Friday, October 19, 2012

Kurt Weill: Music for Brecht Lovers

Kurt Weill via

The handsome fella with the beautiful eyewear above is Kurt Weill– the German composer and Bertolt Brecht collaborator. Weill was born and worked in Germany, fleeing in 1935 to come to New York City and escape Nazi prosecution. He was a socialist and firmly believed that music composition had to serve social purpose.

His most famous work is The Threepenny Opera: a musical that presents a Marxist critique of capitalism and co-written with Bertolt Brecht. Who is the bigger thief, they ask, the one who robs a bank or the one who founds it. The musical composition is typically performed by small ensembles and is highly influenced by jazz. In fact, several famous jazz songs have emerged from The Threepenny Opera, most notably Mack The Knife (covered by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra) and Pirate Jenny (my favorite version of it is by Nina Simone). It really is a very special piece.

If you are in Memphis, you are in luck. The Russian Cultural Center at 509 S. Main Street is hosting Little Threepenny Music for Wind Ensemble tomorrow night at 5:00PM. The performance is the second in the Center's "Music in Theater" series and will be presented by the Memphis Occasional Orchestra and Nadezhda Potemkina (music director and conductor). I would love it if you could make it. I am a big supporter of the Center and Kyle and I will be there.

If you are not anywhere near Memphis... I hope to have given you a couple of ideas of things to hear and things to read over the weekend.

Stay warm! Stay inspired.


  1. Love Kurt Weill. Have you heard Ute Lemper singing his songs? Amazing.

    1. I had not but I basically just spent my entire morning watching YouTube videos of her. THANK YOU! Love her! What an incredible voice and amazing presence!

      The concert we are going to is by a classical ensemble. I am very curious!

    2. You are welcome :) have fun!