I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Jewish Composers – Celebrated and Expulsed


“I’m a Stranger Here Myself“ – the title of the well-known song from the musical comedy One Touch of Venus (1943) by Kurt Weill could hardly be more befitting for our concert project.

With this concert programme, we focus on composers whose religion and ancestry were once rejected in Austria and Germany, who were ostracized and finally driven to emigration.

We explore the question how differently the composers affected dealt with this drastic and forced change in their artistic, cultural and private milieu, and how these changes affected their artistic oeuvre. Our concert aims to make emigration graspable and illustrate the phenomenon. The first part presents compositions written in Europe, the second those written in America.

On the one hand, the goal is to rediscover works which enjoyed immense popularity at the time they were written, but are hardly played today, and rescue them from oblivion; on the other, we wish to highlight the connections between composers and the circumstances of their life.

In the process, we will contextualize works by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Arnold Schoenberg, Kurt Weill, George Gershwin and others.

We are delighted that KS Angelika Kirchschlager has agreed to participate in this project. She has long engaged in an intense exploration of Kurt Weill’s music and has established herself as an ideal interpreter of his very special “song style”. For Kurt Weill, she finds the ideal tone – somewhere between grand opera singing and the inflection of the “chanson” – which only so few singers are able to hit. Effortlessly, she slips into the different female figures created by Weill and his various librettists; with her incredible sensitivity, she and her musical partners plumb the emotional depths of the characters.

The programme was performed on April 21, 2016 as part of the spring festival at the Brucknerhaus in Linz and on April 29, 2016 as part of the Jeunesse concerts at Vienna’s Konzerthaus.


Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)
Suite aus der Bühnenmusik zu Shakespeares „Viel Lärm um nichts“ op.11 (1918)

Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)
Notturno für Streicher und Harfe (1896)

Dimitri Schostakowitsch (1906-1975)
Jazz Suite No. 1 (1934)

Kurt Weill (1900-1950)
Lieder aus der europäischen Zeit

  • Havanna-Lied aus „Mahagonny“ (1927)
  • Surabaya Johnny aus „Happy End“ (1929)
  • Ich bin eine arme Verwandte aus „Der Silbersee“ (1932)
  • Entracte aus „Der Silbersee“
  • Prolog aus „Die sieben Todsünden“ (1933)
  • J’attends un navire aus „Marie Galante“ (1934)


Kurt Weill (1900-1950)
Songs aus der amerikanischen Zeit

  • Ouvertüre zu „One touch of Venus“ (1943)
  • I‘m a stranger here myself aus „One touch of Venus“
  • Speak low aus „One touch of Venus“
  • The Saga of Jenny aus „Lady in the dark" (1940)
  • September Song aus „Knickerbocker Holiday“ (1938)
  • One life to live aus „Lady in the dark“

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Rhapsody in Blue in der Originalfassung für Jazzorchester (1924)

Audio samples

1 Ouvertüre zu „Viel Lärm um nichts“ (Live-Mitschnitt)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
2 Entracte aus „Der Silbersee“ (Live-Mitschnitt)
Kurt Weill
3 One life to live aus „Lady in the dark“ (Live-Mitschnitt)
Kurt Weill