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  • Weill: Music for Johnny Johnson
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Weill: Music for Johnny Johnson


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Audio CD, November 25, 1997
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Otare Pit Band
  • Conductor: Joel Cohen
  • Composer: Kurt Weill
  • Audio CD (November 25, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B000005E5F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,679 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Music For Johnny Johnson: Introduction
2. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Over In France
3. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Democracy Advancing
4. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Up Chickamuga Hill - The Battle Of San Juan Hill
5. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Johnny's Melody
6. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Aggie's Song
7. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Oh Heart Of Love
8. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Farewell, Goodbye
9. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - The West-Pointer Song
10. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - The Sergeant's Chant
11. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Captain Valentine's Song
12. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Army Interlude
13. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Farewell, Goodbye (Interlude)
14. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Song Of The Goddess
15. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Song Of The Wounded Frenchmen
16. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - The Tea Song
17. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Oh The Rio Grande - Cowboy Song
18. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Johnny's Dream
19. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Song Of The Guns
20. Music For Johnny Johnson: Act I - Music Of The Stricken Redeemer
See all 32 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sean on July 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This was Weill's first American score, and it is funny to hear the European roots and his search for the Amerian vernaculur (I hope I didn't mispell that). But this does not make this score or show bad. It simply heightens the drama. This powerful musical theatre piece has been unfairly swept under the rug, being merely a footnote in musical theatre history. It deserves new life, rebirth. The score is a gem, from the cowboy song, "Oh, the Rio Grande" ("which is really close to the real thing for a German immigrant," I believe the liner notes say), and "Mon Ami, My Friend" ("a touch of old Paris"). Then there is the beautiful "Oh, Heart of Love" and the startlingly effective "Song of the Goddess," sung in the show by none other than the Statue of Liberty herself! All of the incedental music is great, and the Otaré Pit Band is perfect for this score (they really need to do a recording of Weill's THREEPENNY OPERA score, maybe a nice, English-language one). I will admit that having classically-trained singers sing the score is not as effective as if they had great actors who were only so-so singers, but I think you will be able to look past this fact quickly, like I did. Things you might not look past are the fact that while Ellen Santaniello has a pretty little singing voice, her acting leaves much to be desired. And someone needs to slap Bruce Fithian on "The Tea Song," because he cannot seem to grasp what a British accent is. Fithian does do a good job on the "Sergeant's Chant," though. "The West-Pointer Song" and the "Song of the Guns" are two pieces which were not typical 1930's musical comedy faire, and they are brilliant. The ending of this will surely have moved you, and you will either be crying or speechless, unless you are an army admiral or Adolf Hitler, that is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. T Waldmann on December 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One would think that, with the current feelings about the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, there would be frequent stagings throughout the country of Kurt Weill's JOHNNY JOHNSON, his awe-inspiring anti-war "play with songs" and his first work for the American theater. (Not coincidentally, where are all productions of Joan Littlewoood's OH, WHAT A LOVELY WAR and the Gershwin/Kaufman STRIKE UP THE BAND?)

Although it has never found a large audience, JOHNNY JOHNSON is an essential piece of American Musical Theatre. Most theatre critics were positive about its 1936 premiere, but it lasted for only 68 performances. Staged by Lee Strasberg, the cast included Group Theatre members Lee J. Cobb, Elia Kazan, Luther Adler, Morris Carnovsky, and John Garfield. In October, 1956, Stella Adler directed an off-Broadway revival, with Samuel Matlowsky as musical director, at the Carnegie Hall Playhouse. It lasted a week, arguably better than the April, 1971 Broadway revival, staged by Jose Quintero, that lasted for only one night. (Matlowsky also conducts the wonderful 1956 MGM/Polygdor studio cast.) More recent productions include a thirteen-week run at The Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles (1986), a York Theatre Company "Musicals in Mufti" staging in the fall of 2000, and two performances by the Oakland Opera Theatre in December, 2005.

This recording, inspired by the 1996 Boston Camerata's performance at the Longy School, has been called " . . . the most important new Weill recording in several years . . . " (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/19/98). Recipient of France's "Diapason d'Or," it also was included in LE MONDE's and the BOSTON GLOBE's best classical albums of the year for 1997.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By babsdiroma@webtv.net on January 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
the music for JOHNNY JOHNSON was weill's first score for the american theatre, and as such, contains many reminders of his european works. the play, by paul green, is itself a take-off from the czeck classic, THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK, which weill had considered for operatic treatment while still in germany. among the musical numbers, a weill fan will recognize 'the song of the brandy merchant' from HAPPY END used as a theme here, but may not immediately recall 'johnny's song' as a re-working of a tune from MARIE GALANTE. the orchestra here gives a magnificent reading of weill's score, although the solo singers lack the appeal of the seasoned professionals on the older, out-of-print M-G-M recording. for anyone interested in weill's conversion to the american scene, this is an important release.bob seigler
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