Love Song by Ethan Mordden
The Lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya

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Missing is a sense of what Weill and Lenya were like. To the extent that Weill is quoted...it is rarely to discuss his ideas about music...but rather to say how much he loathes various collaborators.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Noted historian of the Broadway musical chronicles the braided lives of two of the twentieth century's most influential artists


For the first time, Ethan Mordden chronicles the romance of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya in Love Song, a dual biography that unfolds against the background of the tumultuous twentieth century, scored to music from Weil's greatest triumphs: Knickerbocker Holiday, Lost in the Stars, Lady in the Dark, Happy End, One Touch of Venus and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The romance of Weill, the Jewish cantor's son, and Lenya, the Viennese coachman's daughter, changed the history of Western music. With Bertolt Brecht, they created one of the definitive works of the twentieth century, The Threepenny Opera, a smash that would live on in musical theatre history. Weill, the jazz Mozart, was the creator whose work is backstage, unseen. Lenya, his epic-theatre femme fatale, was the performer who put the work into view. They heard the same unique music, but he gave it form while she gave it life. Love Song is ultimately the story of a great romance scored to some of the twentieth century's greatest music.

 

About Ethan Mordden

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Ethan Mordden's work has appeared in The New Yorker (three short stories, A Critic At Large features, and book review leads), The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. His Christopher Street column, Is There a Book In This?, gave birth to the five volumes of gay stories known as the Buddies series, about a "family" of friends enjoying life and love in Manhattan. Mordden's non-fiction includes books on New York cultural history (The Guest List: How Manhattan Defined American Sophistication), opera, Hollywood, and Broadway, including a six-volume history of the American musical.
 
Published October 16, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 349 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Love Song
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Allan Kozinn on Jan 04 2013

Missing is a sense of what Weill and Lenya were like. To the extent that Weill is quoted...it is rarely to discuss his ideas about music...but rather to say how much he loathes various collaborators.

Read Full Review of Love Song: The Lives of Kurt ... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Joseph Horowitz on Oct 12 2012

Mr. Mordden's admiration for Weill's Broadway fare extends to such rarities as the operetta "The Firebrand of Florence"...which casts the 16th-century sculptor Benvenuto Cellini as a swaggering baritone.

Read Full Review of Love Song: The Lives of Kurt ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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