This recording follows the three volumes of Antony Beaumont’s acclaimed Zemlinsky survey. Beaumont is widely regarded as a world-class authority on the music of this period.
This is the first recording of Symphony No.2 to include Weill’s percussion parts.
Although known predominantly for his stage works, Kurt Weill also wrote a quantity of orchestral music. Unfortunately only two of his four symphonic scores survive – Symphonies Nos 1 and 2 which are recorded here by The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, conducted by Antony Beaumont. These highly eclectic symphonies are fascinating, exuding a feeling of the period during which they were written, the years between 1921 and 1934, and exploring a sound world that may also be experienced in Weill’s theatre works.
The First symphony was a student piece written in Berlin as Weill was entering the composition class of Busoni. However, the influences were mainly from Mahler and Schoenberg, and youthful urgency and imagination are the work’s most characteristic features. In one continuous movement, the symphony mixes bold, exciting, expressionist dissonance with sinuous lyricism. Symphony No. 2 is a more mature work, with three colourful and effective movements that are nearer the idiom of Shostakovich and Kabalevsky. Behind the characteristic ostinatos and tuneful melodies there is an undertone of seriousness.
To the two symphonies the disc adds Quodlibet, a work which inhabits a contrasting world of light and shade. Drawing on music written for a children’s dance-pantomime and noticeably influenced by Busoni, Quodlibet is a light-hearted work, describing a childhood world of frightening dreams and joyful fantasy. All the music on this disc has been recorded in corrected readings, based on the original manuscript sources (courtesy of the Kurt Weill Foundation, New York).
Reviews"This disc is marked by a sense of urgency and top-quality playing. Beaumont and the musicians of Bremen have Symphony No. 1 (1920) tossing and turning. Adverse criticism both kept it from view until a posthumous premiere in 1957 and turned Weill towards populism and the Song Symphony (1924) is a bridge work between the contrasting symphonies that combines intellectual harmonic rigor, dancing rhythms and juvenile melodic appeal. The performers give a freshly inspiring account of this rarely heard but wonderfully entertaining work." - The Times