Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"...Miss Lenya once again proves how great is the power of sheer artistry...Those who love Mr. Weill's Broadway songs and admire artistry in any field will want this record." -High Fidelity
According to the usual view, Kurt Weill had a double career - first composing provocative theatrical collaborations with Brecht in Weimar Germany, later writing for commercial Broadway stages. The continuities before and after 1935 are equally striking, however. Chief among them was his wife, Lotte Lenya, the foremost interpreter of his music, who single-handedly passed her style down to singers who have championed Weill more recently, notably Ute Lemper. Of course, another continuity is Weill's always-remarkable way with a tune, and this disc features Lenya in some of the best-loved songs from their American years - even if you've never heard of Weill, 'September Song' will be familiar - along with some lesser-known gems.
Recorded in the late 1950s, Lenya's voice is actually less gruff and declamatory, more of an actual 'singing voice' in these American songs than in Weill's German songs. One thing Lenya could never do was swing - a rehearsal excerpt here features Louis Armstrong trying to teach her how - but the originality and authenticity of her style more than make up for that. Among the bonuses on this re-issue are some of the post-Weill songs best suited to Lenya: excerpts from Kander and Ebb's 'Cabaret,' indebted equally to Weill's German and American styles.
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