The Flight across the Ocean

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The Flight across the Ocean (Der Ozeanflug) is a Lehrstück by the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht, inspired by We, Charles Lindbergh's 1927 account of his transatlantic flight. Written for the Baden-Baden Music Festival, it was originally entitled Lindbergh's Flight (Der Lindberghflug) and premiered in 1929 with music by Kurt Weill and Paul Hindemith in a broadcast by the Southwest German Radio Orchestra under the direction of Hermann Scherchen.[1]

Shortly afterwards, Weill replaced the Hindemith sections with his own music and this new version (described as a 'cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra') opened at Berlin's Kroll Theatre on 5 December 1929, conducted by Otto Klemperer. The play was enlarged as Der Flug der Lindbergh in 1930, but the new portion was not set to music.

In 1950 Brecht removed Lindbergh's name for a production by the Südwestrundfunk, adding a preface denouncing Lindbergh's contributions to the technology of terror bombing as well as his wartime anti-interventionism and alleged Nazi sympathies. The original line "My name is Charles Lindbergh" became "My name is of no account". [2]

Recording[edit]

Hindemith, Weill: Der Lindberghflug - Berlin Radio Orchestra and chorus (1930), Cologne Radio Orchestra and Pro Musica Vocal Ensemble (1987)

  • Conductor: Hermann Scherchen (1930), Jan Latham-Koenig (1987)
  • Principal singers: Ernest Ginsberg (narrator), Erik Wirl (tenor), Fritz Duttbernd (tenor), Gerhard Pechner (voice), Betty Mergler (soprano) (1930), Wolfgang Schmidt, Herbert Feckler, Lorenz Minth, Christoph Scheeben (1987)
  • Recording location & date: 18 March 1930 (Berlin) and 1987
  • Label: Capriccio - C60012-1 (CD)

References[edit]