July 15th, 2009


A good evening

So, I got in from going to HERE I'LL STAY at the Rosemary Branch, my very nearest pub theatre. Peter Scott-Presland is one of my very oldest friends - we met in Oxford GLF in 1971 which is suprisingly late given that we were contemporaries in the same faculty from 1968 onwards, and I went with a crowd of people -Keith, Simon, Nicola, Elizabeth, Julian, Mark - that I know through him and several of whom were at my party last week, or at Abi's funeral, or both. One of the singers in the show turned out to be someone I've known by sight - and she me - from Broadway Market; we both had coffee in La Vie En Rose only the other day; so maybe that's another new friend.

There are so many good versions of Kurt Weill that it is almost too invidious to select one, especially after you've been to a show with a lot of good songs that are not as well known. We tend to think we know the American songs, and actually we know a fragment of what he wrote - there were things here that I had never heard before like some amazing songs from the collaboration with Alan Lerner Love Life and a wonderful song from the unfinished Huckleberry Finn.

If you don't know Weill, you should check out all the good versions on YouTube though those tend to be biased to the early German stuff and you can find everyone from his wife Lotte Lenya to Amanda Palmer singing things like Pirate Jenny, the Bilbao Song, Surabaya Johnny and so on.

Here's one of the best known American songs given a rather strange and wonderful cover version from someone you might not expect to be keen:

and here is a review I did of the Weill/Lenya letters which refers elliptically to the problems anyone performing this music in the context of their lives has with the estate. God sometimes you want copyright to be over...

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And, because I love it so much, here is my dear old friend Adele doing her and Dilly Keane and whoever else was in Fascinating Aida at the time doing a wonderful Weill parody: