Weill Symphonies 1 & 2, Kleine Dreigroschenmusik
The First Symphony was a student composition in one movement and shows considerable promise. It had been lost and only surfaced in the 1950s when his widow Lotte Lenya placed advertisements in the newspapers.
Swierczewski makes a good case for this dramatic, if rather episodic, work, and the performance and recording here are also very good.
Separating the two symphonies is some of Weill's most familiar music taken from his hit Threepenny Opera. It was the distinguished conductor Otto Klemperer who commissioned Weill to make a suite for winds from the theatre work. The Suite presented here has taken on a life of its own and has provided wind ensembles with some of the most delicious music of the composer. More than the two symphonies, the Kleine Dreigroschenmusik with its jazz rhythms, and use of such "popular" instruments as saxophone, banjo, and guitar, shows the side of the composer that is unique and that will forever remain in one's mind as being "Weill". This includes "Mack, the Knife", but much else besides. Swierczewski and his Gulbenkian instrumentalists capture the infectious spirit of this music very well.
Leslie Wright, Musicweb-international.com