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