OP0051. DIE BÜRGSCHAFT (Weill), recorded 1999, w.Julius Rudel Cond.Spoleto Festival USA Ensemble; Frederick Burchinal, Katherine Ciesinski, Lawrence Craig, John Daniecki, Enrico Di Giuseppe, Mark Duffin, Peter Lurie, Ann Panagulias, Herbert Perry, Joel Sorensen, Margaret Thompson, Dale Travis, etc. (Ho9lland) 2-EMI 27809, Slipcase Edition w.Elaborate Libretto-Brochure. Final Sealed Copy! - 724355697622
“Best known for his DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER (THE THREEPENNY OPERA), Kurt Weill was one of the most significant influences in American musical theater from the 1930s to the 1950s. At the time of his emigration from Germany in 1933, Weill was regarded as one of the finest Post-War composers, having already written THE THREEPENNY OPERA, and THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY, which continue to be his most frequently-performed works (along with STREET SCENE). His style, an exciting fusion of elements from many genres (especially Jazz), would forge a path for future eclectics, and show an affinity with composers, like George Gershwin, who sought to blur the boundaries between the worlds of opera and Broadway--the rarified and the popular.
DIE BÜRGSCHAFT (THE PLEDGE) dates from the years immediately prior to Weill's emigration, and it begs the question of what compositional path he might have followed had he remained in Europe for the rest of his career. An opera of great ambition and scope, it is far darker in tone than his earlier pieces, and it grapples with the operatic medium in earnest. There is a clear attempt to create large-scale musico-dramatic forms that far outpace his more typical ‘number operas’ (works divided cleanly between sections of music and sections of dialogue), and his use of irony and satire are minimal. This is not the same Weill as seen in his later works for Broadway.
The story of DIE BURGSCHAFT, in which a money-driven dictatorship comes to power, bringing with it inevitable greed and destruction, contains a number of parallels to the then-imminent rise of Nazism, but it serves as a broader social parable dealing with man's role in society. It comes from Johann Gottfried Herder's fable DER AFRIKANISCHE RECHTSPRUCH (THE AFRICAN VERDICT), as adapted by librettist Caspar Neher. This marks a departure for Weill, who for the period of 1927-1930 had collaborated intensely with playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht. Neher had worked as a stage designer on several of Weill's previous productions, but this marked his first foray into dramatic writing--an effort of inconsistent and debatable quality. Weill himself acknowledged flaws in the libretto, which he attempted to address in later revisions. DIE BURGSCHAFT premiered on 10 March, 1932, at the Berlin Städtische Oper.”