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Alla Breve

July 31, 1994|WALTER PRICE

BERTOLT BRECHT AND KURT WEILL: "The Seven Deadly Sins"; "Mahagonny Songspiel." Ute Lemper, others; RIAS Berlin Sinfonietta, John Mauceri, cond. London 430 168-2. Back in the late '20s and early '30s among the German left-wing intelligentsia, the message was cozily simple: the capitalist world was rotten, especially America. Brecht and Weill brought out "Seven Sins," being particularly hard on Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Los Angeles along the way. Lemper gives us the vocal version designed for Lotte Lenya, singing it better and with more voice than Lenya ever did. But it was fashionable in those circles to look and sound ugly, so in this aspect Lemper fails. The Songspiel offers more Angst . "Alabama-Song" to the contrary, the musical invention now seems threadbare, the text dated.

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