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Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera

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GUEST,Rich Gay 10 Jan 05 - 04:50 PM
Snuffy 10 Jan 05 - 07:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jan 05 - 07:29 PM
Cool Beans 10 Jan 05 - 07:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM
curmudgeon 10 Jan 05 - 09:00 PM
M.Ted 10 Jan 05 - 11:21 PM
Dave Hanson 11 Jan 05 - 02:25 AM
alanabit 11 Jan 05 - 11:22 AM
mack/misophist 11 Jan 05 - 12:02 PM
Torctgyd 11 Jan 05 - 12:08 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Jan 05 - 12:10 PM
Ellenpoly 11 Jan 05 - 12:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Jan 05 - 01:27 PM
Weasel Books 11 Jan 05 - 02:08 PM
M.Ted 12 Jan 05 - 01:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Jan 05 - 10:12 PM
M.Ted 13 Jan 05 - 01:06 AM
LadyJean 13 Jan 05 - 01:15 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jan 05 - 02:00 AM
Weasel Books 13 Jan 05 - 12:01 PM
M.Ted 13 Jan 05 - 01:38 PM
EBarnacle 13 Jan 05 - 06:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Sinclair H. 13 Feb 17 - 06:01 PM
EBarnacle 13 Feb 17 - 08:08 PM
Joe_F 13 Feb 17 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 14 Feb 17 - 01:27 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: GUEST,Rich Gay
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 04:50 PM

SO do Y'all think JOhn Gays the beggars opera, or bertolt brecth and kurt weill's the threepenny opera is a finer piece of work?
Rich


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 07:20 PM

Yes


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 07:29 PM

No


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Cool Beans
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 07:39 PM

One's got music, the other doesn't. It's like comparing "Pygmalion" and "My Fair Lady." Hard to say which is better. If you want to know which one folks prefer, that's a more answerable question.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM

They've both got music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: curmudgeon
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 09:00 PM

I'm partial to Burns's cantata, "The Jolly Beggars."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 11:21 PM

They are both interesting, musically, but very different--Weill used one of the Gay's melodies, in the manner of a tribute. There is also another version, Beggar's Holiday, with music written by Duke Ellington, and of course, the Benjamin Britten opera--Why not like them all?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 02:25 AM

possibly

eric


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: alanabit
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 11:22 AM

It's a bit like asking whether cats are better than dogs. If you want to shout, "Here Rover!" and go for five mile walks in the rain, I guess you are not a cat person.
John Gay was an opportunist, who took advantage of the fact that copyright laws (if they existed at all) were regarded in a relaxed manner. He wrote an improbable, but entertaining story. That was his only (artistic?) ambition.
Our Bert was a very different animal. His aims were far more ambitious and he was conscioulsy didactic. I like his burning wit and irony, but I guess it isn't for everyone.
Interestingly enough, although it was a box office success, Brecht himself regarded it as essentially a failure. He felt that his didactic intentions were being overlooked by the audience. Two years later, he collaberated (with Weill again I think, but I don't have time to look it up) on Mahagonny. Nobody could possibly miss the blunt intentions of that play. Crude as it is, I prefer it. I believe most Mudcatters would recognise the song, "Show Me The Way To The Next Whisky Bar" from it.
Brecht was a vain,devious and arrogant man.(He did not even learn to speak English during his years of exile in the US, which certainly saved his life). He could write a bit though!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: mack/misophist
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 12:02 PM

Many recognize and remember the works of Brecht and Weill, almost no one knows Gay's music. It sounds like history has spoken. It is interesting, though, that Gay's opera began the decline of Handel's career. After it came out, the public wasn't very interested in oratorios any more.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Torctgyd
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 12:08 PM

Almost no one knows Gay's music???

Wasn't most of it popular tunes of the day (many of which are still heard today in a non beggarly environment) with the music orchestrated by a German (IIRC) whose name escapes me at the mo.

I prefer the Beggar's Opera.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 12:10 PM

Just for some historical perspective:

Beggar's Opera was probably a bigger cultural shocker in 1728 than Threepenny was in the 1930s. It was certainly, from a popular standpoint, considerably more successful. It was a parody of the then-becoming-very-popular Italian operas, which featured formal music and the doings of the nobility; Gay used pop (folk) tunes, and concentrated on the underside of English life.
    He was no less cynical than Brecht. Read the lyrics. Such as
"But gold from law can take out the sting
And if rich men, like me, were to swing
T'would thin the land such numbers to string
Upon Tyburn tree" (to tune of Greensleeves)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 12:18 PM

I love both, but I do think Gay's music will be around longer, as so many of the pieces were old folk tunes to begin with.

