Weill: Symphony No. 1

By October 18, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

An early work of Kurt Weill’s, the 1st Symphony evokes a wide variety of characters in its short span, from a broad, reverberant opening, to intimate, expressive chamber music between solo instruments. In 1921 Weill composed music for a competition to collaborate with the playwright Johannes R. Becher, then later reworked that music to fit the scale and instrumentation of this symphony. Although the piece unfolds in a single movement (traditional symphonies have four movements), its episodic nature suggests that each section belongs to a particular scene in Becher’s play. The dramatic context of each “scene” of Weill’s piece is unknown, but the audience is invited to imagine what might be happening on stage if it had accompanied a play.

By 1956 Kurt Weill had written The Threepenny Opera, and had risen to be one of the most influential composers of his time. Symphony No. 1 was lost during World War II, but it was found among Weill’s papers in an Italian convent after the war. The discovery of this long-lost symphony generated much excitement leading to its premiere in 1956. Now, the work is rarely performed in the US, and we are pleased to present it to Boston’s audiences, possibly for the first time in decades.

This performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY.

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