Skip to content

Brecht and Weill

At first thought it might seem strange that an English woman living in Belgium should be singing the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.  In fact, I have been mad about Brecht ever since studying “Mutter Courage” for A-level German at school.  In Kurt Weill he found the perfect composer for his ideas.

Anna is the central character of the sung ballet “The Seven Deadly Sins“.  She appears as a split personality : her practical self is played by a singer, the beautiful, artistic side by a dancer.

The story, a biting satire on capitalism, tells of how Anna goes to the big city to make her fortune.  At every turn, her practical, materialistic side persuades her artistic side to give up all genuine, valuable emotions until by the end everything bows to the accumulation of wealth.

What attracts me about this piece?

  • The words and ideas of Brecht are hard-hitting and original.
  • The text is also very witty.  Brecht takes the concept of the seven deadly sins (pride, envy etc.) and twists it so that each time a good, worthy quality becomes the ‘sin’.  So ‘pride’ becomes not being prepared to work as a half-clad dancer in a sleazy nightclub, and ‘lust’ is wanting to sleep with the penniless man whom one adores rather than the sugar-daddy who will pay the bills…
  • Weill’s music fits Brecht’s texts enormously well.  The black humour of the words pervades the musical ideas which are often highly imaginative, even zany.  In the original scoring the family is a male ‘barbershop’ style quartet, the greedy mother is sung by a bass.

For more information on this exceptional piece you can visit the sites of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association or the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *