Kurt Weill: Lonely House (Laika Records)

February 26th 1933; the Burning of the Reichstag. Barely a month later, Kurt Weill, the only just recently celebrated composer of the “Threepenny Opera”, already the figure-head musician of the Entartete Kunst, (art banned as “Degenerate Art”), deeply wounded by the open slander that was to follow him even abroad, left his home-land, Germany, forever. One can only imagine how great the hurt must have been that it led him to turn his back entirely upon Germany, to the extent that he was never again to speak his mother-tongue.
Indeed, Kurt Weill did not remain speechless. With the full power and curiosity of a passionate artist, Weill sought new idioms, new musical languages and sounds. In Germany, from 1933 on, Kurt Weill’s new musical styles (first in France, then, from 1935 on, in America), were, then and after the war, barely noticed by the broader artistic community. In “Lonely House” Jutta Czurda and her team retrace these, in Germany still little known, new avenues of Weill’s, and, with tremendous delight in his music, encounter there the emotions of separation, home-sickness, sadness, nostalgia, and of loves great and small. This delight applies also to their devotion to new musical influences. Kurt Weill borrowed what he needed: from the tradition of French Chanson, from Jazz, from the Blues, American Opera and the Broadway Musical. Czurda/Beirach/Huebner/Huebner hold to the same wide variety of colours and joyfully create a picture of how Kurt Weill’s world (and, with respect, Lotte Lenya’s) might have been; their sorrows, their joys, their love. Not a literal picture, rather a musical perception, approached with great earnestness, with great pleasure and with great love. (Thomas Reher)