Kurt Weill’s ‘Four Walt Whitman Songs’ with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Thomas Hampson joins the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks to perform one of his signature works, Kurt Weill’s Four Walt Whitman Songs. Under the baton of Mariss Jansons, the concerts will take place on May 16 & 17 at the Herkulessaal in Munich, and on May 18 at the Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg. Also on the program, Jansons will lead the orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, and Respighi’s Pini di Roma.

Weill set to music three works by the great American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Five years later, he completed the series by adding a fourth song. Originally for voice and piano, they were later adapted for voice and orchestra by Carlos Surinach and the team of Weill and Irving Schlein. The carefully fashioned piano part of the originals and the fine sensibility with which Weill transformed the poetry’s complex structures into music provide obvious evidence of his training in the European song tradition. At the same time, he employed a decidedly American idiom at certain points. Learn more about the work here.