Kurt Weill (1900-1950)

Between popular music and Jewish identity


Kurt Julian Weill is a German composer born in Dessau on March 2nd 1900 and dead in New York on April 3rd 1950.
Son of the cantor of Dessau’s synagogue Albert Weill, he does his first essays of composition in 1913.

Kurt Weill starts his opera projects in 1925. His first collaboration with Bertolt Brecht in 1927 (The Threepenny Opera) is determining for his future work.
He then creates a new form of popular entertainment : half way between theatre and opera, his music borrows to jazz and cabaret.

It’s a pivotal time for the composer : he collaborates with the Austrian soprano Lotte Lenya, who quickly becomes his muse and preferred performer. Now unseperable, the two get married and form a legendary couple.

In 1933, fleeing from Nazism, he settles down in Paris, before leaving for USA in 1935. A major work from the early times of exile is Der Weg des Verheissung/The Eternal Road, a biblical piece, that presents the history of the Jewish people.

He passes away on April 3rd 1950 in New York, while working on the musical Huckleberry Finn, based on Mark Twain’s book.

Read Kurt Weill’s biography
Browse our archives on Kurt Weill

Mack the knife :

Youkali by Kurt Weill performed by the Trio Fauve and Angèle Chemin :

Listen to

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  • Kiddush - Chizuk Amuno Choirs

  • Hatikva, hope reborn (EXTRAIT) - Astrith Baltsan

  • Ballade von ertrunkenen madchen - Lotte Lenya

  • September song - Emile Stern & son orchestre

  • Grosser Dankchoral (EXTRAIT) - Samuel Pisar

  • The Eternal Road, scène 20 (EXTRAIT) - Ian DeNolfo

  • I’m a stranger here myself (EXTRAIT) - Isabelle Georges

  • Denn wovon lebt der mensch (EXTRAIT) - Daniel Kahn

Lire tout

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