Not about writing.  About music.

I’ve played the violin since I was five, and have played in orchestras forever.  First, school chamber groups (we all know what they sound like: 25 little kids squeaking their way through “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star), then university orchestras, and then adult amateur and semi-professional ones.  For the past 15 years (can that be true?), I’ve played with The Kensington Philharmonic, performing three concerts a year, mostly in London’s Chelsea Old Town Hall.  There’s always a wonderful soloist, always a rousing ouverture, and always an important symphony from “The Repertoire”, everything from Beethovan to Dvorak to Mozart to Sibelius and back again.  But every once in a while, I’m presented with a piece of music that is so new to me, so unheard of, that I hang my head in shame lamenting the woeful holes in my musical education.  
For our next concert on Sunday, 22 June, 7.30 pm we will be playing the 2nd Symphony of Kurt Weill.  Here is all that I’ve known up until now about Kurt Weill:
1.  He wrote “The Three Penny Opera” with Bertolt Brecht
2.  He was married to the famous German cabaret singer, Lotte Lenya
3.  He wrote “Mack the Knife” which was to be made famous by Bobby Darren.
4.  For some reason, I always thought the musical “Cabaret” was based on his work, but I may have made that up.
But what I didn’t know is that he was predominantly a classical composer coming from a religious Jewish background (his father was a cantor), and that he wrote nearly thirty-years-worth of sonatas, concerti, lieders, symphonies.  Now all of this is vaguely interesting in a cocktail party sort of way.  But what is presently knocking my socks off is how incredibly fantastic this 2nd Symphony is.  Beautiful, lyrical melodies.  Stirring rhythms.  Interesting though comfortably-resolving dissonances. Where have you been all my life? 
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clip of the symphony to share with you.  Do go out a buy a cd so you can hear it for yourself.  But instead, here’s a video of Lotte Lenya singing her husband’s heart-breaking song, “Surabaya Johnny.”  You don’t need to understand German to get it.