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Kurt Weill: He who says yes (The Yes-Sayer)

  • School opera in 2 acts (1930)
  • 1 0 1 0 - 0 0 0 0 - perc(2), harm, plucked instr, pno(2), alto sax, vln.I, vln.II, vc, cb
  • Duration: 35’
  • Instrumentation details:
    flute (ad lib.)
    clarinet in Bb (ad lib.)
    alto saxophone in Eb (ad lib.)
    1st piano
    2nd piano
    harmonium
    percussion (ad lib.)
    plucked instrument ad lib. (guitar, bjo, lute)
    violin I
    violin II
    violoncello
    contrabass
  • Choir: SATB
  • Composer: Kurt Weill
  • Librettist: Bertolt Brecht
  • Translator: Arthur WaleyElisabeth HauptmannH. M. PottsLuigi Rognoni

Work introduction

The school opera Der Jasager goes back to the Japanese fable Tanikô, a play from the centuries-old Nôh theatre. A shortened English version of the Noh play was translated into German by Elisabeth Hauptmann and made its way to Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. Weill composed Der Jasager in the first half of 1930, pausing only for the turbulent première of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny on 9 March 1930. The term ‘school opera’ gave Weill a number of possibilities for combining the concepts of ‘education’ and ‘opera’: the opera teaches the composer – or a whole new generation of composers – to approach the operatic genre in a new way. But it is also a question of re-training the process of operatic performance, with the end goal of staging the work so naturally and simply that children become the ideal performers. And finally, Weill also considered ‘school operas’ as meant for use in schools: ‘it is thus essential that a piece for schools should give children the opportunity to learn something, beyond the joy of making music.’ (Weill)

Audiosamples

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Location:
Berlin (DE)
Date:
24.06.1930
Conductor:
Kurt Drabek

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