Swept Away with Weill
London's Continuum Ensemble Festival
Highlights "Lost Generation" of German Composers
Sleek, jazzy, and very modern: that was the music of 1920s Berlin and Vienna. Yet by 1934, many composers—including Weill—were forced into exile, the Nazi government having denounced them and banned their music. The Continuum Ensemble presents the “Swept Away” Festival at London’s Kings Place, 19-21 June, with programs of miniature opera, cabaret songs, and inventive chamber and orchestral music by Kurt Weill, Ernst Toch, and other composers of this lost generation.
Several Weill works will be featured in the Festival:
A series of talks on art, music, cinema, and cultural life; readings of poetry, drama, and fiction of the period; and a discussion of refugee artists in Europe today round out the Festival weekend.
- Vom Tod im Wald (Death in the Forest) and Mahagonny Songspiel will be performed in a program entitled “Opera in Miniature: Toch, Weill & Hindemith,” along with Hindemith’s There and Back and Toch’s Egon and Emilie. Philip Headlam, principal conductor and co-artistic director, leads The Continuum Ensemble and soloists. June 19.
- The BBC Singers join Philip Headlam and The Continuum Ensemble to perform Das Berliner Requiem, a cantata for tenor, baritone, three-part male chorus and wind orchestra. With its politically explosive text by Bertolt Brecht, Weill’s original version fell victim to German censorship. Also on the program are works by Toch, Ernst Krenek, and Stefan Wolpe. June 21, 3 pm.
- Hugo Ticciati plays Weill’s Violin Concerto, op. 12, on a program titled “Orchestral Reinventions” with three U.K. premieres of works by Toch. Philip Headlam conducts The Continuum Ensemble. June 21, 6:30 pm.
- The Festival concludes with an evening of witty and sophisticated songs from 1920s cabaret, revue, theatre, and film written by Weill, Mischa Spoliansky, Friedrich Hollander, Wilhelm Grosz, and Herbert Zipper. Soprano Anna Dennis and mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer are joined by Philip Headlam on piano. 21 June, 9 pm.
The Swept Away Festival is funded in part by The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc.
Meet Mackie in St. LouisNew Line Theatre has presented edgy and off-beat musicals in St. Louis since 1991, but never The Threepenny Opera. Artistic Director Scott Miller is about to change that, opening a 4-week run of the Weill-Brecht classic on 28 May. In his blog, Miller notes, “This is the oldest show New Line has ever done, and it’s also one of the most slyly potent. After all these years of reading about Threepenny, it is such an honor and a joy to finally work on it.” New Line has built its reputation on new musicals, especially ones that challenge audiences, and now it’s going back to the granddaddy of them all. Miller and the cast will present Marc Blitzstein’s English adaptation, which opened off-Broadway in 1954 and changed New York theater forever. Miller directs; Jeffrey carter conducts. Through 20 June.
Forbidden Music poster, Dusseldorf, 1938;
Upcoming Performances - Highlights
The Threepenny Opera
Scott Miller, director; Jeffrey Carter, conductor.
28 May - 20 June
Symphonic Nocturne from Lady in the Dark
William Eddins, conductor.
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Ansgar Weigner, director; Leo Siberski, conductor).
Catherine Larsen-Maguire, conductor; Mark Gothoni, violin.
Symphony No. 2
Joachim Hader, conductor.
Vom Tod im Wald; Mahagonny Songspiel; Berliner Requiem; Violin Concerto; Weill Songs (see above)
The Continuum Ensemble, London, UK
Philip Headlam, conductor.
Gaddes Festival Artists and Gerdine Young Artists with musicians of the St. Louis Symphony; Stephen Lord, conductor.
One Touch of Venus
Steven Daigle, director; J. Lynn Thompson, conductor
25 June – 8 August
The Seven Deadly Sins
Robert Moody, conductor; Storm Large, Anna I; Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra.