Weill embraced audio recording and broadcast media from the beginning of his career. This collection (Series 100-131) draws together a varied group of live and studio performances of his music, music of others, and recordings off the air. This sprawling category includes a range of media: audio files, CD’s, LP’s, 45 and 78 rpm discs, cassettes, open reel tapes, and DAT’s, even a few piano rolls. Commercial and non-commercial recordings alike are well-represented. Media in older formats, such as open-reel tapes and 45 and 78 rpm discs, were moved to the Yale University Music Library in 2011 for preservation; only a small portion of these recordings was digitized before the move. Playback equipment is available on-site for LP’s, cassettes, and CD’s.
In every medium, collecting emphasis falls on recordings of Weill’s music in the form of complete works; nearly every such commercial recording is available. The LP and CD collection also comprise cast recordings, historical recordings, soundtracks, and many jazz and popular recordings that may include only a single Weill song. Because a vast number of popular artists have included Weill on at least one album, our collection of this sort of recording makes no pretense to completeness. Such releases are chosen based on a number of factors, including prominence of the artist and repertory. Commercial recordings outnumber non-commercial, but the collection includes a number of archival recordings, primarily of performances. In recent years, more and more archival recordings have arrived in the form of audio files, which may be made available to researchers in some cases. Recordings of live performances, broadcasts, and symposia also appear in this group, mostly on cassette.
Among the LP’s, two collections are especially noteworthy, those of Lotte Lenya herself and of Henry Berman. Lenya’s collections of 45 and 78 rpm discs, commercial and non-commercial, are stored at Yale. As of June 2021, the Research Center has amassed over 1,500 commercial CD’s and about 500 non-commercial.