Illyria Records

In Tune Magazine, July 2006

For some reason Kurt Weill’s songs seem to have acquired an “art song” cultist reputation, thereby tending to exclude them from popular appreciation. Works of art they certainly are, but they are extremely accessible melodically and lyrically, after all he had the finest collaborators such as Ira Gershwin, Maxwell Anderson and Alan J Lerner, to name a few.

This is a superb CD celebrating the German born composer who fled the Nazis in the 1930s and found new fame on the Broadway stage before his early death at the age of 50 in 1950. No “mack the Knife”, “Speak Low” or “September Song” here, probably his most famous songs, but these omissions only serve to emphasize just what tremendous scope and range Weill possessed.

Of course, the name of Lotte Lenya is indelibly associated with Weill’s music, but leaving that aside, it is difficult to imagine that the interpretations could be bettered. Anne Kerry Ford is a new name to me, but her CD reveals some pretty impressive Broadway and classical theatre credits. The lovely ballads “My Ship” and “It Never Was You” are beautifully sung and contrast with the sardonic wit of the German cabaret songs performed equally convincingly by Ms. Ford, who was clearly made for these songs. The recordings are split between the live tracks recorded in Cologne with the WDR Big Band and a smaller group of musicians, mainly for the ballads. The final track is “Lost in the Stars” which epitomizes the quality of Weill’s compositions and the fine singing on offer here.

-Gerry Stonestreet