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january 2009

ars — exitus acta probat
 
the end justifies the means

Scene4 Magazine - January 2009 - Special Issue: "The One" - ars-exitus acta probat | Arthur Meiselman

The One...
the one most influential work or artist
in a genre in the past 100 years.

The proposal asks if and when this version of the human species disappears from this small planet in this vast universe, what haunting traces may remain. It poses the question of which Ones in our 'blink-of-the-eye' recent history define the arts that surround and represent us. The proposal is provocative not in making a case for the selection, but in the selection itself. The Scene4 writers who contributed to this issue offer some surprising and unpredictable insights.

What surprises do you have? You can share a selection or two of your own by submitting it Here. Perhaps we'll build a list and digitize it.

—The Editors

kurtweill-2cr
music

Kurt Weill
Speak Low
Arthur Meiselman

With no hesitation, I focused on Kurt Weill. If you listen to a thousand pop and rock songs from the past 50 years, you'll hear the influence of Weill not only in the renditions of his tunes but also in the inspiration of his innovative and experimental instrumentation. If you listen to a hundred theatre musicals from the past 50 years, you'll hear the threaded changes that Weill's theatre music provoked beginning with his singular collaboration with Bertolt Brecht. If you listen to contemporary concert music, you will hear and feel the astonishing impact that comes from the body of Weill's symphonies, quartets, nocturnes and lieder.

Kurt Weill lived, exactly, during the first half of the 20th century. When he died in 1950, the distinguished music critic and composer, Virgil Thomson, said this about him:
"He was the most original single workman in the whole musical theater, internationally considered, during the last quarter century... Every work was a new model, a new shape, a new solution to dramatic problems."

For me... that says it all!

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©2009 Arthur Meiselman
©2009 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Arthur Meiselman is a playwright, writer
and the editor of Scene4.

For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives
Read his Blog

 

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