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World Premiere of a New Version of Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins for 15 Players

Sep. 01, 2019

World Premiere of a New Version of Kurt Weill's <em>Seven Deadly Sins</em> for 15 Players

On September 21, HK Gruber leads Ensemble Modern, soprano Sarah Maria Sun, and amarcord in the world premiere of a new version for 15 players of Kurt Weill's ballet chanté The Seven Deadly Sins, as a part of the 2019 Beethoven Fest Bonn. Die sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins) is one of Weill's most beloved works, and in order to promote fully staged productions in even more varied settings, the Kurt Weill Foundation, with support from Schott Music, commissioned a new orchestration for fifteen instruments, prepared by HK (Nali) Gruber and Christian Muthspiel. Gruber and Muthspiel worked carefully to stay as close to Weill's original instrumentation as possible, preserving the colors and, as Muthspiel notes, the "very unique Kurt Weill sound" of the piece. They note that The Seven Deadly Sins remains a current and timely work. Gruber states "I spent months with this score and with Brecht's great lyrics, and I was totally touched." "It's more current than twenty years ago." Muthspiel concurs, "The Brecht piece is not a period piece. It is absolutely contemporary." The new Gruber-Muthspiel arrangement will be available for further performances following the world premiere on September 21. For an illuminating interview with the arrangers, read "New Lives for Deadly Sins" in the current edition of the Kurt Weill Newsletter here.

Kurt Weill composed the ballet chanté Die sieben Todsünden, on texts by Bertolt Brecht, in 1933 during his Paris exile. Premiered in the ballet version with choreography by Georges Balanchine at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on June 7, 1933, it quickly became one of his best-known works. The music plays with popular American music styles of the twenties such as the foxtrot, shimmy, and barbershop, and Weill and Brecht perfectly ironize the petty bourgeois double standards of society's willingness to sacrifice their values for the sake of financial gain.

(The Seven Deadly Sins/Kurt Weil/Bertold Brecht/Opéra de Paris/Anna I: Anne Sofie von Otter;
Anna II: Elisabeth Maurn and Caroline Bance; The Family: Ian Caley, Stefan Margita,
Nigel Smith, and Nicholas Cavallier/Laurent Pelly, Director/Alexandre Polianichko, conductor)

To learn more about Kurt Weill, visit:

Kurt Weill
The Seven Deadly Sins (1933/2019)
ballet chanté
Text by Bertolt Brecht
English translation by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman
Version for 15 players by HK Gruber and Christian Muthspiel  
Anna I · Soprano - Anna II · Dancer - The Family: Tenor I, II, Baritone, Bass (The Mother)