Weill: Der Silbersee

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Weill
LABELS: RCA Red Seal
WORKS: Der Silbersee
PERFORMER: Heinz Kruse, H. K. Gruber, Juanita Lascarro, Graham Clark, Helga Dernesch, Heinz Zednik; London Sinfonietta & Chorus/Markus Stenz
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 63447 2
Der Silbersee was the last music-theatre work Weill composed in the dying days of the Weimar Republic. Although enormously successful at its premiere in 1933, the piece soon fell victim to Nazi proscription, and has only been infrequently revived since the Second World War. One major reason for its comparitive neglect surely lies in the fact it is a hybrid composition – a play with music rather than a conventional opera. Furthermore, a complete stage performance of Georg Kaiser’s play would last many hours, with spoken dialogue accounting for a much greater proportion of the work than the musical score.

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The present release, involving the same performers who gave the work at the 1996 Proms, presents Weill’s complete music together with the spoken melodrama episodes in the first and third acts. Unlike the Proms performance, however, there is no dialogue interspersing the various numbers, and this inevitably results in a lack of dramatic continuity. Fortunately, Weill’s music, delivered with incisive urgency by Markus Stenz and the London Sinfonietta, is sufficiently compelling to offset this problem, and a strong cast, including all-too-brief cameo performances from veteran singers Helge Dernesch and Heinz Zednik, ensures that the listener remains involved from first bar to last. This is an important release which will hopefully inspire record companies to issue further novelties in the composer’s impending centenary year, most notably the much-neglected and hitherto unrecorded opera, Die Bürgschaft. Erik Levi