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:: PLAYING KURT WEILL ON THE ACCORDION BY DR. WILLAM SCHIMMEL ::

Kurt Weill actually wrote very little for the accordion. It's evident that he knew its limitations as well as its strong points. He exploited its "Seasoning" qualities, like pepper, salt, and paprika. He also gave us a "Mythological Accordion," an assumption that a good body of his work cries out for the accordion, whereas, in reality, no such parts exist. It is in this realm that the "Mythological Accordion" of Kurt Weill is constantly inventing, reinventing, as well as deinventing its accordion parts. We hear the accordion in what he actually wrote containing the accordion, and we hear it in its absence.

As accordion players, we form a kinship with composer Kurt Weill. We constantly compose along with him as we play his music----all of it.

The works employing the use of the accordion are:

-Mahagonny.
-Three Penny Opera.
-Happy End.
-Marie Galante.
-Lost in the Stars.

Many of his songs from his American period can be artfully adapted to the accordion:

-September Song
-My Ship
-Stranger Here Myself
Speak Low

I performed in the Joseph Papp Broadway Production of Three Penny Opera Starring Raul Julia. I also was associate conductor.

I performed in the Chelsea Theatre Broadway Production of Happy End starring Meryl Streep. I also was associate conductor.
I soloed with the St. Luke's Orchestra in Marie Galante at Merkin Hall's Kurt Weill Festival.

I performed Lost in the Stars with the American Composers' Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Guggenheim Museum, and on Public Television. I performed many of his American Songs in an Off Broadway show, Stranger Here Myself produced by Joseph Papp. Angelina Reaux was the singer.
I performed in the recent Broadway production of Three Penny Opera starring Sting.

My recordings are as follows:

Three Penny Opera - original cast recording -Columbia

Little Three Penny Music - Orchestra of St Luke- Music Masters

Little Three Penny Music -- Newport Classic

Little Three Penny Music -- Atlantic Sinfonietta -- Koch International

Stranger Here Myself -- Angelina Reaux - (contains highlights from Weill's German, French and American period) - Koch International

Lost in the Stars -- Tom Waits and others --A+M

Lost in the Stars -- Orchestra of St. Luke --Music Masters

Stratas sings Weill -- Theresa Stratas -- Electra/Nonesuch

 

William Schimmel

 

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