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CLASSICAL MUSIC | RECORDINGS

Conductor's wiles mesh with Weill's

October 09, 2005|Adam Baer

Kurt Weill: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2; "Lady in the Dark" -- "Symphonic Nocturne"

Marin Alsop, conductor. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. (Naxos)

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THIS has been a banner year for conductor Marin Alsop. She didn't win only the music directorship of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; she won a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. And she's celebrating the release of this passionately performed and reverberant account of Kurt Weill's symphonic roots: the dark and modern First Symphony (1921), written while the German "Threepenny Opera" composer studied with Ferruccio Busoni; the Second Symphony (1934), a more fluid, tonal work composed with Weill's signature melodic wit just before he left turmoil-ridden Europe; and arranger Robert Russell Bennett's Weill theater suite "Symphonic Nocturne." The last is a piece consistent in spirit with the ironic hit "Mack the Knife"-- and proof that the most enduring and artful popular music stands firmly on classical foundations.

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