Kurt Weill’s and Bertolt Brecht’s Der Lindberghflug (also Der Ozeanflug / The Flight across the Ocean) was premièred 85 years ago, on 27 July 1929 at the Kurhaus Baden-Baden.
Aged just 26, Kurt Weill realised that radio offered the potential for a new genre of art. Subtitled ‘Radiolehrstück’ (teaching piece for radio), Der Lindberghflug was a product of this idea. It consists of 16 short sections, the shortest lasting barely a minute and the longest four minutes. The rapid alternation of soloists (narrator, tenor, baritone, bass), choir passages and instrumental interludes, as well as of styles – recitative, ‘sprechgesang’ (speech-song), baroque-style passages for choir, Weill’s typical bitter-sweet melodies – creates immense dramatic tension. It is not surprising that Weill also envisaged the work for stage.