live at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City on January 25 and 26, 2011.
"Much of the breezy score for Knickerbocker Holiday . . . effervesces like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta," wrote Stephen Holden in the New York Times after the January concert. Erik Haagensen of Back Stage described Weill's score as "a fascinating mixture of operetta choruses, peppy vaudeville turns, gorgeous Broadway ballads, and Germanic-flavored strains, all orchestrated brilliantly by the composer himself."
With book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson and music by Weill, Knickerbocker Holiday premiered on Broadway on October 19, 1938, starring Walter Huston as Peter Stuyvesant, and ran for 168 performances. Based on Washington Irving's A History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker, the musical is set in 17th-century Manhattan, where a roguish Dutch council awaits the arrival of their new governor, Peter Stuyvesant. A young independent thinker named Brom, who happens to be in love with Stuyvesant's intended, challenges Stuyvesant's autocracy, and their contest of wills creates a broadly comic, satirical fable pitting totalitarianism against democracy. As with much of Weill's work, Knickerbocker Holiday defies the usual categories, blending American popular music with the European operetta traditions of Offenbach and Gilbert & Sullivan. The score yielded the popular standards "It Never Was You" and "September Song."
The Collegiate Chorale performances and recording of Knickerbocker Holiday were sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. Additional support for the recording was provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
For a complete track list and to order, visit http://sh-k-boom.com/knickerbockerholiday.shtml.
If you'd like more information about this topic, please contact Kate Chisholm at the Kurt Weill Foundation: (212) 505-5240 or email@example.com.