BMG today announced that is has struck a deal with the estate of legendary German-born composer Kurt Weill for the administration of the popular songs he wrote in collaboration with dramatist Bertolt Brecht.
Included are all of the songs from the acclaimed works “The Threepenny Opera” (1928), “Happy End” (1929) and “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” (1930). It marks the first time the catalogue has moved since 1956, at the time of the off-Broadway production of “The Threepenny Opera” that ran a then-record 2,707 performances in New York.
Lotte Lenya, Weill’s widow and renowned interpreter of his music, bequeathed her rights in his work to the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music in 1981. Foundation President Kim Kowalke said, “We at the Foundation are thrilled by this new partnership with BMG, which promises to deliver exciting new opportunities for expanding the impact of Weill’s artistry to an ever-broader audience.”
The catalogue includes the timeless standard “Mack The Knife.” Named one of the hundred most popular songs of the twentieth century, it has been covered by artists ranging from Louis Armstrong and Marianne Faithfull to Nick Cave and Robbie Williams to Sonny Rollins and Ella Fitzgerald. Bobby Darin’s recording of the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart in 1959. Also included in the catalogue are “Alabama Song” (covered by The Doors, David Bowie, and Ute Lemper) and “Pirate Jenny” (covered by Nina Simone, Hildegard Knef, Judy Collins, Marc Almond, and Sasha Velour).
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “It is quite simply an honor for BMG to represent the Kurt Weill catalogue. It is also appropriate that BMG as a Berlin-based international music company should represent these historic works. It was in Berlin that Kurt Weill first met Lotte Lenya and it was in Berlin that Weill and Brecht most notably worked together. We look forward to working with the Kurt Weill Foundation to further spread the word about this extraordinary music.”