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David Bowie’s 1982 film “Bertolt Brecht’s Baal”
05.12.2012
03:51 pm

Topics:
Art
Literature
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Bertolt Brecht
Baal

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My co-conspirator here at DM Paul Gallagher covered this last year, but I found a nice new high quality upload of the video in full and thought I should update the article and share it with you all once again. I’m sure our new readers will appreciate it.

Here is David Bowie in the BBC production of Brecht’s play Baal, from 1982. It was directed by Alan Clarke, the talent behind such controversial TV dramas as Scum with a young Ray Winstone, Made in Britain, with Tim Roth, and Elephant.

Baal was Brecht’s first full-length play, written in 1918, and it tells the story of a traveling musician / poet, who seduces and destroys with callous indifference.

Bowie is excellent as Baal and the five songs he sings in this production were co-produced with Tony Visconti, and later released as the EP David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Kurt Weill: Here’s Lotte Lenya

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The composer Kurt Weill was born today March 2 1900. Best known for his collaborations with Bertolt Brecht on The Threepenny Opera,Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Der Jasager and The 7 Deadly Sins, Weill was a committed socialist, who believed music must serve a socially useful purpose. However, it was politics that eventually split the brilliant partnership of Brecht and Weill, as the musician felt the playwright was pushing too far to the left without question, or as Weill joked, he felt unable to set the Communist Party Manifesto to music.

Weill was married to the brilliant actress and singer, Lotte Lenya, who starred in The Threepenny Opera and later played the SMERSH assassin, Rosa Klebb in the Bond movie, From Russia With Love. With the rise of Hitler, the couple quit Germany and moved to America, where they worked in Hollywood (as did Brecht).

Though Weill’s music is best associated with cabaret and political theater of Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s (influencing John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical Cabaret), he also wrote two symphonies, several cantatas, a great number of songs, set the poetry of Rilke and Walt Whitman’s Song of Myslef to music, and worked with Ira Gershwin on the Hollywood musical Where Do We Go From Here?. Weill died of a heart attack in 1950.

To celebrate Weill’s birthday, here is the brilliant Lenya from 1962, in fine form, singing a selection of her husband’s best known songs “Mack the Knife”, “Pirate Jenny”, “Sarabaya Johnny” and “Alabama Song”. This clip has sub-titles, but that’s unimportant, when compared to the quality of her voice and performance. The production was filmed by Ken Russell for the BBC’s arts series Monitor, and the segment was introduced by legendary arts editor, Huw Weldon.
 

 
Previously on DM

Happy Birthday Bertolt Brecht: Here’s David Bowie


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Bertolt Brecht: Here’s David Bowie in ‘Baal’

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To celebrate Bertolt Brecht’s birthday, here is David Bowie in the BBC production of Brecht’s play Baal, from 1982. It was directed by Alan Clarke, the talent behind such controversial TV dramas as Scum with a young Ray Winstone, Made in Britain, with Tim Roth, and Elephant.

Baal was Brecht’s first full-length play, written in 1918, and it tells the story of a traveling musician / poet, who seduces and destroys with callous indifference.

Bowie is excellent as Baal and the five songs he sings in this production were co-produced with Tony Visconti, and later released as the EP David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal.
 

 
More of ‘Baal’ starring David Bowie, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment