Magazine article New Internationalist

The Eternal Road

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Eternal Road

Article excerpt

The Eternal Road by Kurt Weill (Naxos 8 559402 CD)

If it's possible to think of Kurt Weill as a composer whose later work was eclipsed by the genius of his early compositions, then The Eternal Road serves as a reminder that there was much that followed The Threepenny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, the two collaborations with Bertold Brecht that are now heard as the sound of the pre-Nazi era.

This dramatic oratorio has its politics too. The brainchild of Zionist impresario Meyer Weisgal, it is set in a European city. The lews shelter in the synagogue as a pogrom rages outside. The congregation look back on their past to imagine the promised land. When it premiered in 1937 in New York, the parallel with events across the Atlantic was obvious. The score was Weill's opportunity to show his breadth: he moves from sonorous cantorial music to huge neo-Baroque choruses; even the golden calf gets a jazzed-up theme of its own. …

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