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Information Regarding COVID-19:
Our New York City office remains closed to protect the health and safety of all of our employees. During this time, we are doing everything possible to minimize disruptions to our daily operations. All employees are working remotely from home and remain fully contactable. If you have had to cancel or postpone a performance of a work from our catalogue, or are considering live streaming performances or streaming archival material, we are prepared to assist you in facilitating changes. Please direct all questions or concerns to

Please note:

  • All materials from canceled or completed performances should be returned to our Verona, New Jersey library only.
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Spotlight on Kurt Weill's Das Berliner Requiem

May. 01, 2020

Spotlight on Kurt Weill's <em>Das Berliner Requiem</em>

Following the astonishing success of Die Dreigroschenoper in the fall of 1928, Kurt Weill composed Das Berliner Requiem, a cantata based on existing poems by Bertolt Brecht that expressed the thoughts and feelings of contemporary urbanites with regard to human mortality. Weill’s spare writing matches Brecht’s dark, cryptic poetry. All of the texts in Berliner Requiem recount the stories of the forgotten dead; faceless war casualties, or victims of violent crime whose bodies have never been found, such as “Ballade vom ertrunkenen Mädchen” (Ballad of the Drowned Girl).

The premiere of Berliner Requiem had originally been announced for February 1929, but was postponed more than once due to objections raised by various watchdog committees. The actual premiere was on May 22, 1929 with a performance on Radio Frankfurt. With Weill’s hurried departure from Germany in March 1933, it is hardly surprising that no complete copy of his original score has survived. The piece exists in multiple versions, which can be found on the Kurt Weill Foundation website.

With glowing reviews from this year’s Los Angeles Philharmonic performances, Esa-Pekka Salonen will continue the Weimar concert series by conducting the San Francisco Symphony in 2021 with a program that includes Das Berliner Requiem and Die sieben Todsünden.

(“Ballade vom ertrunkenen Mädchen” from Das Berliner Requiem/Kurt Weill/
Berliner Rundfunkchor and Lucerne Symphony Orchestra/John Axelrod, conductor)

To learn more about Kurt Weill, visit or 

Kurt Weill
Das Berliner Requiem (1928)
Cantata for tenor, baritone, three-part male chorus and wind orchestra
Text by Bertolt Brecht lib.)-timp.perc(cym, s.d)-gtr.banjo-org or harm