But what dick said above is important to remember. Three Penny Opera was both thrilling, shocking, and sophisticated when it was first performed in much the same way as Beggar's Opera was centuries before.

Between the two, though, I think Beggar's Opera will be performed more often in the future.

Lucky we are to have them both on excellent recordings!

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 01:27 PM

Any recommendations on the Barlow- Broadside Band version of "The Beggar's Opera"?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Weasel Books
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 02:08 PM

I like both, but personally preffer Gay's. Though Brecht was to our century what Gay was to the 18th.
Just love Mack The Knife though!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 01:18 PM

Just finished Dylan's new autobiography(the first installment) and he explains that the music of Brecht and Weill inspired him write songs, and he explains what he saw in it that layed the foundations for his writing style--He was not the first--the Gershwins and Oscar Hammerstein,Jr among others, had seen Threepenny Opera used it as their model to create the American Musical Theater as we know it today--

Brecht was the original protest singer, armed with his guitar, his intellectual leftism, his condescending attitude, and his leather motorcycle jacket, he was the first singer songwriter to take on the fascists--


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 10:12 PM

... and, though he was a fine writer, his singing was absolutely ghastly. Plus ça change.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 01:06 AM

His voice was not that bad--certainly much more pleasant to hear his versions of his own songs than those of say, Dave Van Ronk--


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: LadyJean
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 01:15 AM

I read in the "Atlantic Monthly" that Brech plagiarized the "Threepenny Opera".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 02:00 AM

LadyJean, that lie about "Drei groschen Oper" has been around for some time. And his name is Bertolt Brecht. Both he and Kurt Weill acknowledged a debt to Gay's Beggars Opera, but there nothing plagiaristic about their lyrics and music, except four songs adapted from a failed German version of "Villon." This also was acknowledged at the time. Although flawed and flippant, it remains an important influence on modern theatre and music, but it requires some knowledge of the 1920s to understand it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Weasel Books
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 12:01 PM

It's a reworking of the Beggar's Opera, not a ripoff.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 01:38 PM

Whether is is flawed, I suppose is a matter of debate--it was intended to be ironic and to parody opera(in the spirit of the original)The genius of the piece remains intact--it can still be produced today, conveying it's original message, and with it's original power--at least if you do the Marc Blitzstein translation--and if you don't cast Sting as MacHeath--


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: EBarnacle
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 06:31 PM

Gee, that's like arguing over Pygmalion vs My Fair Lady.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM

Well, I don't think GBS would have been too happy with what they did to Pygmalion. Though he was pragmatic enough to have taken the money and let them get on with it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: GUEST,Sinclair H.
Date: 13 Feb 17 - 06:01 PM

From what I understand as far as popularity goes the Beggar's Opera has been performed every year since 1728. The lyrics have a lot to say about all of the classes high and low behaving badly and begs the question as to who is copying whom. It was written as a reaction, in a bit of xenophobia,to put some English music on the stage in place of the Italian operas that were so popular.

There is a movie of the Beggar's Opera with an arrangement by Britten which is a gem and I recommend everyone try and view it if you haven't seen it yet. It was made in 1963 and it includes really great performances by all of the casts including Janet Baker.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: EBarnacle
Date: 13 Feb 17 - 08:08 PM

As one who is trying to get an adapted Shakespeare Falstaff produced by a major company, I believe both jobs were well done.

Ted,go to Phil Ochs memorial concert, Then comment on Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Feb 17 - 08:47 PM

Brecht adapted -- not plagiarized -- The Beggar's Opera. But within Die Dreigroschenoper, he did plagiarize Kipling and Villon. When called on it, he retorted that as a communist he did not believe in private property.

I am grateful to curmudgeon for mentioning Burns's cantata, which surely belongs in the canon of epater le bourgeois.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 14 Feb 17 - 01:27 PM

When I look online for journals contemporary with the Beggar's Opera, to see how that famous quote was written, what I find is:

"It made Rich gay, and it made Gay rich." Consistently in that order.

So Michael Flanders, in his Guide to Britten, flipped this around in order to get a more workable rhyme, in the 1950's (Airs on a Shoestring):

Of the first Beggar's Opera, they used to say
That it made Gay rich, and it made Rich gay;
Revived by our hero after all these years,
It made
Bundles for Britten
and
Piles for Pears.

I saw a university-level student production, directed and produced by faculty members, which took BOTH pieces and made a mash-up of them. They opened with a big strapping baritone swinging his way through Mac the Knife, then moved on to 'Through All the Employments of Life,' with the Peachums. It was all high-spirited and great fun: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I guess Brecht would have found it too cheerful and good-natured for his taste. I had a wonderful time.


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