Guide A Madrigal in Moonlight - a stageplay

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As well as reviewing Weill's career in terms of its continuities and discontinuities, it subjects to scrutiny the models on which such terms are themselves based. Asking how Weill should be remembered is not just a matter of reviewing and reassessing his image. It is also about examining the methods of biography and criticism that helped generate the image in the first place.

Weill's posterity-shunning statement, inviting skepticism on account of its self-conscious appeal to posterity, first appeared in a newspaper interview in His experiments in musical theater, on which his reputation in Germany was based, continued. He also wrote songs and instrumental music for the theatrical adaptation of Jacques Deval's novel Marie Galante. His next project, the vast biblical pageant The Eternal Road, had likewise begun as a German-language work , Der Weg der Verheissung, again with performance in Europe in mind.

But plans for the pageant's realization in New York in the postponed premiere eventually took place on 7 January brought the composer to the United States in September , where he would end up living for the remaining fourteen years of his life. The time of the interview was a turning point in his career.

Apart from The Eternal Road, which had enjoyed performances but was a financial disaster because of the huge costs, his two main American stage works up to this point had been relatively successful. But in Weill had produced no new major works for the musical theater-not for want of trying. Their "symphonic drama," entitled The Common Glory, remained unfinished, however, as did the plan to produce a work on the theme of Davy Crockett. Weill began work with Maxwell Anderson, book author of Knickerbocker Holiday, on a theater piece called Ulysses Africanus; although it was eventually abandoned, parts would be salvaged for Weill's last work for the stage, the "musical tragedy" Lost in the Stars.

He worked on several films in an attempt to establish himself in Hollywood, but only one of them was produced with his music: He also supplied music for the historical pageant Railroads on Parade, performed at the New York World Fair in the Railroad Pavilion in and , and allegedly described by the composer himself as a "circus opera. The immediate occasion for the interview's publication was the first broadcast, scheduled for the following day, of the radio cantata The Ballad of Magna Carta, also written with Anderson.

Weill was also just beginning work, this time with Moss Hart, on a musical play that would become one of his biggest theatrical successes and establish him as a major force on Broadway , Lady in the Dark. This, then, and the other works just mentioned are the practical purposes of which he speaks. And Schoenberg is still on his mind:. I want to use whatever gifts I have for practical purposes That's why I'm in the theater-the commercial theater.

I'm convinced that many modern composers have a feeling of superiority toward their audiences. Schoenberg, for example, has said he is writing for a time fifty years after his death. But the great "classic" composers wrote for their contemporary audiences. They wanted those who heard their music to understand it, and they did. As for myself, I write for today. I don't give a damn about writing for posterity. And I do not feel that I compromise my integrity as a musician by working for the theater, the radio, the motion pictures, or any other medium which can reach the public which wants to listen to music.

I have never acknowledged the difference between "serious" music and "light" music. There is only good music and bad music. Although the statement appeared in a newspaper interview, unlikely to transmit exactly what Weill said, it is still plausible that the words are essentially his. The gist, if not the precise wording, is arguably authentic. As reported, he is not discussing the issue of posterity in general so much as that of writing for posterity in particular.

He is comparing himself with two constituencies of composers: He is distancing himself from subsidized art but also from the tradition of "artificial," "non-vernacular" music with which he was so familiar as a young man. What rings especially true, and also requires amplification, is the rarely quoted remark that follows about not compromising his integrity. What does that mean, "integrity as a musician"? Weill raises the issue in a number of writings, both letters, private and public, and occasional pieces, usually written for newspapers in conjunction with premiere productions of his work.

Movies presented an even greater challenge in this regard than the theater. Writing in , having experienced mixed success as a film composer, Weill was still ready to declare that "the motion picture is a perfect medium for an original musico-dramatic creation on the same level as the different forms of the musical theatre: Working in the movies as opposed to the theater presented a more acute challenge to Weill's sense of artistic integrity owing to the divisions of labor required by the industry, even though his aspiration to compose for the general public remained the same for both media.

Pondering the future of opera in , for example, he had insisted on the need to write music that was useful to that public, which he referred to as an "Allgemeinheit"; the quality of the work would decide whether the music produced could be called art. He was therefore careful to distinguish between music that would be consumed and then disappear Verbrauchsmusik and genuinely useful music Gebrauchsmusik , even though he hoped that the difference between these two categories, and even between them and art music Kunstmusik , might eventually be erased, a historical process for which he uses the Hegelian expression aufheben indicating the synthesis or "sublation" of opposites.

He saw himself committed, and would remain committed throughout his career, to attempting something that many twentieth-century composers dismissed as futile, if not impossible: The call to erase the distinction between Gebrauchsmusik and Kunstmusik echoes the aesthetic discourse of the time, particularly in debates about operatic reform. The programmatic statements are precisely that, however; they articulate artistic aims and ambitions, utopias of reform as much as, if not more than, realities. As an artist, as opposed to a propagandist, Weill may have succeeded less in completely erasing categories than in exploiting the creative tension between them.

