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Lotte Lenya sings Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins & Berlin Theatre Songs Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, December 9, 1997
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Product Description

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: LENYA,LOTTE
Title: SINGS WEILL
Street Release Date: 12/09/1997
Domestic
Genre: CLASSICAL ARTISTS

Amazon.com

Whether playing Anna in The Seven Deadly Sins or singing "Moritat vom Mackie Messer" ("Mack the Knife"), Lotte Lenya helped define the music of her husband, Kurt Weill. The duo literally created the soundtrack for the prewar Berlin of our fantasies--an exotic land of nicotine and nightlights--where cabaret, jazz, and the odd American instrumental influence all coexist happily. Now remastered, this collection gathers Lenya's legendary 1957 recordings of Sins and her 1955 recording Sings Berlin Theatre Songs. Forget subtlety--Lenya is all about emotion. On cuts like "Pirate Jenny," Lenya's voice sounds fluttery and frantic, and on "Surabaya-Johnny," her German sounds fragile and sweet, but mostly she's just herself--bittersweet, raw, and (most of all) human. In spirit, Marianne Faithfull, PJ Harvey, and a host of others all kept the torch of Lenya's style going. But after listening to these Berlin theater songs in classic form (and in their original tongue), you'll never hear them the same way again. --Jason Verlinde
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 9, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Masterworks Broadway
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000029YI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,023 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By krebsman VINE VOICE on April 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When I was a student in 1965, the turntable in my college apartment was kept busy spinning The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Broadway show cast albums, Nina Simone and Lotte Lenya. Lotte Lenya? Yes, the widow of German composer Kurt Weill and the star of the legendary 1950s off-Broadway revival of THE THREEPENNY OPERA, who also played James Bond's adversary Rosa Kleb in the movie FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. (Rosa Kleb was a martial arts expert with poison knives in the toes of her shoes.) But my theory is that Lotte Lenya enjoyed great cachet with the baby-boomers primarily because of the cover of Bob Dylan's 1965 "Bringing It All Back Home" album. That cover shows Dylan and a brunette woman in a rather elegant setting crammed with books and phonograph records. Prominent among the stack of recordings is Lenya's "Berlin Theatre Songs of Kurt Weill" album. Even though this was the age of "Don't trust anyone over thirty," if Bob Dylan liked Lotte Lenya, then she was okay. I loved everything about her Berlin Theatre Songs album, from the expressionistic cover portrait to all the unfamiliar songs sung in quavery German.

Now that CDs have made phonograph records obsolete, I've wanted to replace my LP version of the Berlin Theatre Songs for some time. Well, I feel that I've hit the jackpot with this Masterworks Heritage CD reissue which is packaged with the Brecht-Weill THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS, an experimental dance-drama that Brecht and Weill created in Paris after fleeing Nazi Germany. I had never heard THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS. It is a revelation. It could have been written by no one else. The haunting melodies, the offbeat orchestrations and the unorthodox subject matter combine to form a Brecht-Weill classic. I love this music and have played it repeatedly for weeks.
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'Lotte Lenya sings Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins and Berlin Theatre Songs' is a single CD combining two separate 1955 LPs recorded in Germany, five years after the death of husband and composer, Kurt Weill.

As a lifelong Weill fan who has heard many different interpretations of these songs most notably from Ute Lemper and Teresa Stratas, I was struck by how dramaticly better was Lenya's performance of the lyrics. I think this goes far beyond the fact that many of these works were written specifically to be performed by Lenya in Berlin between 1927 and 1933. It is obvious to my ear that even though Lemper is a great cabaret singer, Lenya trumps this with years of performing on the live stage without the aid of electronic amplification.

Lenya does 'Die Sieben Todsunden' with the version done for a lower voice (same as Lemper) rewritten for her by Weill. As other reviewers have noted, this was originally a combination ballet / song cycle commissioned in Germany by George Balanchine where the singer and the ballerina perform two sisters, both named Anna.

None of the individual songs are nearly as popular on their own as the following collection of songs from the German works, 'The Threepenny Opera', 'Mahagonny', and 'Happy End'.

My first encounter with Lotty Lenya's singing was on a Columbia collection done on vinyl in the 1960s, done, probably following on her appearance in the second James Bond movie, 'From Russia, With Love' as the Russian Colonel Klebb. I think this recording is far superior to that issue or to any other recent recording where Lenya does songs she never performed on the stage.
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By A Customer on June 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
A few weeks ago I ran into this album in a corner store, and, not knowing what to expect, bought the CD for the heck of it. Admittedly, Lotte's style takes some getting used to, but once you do, she's one of a kind. It's as if her voice vibrates with the essence of life itself, and every time I play her I discover new aspects of her interpretation. I only wish the Heritage vocal series would release more of her remastered performences.
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Lotte Lenya was already the voice of Kurt Weill before she became his widow and carried the burden of keeping his legacy alive. The composer died in 1950 at the age of fifty while Lenya survived another 31 years. This 80-min. compilation combines two recordings she made of Berlin theater songs (1955) and The Seven Deadly Sins (1957), both classics in their genre. As the lead reviewer notes, her voice hadn't taken on a raspy tone yet, and the voice is recognizably the light lyric soprano heard in G. W. Pabst's film of The Three-Penny Opera in 1931. So many have sung Lenya's praise that I don't need to add to them, but I wish these Hambrug-based recordings didn't sound so think and shrill. Surely Sony could have done better with their Super Bit Mapping technqiue to refurbish the sound.

What primarily attracted me was The Seven Deadly Sins, a ballet commissioned by a rich patron for his dancer wife. It's actually a vocal work for soprano and male chorus that chronicles the adventures of two sisters, both named Anna, who venture out into the world to escape poverty at home in Louisiana (a mythic Louisiana as imagined by Bertolt Brecht in the ironic German idiom that he and Weill made int their signature between the wars). One Anna sings while the other silently dances. The dancer is hurled by fate and circumstance through the seven deadly sins while the singing Anna comments on the fallen world. The music is an extension of the score from Three-Penny Opera: simple, tuneful, folksy but with a sting. It's a vibrant score, and no one has captured it as Lenya did (Patti Lupone came closest in a recent revival at the NY City Ballet).

Sophisticated world-weariness was a valid pose in the Weimar Republic, but it gave way to more engaged and tragic moods with the full rise of Hitler.
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