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Kurt Weill: Little Threepenny Music

  • Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ (1928)
  • for wind orchestra
  • 2 0 2 2 - 0 2 1 1 - perc(2), pno, alto sax(Eb), t.sax(Bb), band, bjo
  • Duration: 22’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    alto saxophone in Eb
    tenor saxophone in Bb (+soprano sax(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    1st trumpet in Bb
    2nd trumpet in Bb
    bass tuba
    bjo (+guit)
  • Composer: Kurt Weill
  • Table of contents:
    Die Moritat von Mackie Messer
    Anstatt daß-Song
    Die Ballade vom angenehmen Leben
    Pollys Lied

Work introduction

On 5 February 1929, Kurt Weill wrote a letter to UE (excerpt):

I heard the Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (I deliberately avoided using the word “suite”) yesterday at rehearsal; I am very content with it. There are eight numbers in all new, concert versions, with some new intermediate strophes and an entirely new orchestration: two flutes, two clarinets, two saxophones, two bassoons, two trumpets, one trombone, one tuba, banjo, percussion, piano. I believe the piece can be played an awful lot, since it is precisely what every conductor wants: a snappy piece to end with.

I will send you the score immediately after the performance; Klemperer had the temporary parts made in the opera.

Wiesengrund-Adorno philosophised about the Kleine Dreigroschenmusik in his critique of composition in the 1929 Anbruch (excerpt):

What a potpourri! … that is all, scarcely a melody is lacking, they surge by so urgently that occasionally one of them collides with another; they contain one another in close formation, the maimed, damaged and worn out ones which are yet seditious, forming into a protest march.


World première

Berlin (DE)
Preußisches Kammerorchester
Otto Klemperer

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