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Kurt Weill


for orchestra

The idea for the Suite from The Threepenny Opera came to Max Schönherr, who was himself a composer and conductor, in 1949. At the time, he was Kapellmeister of the RAVAG Radio Orchestra in Vienna, the first Austrian radio company. Kurt Weill authorized the arrangement for "normal" orchestra, but wrote to the director of UE, Alfred Schlee, on August 5, 1949: In the matter of the new instrumentation of the Threepenny Music I had in the meantime a letter from Mr. Schönherr, from which I take it that he has made an arrangement of the music for large concert orchestra, which he wants to perform on the Vienna Radio. Of course, I have no doubt that Mr. Schönherr has produced a good orchestration of my music and that his situation allows him to perform it several times on Vienna Radio. On the other hand, you will understand that I wonder whether I should not perform this task myself, since it is one of my most important works and such an arrangement may become an important repertoire piece for orchestra. Please let me know what you think, and in the meantime please convey my thanks and binding greetings to Mr Schönherr.  Kurt Weill could no longer put this plan into practice. The UE published the Suite from “The Threepenny Opera” in the version by Max Schönherr in 1950. The Suite represents an orchestration of the Little Threepenny Music, whereby 3 numbers from the Little Threepenny Music were not used (Anstatt-daß-Song, Tango-Ballade, Dreigroschenfinale), but the Love Song was added: 1 Overture2 The Ballad of Mack the Knife3 Love Song4 The ballad of the easy life5 Polly's Song6 Cannon Song The world première with live radio broadcast took place on 5 November 1950 in Vienna.

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Anton Webern arranged Franz Schubert’s six Deutsche Tänze for piano, D820, in 1931 for chamber orchestra, woodwind and two horns. His alterations are limited to occasional separation of the parts, bringing out the solo lines. Webern aimed to allow the structure of the work to emerge more clearly, while retaining a sound similar to Schubert’s. The result is a miracle of precision, tonal differentiation and glowingly shaded colours.

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The three-act opera La Rondine (The Swallow) was originally commissioned for the Carltheater in Vienna but, owing to the outbreak of the First World War, was only premiered in Monte Carlo in 1917. The libretto was written by Giuseppe Adami based on the German Die Schwalbe by Alfred Maria Willner and Heinz Reichert. Puccini revised the work a number of times, particularly the end of the second act, meaning that there are now three distinct versions. In the original version (1917), Magda leaves Ruggero because she believes that her dubious past does not permit her to marry him. In the second version (1920), her wish to return to the demimonde is what ultimately triggers her actions. In the third version (1921), Ruggero finds out about Magda’s past through an anonymous letter and leaves her. In spite of these differences in the storyline, the music hardly changed at all. The setting is Paris during the Second Empire. We find Magda in the house of her wealthy patron Rambaldo, conversing with friends about love. One of the party reads her palm and tells her that one day she will fly like a swallow across the sea for love. Ruggero, a young man from the provinces, arrives in Paris for the first time. Magda’s friends suggest that he sample the nightlife in a dance club. Although irked by his conventional notions of eternal love, Magda falls for him. She parts company with her patron in order to live with Ruggero on the Riviera. However, no sooner has Ruggero had obtained consent from his parents to marry Magda, she explains to him about her old life and leaves him. The 1st version corresponds to the 1st edition of 1917 and was the only edition available before 1994.

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