He was a composer whose work thrived on dualisms on a number of levels. Whether his embracing such creative tensions ultimately amounted to his overcoming them, thereby creating a new synthesis the Hegelian Aufhebung or "sublation" that his language implies , or whether the posited antagonism perhaps even became moot in his work, is an open question. Weill reception has been characterized by deep, enduring divisions on this very issue.

The nature of Weill's challenge-to himself, to his audience, and to posterity-is generally acknowledged, but the terms on which he attempted to meet it and his ultimate success in doing so are nothing if not disputed. Although his aims present themselves in terms of a binarism that he aims to overcome, the terms themselves vary somewhat. Audience appeal and artistic merit remained separate issues for him, at least in theory.

The former, he thought, need not compromise the latter. By the time of the interview, although the importance of the earlier distinctions may have faded, he was certainly exaggerating when he claimed that he had "never acknowledged the difference between 'serious' and 'light' music. Translated, albeit roughly, into American terms, this could be taken as "light" versus "serious. The slippery issue of quality remained: Nor did Weill entirely relinquish the adjective serious in connection with his own art.

Mozart by Moonlight

In the article "Broadway and the Musical Theatre," for example, he asserted: Broadway is today one of the great theatre centers of the world. It has all the technical and intellectual equipment for a serious musical theatre. Yet addressing them is not the same as resolving them-that remained a task for posterity. Weill himself would touch on the transition from his earlier to his later work in connection with Down in the Valley, a folk opera for amateurs, including high schools and colleges, for which he was charged, shortly after the premiere, with writing "corny" music.

His defense, which is quoted here at length, provides an eloquent expression of the aims of his art and the rationale behind his artistic choices. My teacher Busoni, at the end of his life, hammered into me one basic truth which he had arrived at after 50 years of pure aestheticism: I lost this fear through years of working in the theatre, and in doing so, my whole aspect [sic] towards musical composition changed. Instead of worrying about the material of music, the theory behind it, the opinion of other musicians, my concern is to find the purest expression in music for what I want to say, with enough trust in my instinct, my taste and my talent to write always "good" music, regardless of the style I am writing in.


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What did he mean by "good" while invoking his teacher, Busoni? His explanation of a chord with an "added" sixth provides a clue. Craftsmanship mattered, defined here in terms of "good" voice-leading, a concept for which he did not have the correct English term, only the German one. I am sorry I offended your ears with the sixth in the last chord.

If you had lived in the 18th century, your ear would have been offended a thousand times listening to Mozart using over and over again the same cadenza which every other composer of his time used. Musical training and a trust in "instinct, taste, and talent" aside, integrity is above all a biographical category; its study belongs in the realm of biographical method. It is the job of composer biographers to explore the elements of a life, to form them into an undivided or unbroken state-or not; to seek out wholeness and completeness, if they see fit; to synthesize the entirety, if they can.

Integrity could also imply soundness of moral principle, uncorrupted virtue, and sincerity. Again, biographers may be ready and able to provide guidance. But what methods and criteria should they apply? Biographical method is really two distinct, yet related, things. It signifies approaches to reading a life, something that in German would be called Biographik, a term that tends to be used in a collective sense referring to the whole business of biography but also to trends and tendencies of its various genres, either with respect to a particular figure or to biographies in general.

In German this would not be Biographik, but rather die biographische Methode, a type of music analysis, a way of reading meaning in musical works, hermeneutics. There is some kind of narrative to present, which may entail gleaning information from the works themselves.

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Composer biographies may or may not offer such analysis beyond putting things in correct chronological order. In his biography, for example, Ronald Sanders offers almost no such analysis or interpretation.


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This is something David Drew has attempted in various ways, as have Ronald Taylor, despite the "divided world" of his monograph's title, and Douglas Jarman. There are many options, often depending on the subject, of course, but also on the information available. The biographische Methode is a form, not necessarily the form, of Biographik.

Biography, as a genre, tends to be implicated in establishing, confirming, or occasionally reducing the reputation of a figure deemed historically or culturally significant. Composer biographies are no exception, often presented as hagiographies, as tales of artistic integrity at the highest level. In this they serve various cultural purposes, as both criticism and history.

There is no reason, then, why biography should be bracketed off from other forms of reception. Biographers are bound to make critical judgments based on certain expectations: The significance accorded individuals and their creations will determine the narrative form of any biography but also vice versa: From their various options, biographers have to be careful to choose the right approach to their subject.

Hero worship does not work for everyone. Wolfgang Hildesheimer, with his anti-biography of Mozart, offered a novel and strikingly provocative alternative. And it did so through its studied avoidance of a traditional narrative, or rather, through a self-conscious variation thereof.


