Great Performances: Season 23, Episode 7

The Music of Kurt Weill: September Songs (25 Jan. 1995)

TV Episode  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 158 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

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Title: The Music of Kurt Weill: September Songs (25 Jan 1995)

The Music of Kurt Weill: September Songs (25 Jan 1995) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Episode credited cast:
Betty Carter ...
Kathy Dalton ...
Bob Dorough ...
Charlie Haden ...
Ralph Schuckett ...
Himself (as Ralph Shuckett)
Ellen Shipley ...
Teresa Stratas ...


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25 January 1995 (USA)  »

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A brilliant overview and introduction to Weill's music for new listeners and old fans alike
8 May 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I actually owned this on video for three years before watching it. Somehow, I just didn't get around to it. What was I thinking? I read some reviews of it, most were either mediocre or sneering and I thought the work would be a lame shot on video CBC doc with some talking heads explaining (duh) why they think Kurt Weill is a musical genius.

Then I watched this film and WOW! First of all, it's not a documentary! It's a concert film with amazing renditions of Weill's music by luminaries such as Nick Cave, William S. Burroughs(!), Lou Reed, Mary Margaret O'Hara, David Johansson, Elvis Costello and P.J. Harvey, amongst others doing incredible interpretations of Weill's work.

The film is interestingly staged in an old warehouse that evokes both the early industrial period in which Weill worked as well as the alienation technique of Brecht's theatre.

I can't describe how wonderful this work is. If you are a Brecht purist you may find this a little too awesome, but if you have an open mind and enjoy challenging and inventive music, you must see this.

What struck me so powerfully was that Weill's music never fit into what anybody would mistake as a 'musical' or 'opera' or 'pop', but amalgamated them all in an attempt to bridge art with the politics that surrounded him at the time. Weill's music was the soundtrack to the rise of Nazism in Europe and his haunting scores are even more disturbing in retrospect.


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