Academic journal article Notes

The Kurt Weill Edition

Academic journal article Notes

The Kurt Weill Edition

Article excerpt


Following the death of Weill's widow Lotte Lenya in 1981, the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music expanded its mission to promote greater understanding of the lives and accomplishments of Weill and Lenya through research and performance. At that time, foundation president Kim H. Kowalke and the board of trustees identified the publication of Weill's scores as one of the most significant and enduring tasks the organization could undertake. Throughout the 1980s, director and archivist David Farneth, musical executive Lys Symonette, and other members of the foundation staff helped to establish the archival resources and institutional structures necessary to support this project. They identified, located, and cataloged extant sources, organized voluminous correspondence, and established an oral history collection. The development of the foundation's grant program served the dual function of identifying scholars interested in Weill's work and stimulating new research that would later bear fruit for the collected edit ion. Meanwhile, as the copyright and legal issues resulting from the composer's complicated biography were put in order, the dearth of reliable full scores and general neglect in the publishing domain demanded remedy.

By the end of the decade, conditions seemed conducive for initiation of the Kurt Weill Edition (KWE).

1989 * The foundation trustees endorse Kowalke's proposal for a feasibility study of a collected edition.

1990 * An advisory committee meets to determine feasibility and discuss issues relevant to the initiation of the project. (In addition to foundation representatives Kowalke, Farneth, Symonette, and Mario Mercado, the committee includes Theodore Chapin, Gabriel Dotto, Ronald Freed, Lawrence Gushee, John Shepard, and James Zychowicz. David Drew and Stephen Hinton later review and comment upon the committee's report.)

* The foundation trustees, following the recommendations of the advisory committee's report, approve preparation of a prospectus.

1991 * Mercado, in consultation with Farneth and Kowalke, prepares the prospectus for a Kurt Weill Edition, including a sketch of some editorial procedures by Zychowicz.

* The foundation trustees approve the prospectus and allocate personnel and other resources to the KWE.

1992 * Kowalke and Drew meet in Stuttgart, Germany, with representatives of Weill's three principal publishers (Freed of European American Music Corporation [EAMC], Peter Hanser-Strecker of Schott Musik International, and Marion von Hartlieb of Universal Edition). EAMC is assigned the responsibility of publishing the edition, in association with the foundation. Hanser-Strecker and von Hartlieb voice support but also grave concerns about the investment involved.

* The president appoints an editorial board to oversee the intellectual aspects of the KWE. The board is comprised of Drew, Hinton, Kowalke, and Giselher Schubert.

* The foundation hires Edward Harsh as production manager (promoted in 1995 to managing editor). Farneth is officially appointed KWE archivist; Symonette is named musical advisor.

* Fifty prominent individuals accept invitations to serve on the KWE advisory board. …

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