The Music of Langston Hughes

Unsung Weill –


SKU: 49012424 Categories: , ,

Product Description

Unsung Weill 

22 Songs Cut from Broadway Shows and Hollywood Films

Schott Softcover

  • Series:  Schott
  • Publisher: Schott
  • Format: Softcover
  • Composer:  Kurt Weill

For over fifty years these treasures have lain dormant in the archives! Now at last this volume of Unsung Weill brings together 22 previously unpublished songs from the pen of the celebrated composer of the Threepenny Opera. All these songs were cut from successful Broadway shows for practical reasons, though they lack nothing of the quality of Kurt Weill’s world-renowned hit songs. The words are by legendary songwriters such as Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Langston Hughes and Ogden Nash. This volume contains plenty of photographs of the composer and of his songwriters, making it an ideal gift and an essential for any fan of Weill. All the pieces are presented in simple arrangements for solo voice and piano in easy keys, with chord symbols included.


Product Details

  • Inventory: #HL 49012424
  • ISBN: 9780913574959
  • UPC: 073999335545
  • Publisher Code: EA830
  • Width: 9.0″
  • Length: 12.0″
  • Page Count: 95 Pages

Langston Hughes: The Unsung Weill

Langston Hughes, a prolific African American poet, playwright, and social activist, is widely celebrated for his contributions to the Harlem Renaissance and his powerful, evocative poems that spoke to the African American experience in the United States. However, one aspect of Hughes’s career that often goes unsung is his collaboration with Kurt Weill, a German composer known for his innovative work in musical theater. Hughes and Weill’s partnership resulted in a series of remarkable works that deserve recognition for their cultural significance and artistic brilliance.

Kurt Weill, born in 1900 in Germany, was a composer who defied easy categorization. He began his career writing classical music but transitioned to the world of musical theater and opera, becoming one of the most influential figures of the Weimar Republic’s cabaret scene. Weill’s music was marked by its eclectic nature, blending elements of classical music, jazz, and popular song. His ability to weave diverse musical traditions into cohesive compositions made him a perfect collaborator for Hughes, who was similarly known for his ability to blend traditional forms with contemporary themes.

The collaboration between Langston Hughes and Kurt Weill produced several notable works, with “Street Scene” (1947) and “Down in the Valley” (1948) being among the most well-known. “Street Scene” was a groundbreaking piece that combined elements of opera and musical theater, showcasing Weill’s ability to incorporate a wide range of musical styles, from jazz to classical, while Hughes provided a compelling narrative that captured the struggles and aspirations of ordinary people living in a New York City tenement. The piece was a critical and commercial success and earned Hughes and Weill widespread acclaim.

“Down in the Valley” was another collaboration that showcased the versatility of both artists. This folk opera, set in the American South, explored themes of love, justice, and redemption. Weill’s music, influenced by American folk tunes, was a perfect complement to Hughes’s poetic storytelling. The work is a testament to the power of collaboration, as it seamlessly blends the distinctive styles of both artists into a coherent and emotionally resonant whole.

One of the most striking aspects of Hughes and Weill’s collaboration was their shared commitment to addressing social issues and advocating for change through their art. Hughes, a fervent advocate for civil rights and social justice, infused his lyrics with messages of hope and equality. Weill, who had fled Nazi Germany and witnessed the horrors of authoritarianism, brought a sense of urgency to their work. Together, they used their creative talents to shed light on the inequalities and injustices of their time.

In addition to their musical collaborations, Hughes and Weill’s friendship and creative partnership extended beyond the stage. They shared a common vision of using art to inspire change and challenge societal norms. Their work served as a powerful example of the potential for collaboration across cultural and artistic boundaries.

Despite the enduring impact of their work, the collaboration between Langston Hughes and Kurt Weill is often overlooked in discussions of their individual legacies. Hughes is celebrated primarily for his poetry, while Weill is remembered for his contributions to the world of musical theater. However, their collaborative efforts deserve recognition as a unique and innovative fusion of artistic talents that transcended genre and nationality.

Langston Hughes and Kurt Weill’s collaboration represents a powerful intersection of poetry and music, activism and artistry. Their works, including “Street Scene” and “Down in the Valley,” continue to resonate with audiences today for their ability to convey universal themes of love, justice, and the human experience. It is important to recognize the unsung Weill in Langston Hughes’s career and the enduring impact of their partnership on American culture and the world of musical theater. As we celebrate the contributions of both artists, let us not forget the remarkable synergy that arose when these two creative forces came together to create something truly extraordinary.

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SKU: 49012424 Categories: , ,


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The Music of Langston Hughes

Inspired by his messages of justice, freedom, and the hope that a brighter future lies ahead, notable composers and arrangers have beautifully coupled Langston Hughes' passionate words with equally captivating music.

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This Music of Langston Hughes website has been developed by the Fred Bock Publishing Group.

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