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We still get a Lebenslauf, albeit one constantly interrupted by lengthy excursuses into Biographik in general and a critique of the biographische Methode in particular. Yet Hildesheimer asks more questions than he provides answers to, somewhat like the envy-ridden composer Salieri in Amadeus initially a play by Peter Shaffer, later a popular, award-winning movie directed by Milos Forman , which Hildesheimer seems to have influenced in substantial ways.

Like Salieri, he is puzzled by the connection between the man and the music. And he is unhappy about earlier discussions that claim to have that connection sorted out. Not that he does not replace the old myths with a newer one-he does, as does the movie, with a vengeance. The movie brings together the two disparate and discrete parts preserved by the anti-biography: Mozart's debauched, scurrilous, scatological, and puerile character on the one hand, and his sublime, divinely absolute music on the other.

This is surely a myth for the late twentieth century: Yet if biographies of Weill have tended toward the opposite of hagiography, that is partly because they still applied the old paradigms of nineteenth-century hagiography and consequently found their subject wanting, quite sorely so in some cases. Every biographer applies his own notion of integrity to Weill.

Taylor's guiding notion appears to be "style"-a category that plays a critical role in the work of two enormously influential figures in Weill reception, Theodor W.

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Adorno and David Drew. Adorno's impact on postwar Weill reception has been as incalculable as it is widespread, and Drew's view of Weill likewise finds frequent echoes in the literature of music criticism. Taylor's monograph on Weill, which openly acknowledges Drew's influence, presents itself as a popular biography, "not addressed to specialists," as the author puts it in the preface. The readers he has in mind are "those who have whistled 'Mack the Knife,' 'Surabaya-Johnny' and the 'Alabama Song' for years and would like to know more about the man who composed them, his life, the people he knew, the things that mattered to him, the works he wrote.

His choice of songs here is hardly casual, for it becomes clear as one progresses through the book that Taylor himself is especially partial to the Weill-Brecht works from which these titles originate. No doubt Taylor's initial involvement with Weill's music parallels that of his intended readers. No doubt he, too, has whistled the Weill-Brecht evergreens.

At any rate, his exposure to Weill's entire oeuvre, although it may have enlarged his knowledge, seems to have done little to alter his opinion or perspective. By way of emphasizing this point he temporarily forsakes his popular platform and resorts instead to the professorial language of Kantian essentialism in a brief discussion of "the phenomenon of Weill's music an sich. The mix of original and translated titles in Taylor's monograph seems, incidentally, to follow no system. This "characteristic sound," he maintains, becomes "less characteristic, blander, almost more commonplace" beginning around the time of emigration.

Yet the diminution is hardly a "purely musical" matter. The key to Taylor's analysis can be found in the following four sentences, which deserve therefore scrutiny: Paris was not Berlin. For reasons as much of survival as anything else Weill turned from confrontation to accommodation, to serving a market for which in Germany he had spent much of his time showing scorn" The Berlin Weill is the composer of confrontation, an active agent of stirring historical forces; the subsequent, postemigration composer is a willing victim of pernicious market forces.

Taylor is quick to credit Weill with some autonomy in the matter, voicing the sentiment that he "was far too intelligent a musician not to know what he was doing. In a judgment unfathomable to anyone acquainted with the innovations of Weill's American works, Taylor concludes that Weill "accepted In America he became their servant" It is a serious if unoriginal charge, which the author leaves largely unsubstantiated.

His biography's subtitle might suggest that Taylor had attempted to relocate the bifurcation thesis from the composer to the worlds in which he lived. Yet he ends up applying it in the customary way: He begins with the question "Will the real Weill please stand up? In view of Taylor's view of the American Weill, his questions could imply that all but one of the Weills he describes are frauds-or worse, that none of them at all is real. John Hollins as the Music Director. Vocal music will include solos, duets, trios, and choral music from the Renaissance to the present.

Winter Dinner Theatre Season – Lubbock Moonlight Musicals

Authentic early instruments will accompany the voices. There will be plays, dances, and much audience participation.

Amadeus Stage Production - Act One

The audience will be asked to sing and dance with us. There will be non-stop activity—just like a Renaissance Fair. A sumptuous, complete meal of roast beef and turkey will be offered in courses.

Production Credits

There will be a cash bar available. In the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, and England, and in the American South, the metaphor of the crossroads was a very powerful one: All these people, places, and stories met at the magical New World crossroads of history and myth, and the music of these meetings transformed the history of the globe. Moonlight Dinner Theatre, a sister production company of Lubbock Moonlight Musicals, will present the musical Damn Yankees to wrap up its second season of dinner theatre shows this coming April.

Doors open and dinner will be served beginning at 6: The show will begin at 7: Catering will be by Honeychild Caterers. Music and lyrics are by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The show, originally produced by Harold Prince, opened on Broadway in and ran for more than 1, performances.