The One about “The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink”


As a cinema fan of films created in the Weimar Republic, I was interested in learning about the renown poet Bertolt Brecht and the avant-garde composer Kurt Weill.

I was very interested in the book as it delved into the relationship between Elisabeth Hauptmann, a German writer who worked with Brecht as a co-author of “The Threepenny Opera” and worked with both men.

But also his relationship with actress Helene Weigel.

And for Kurt Weill, his working relationship with Brecht but also his relationship with his wife, singer Lenya Lotte.

Pamela Katz is a well-researched book on the lives of these five individuals and how their creativity was allowed to blossom during the Weimar Republic.

But reading Katz book, I was surprised to see how both men who created their legacy with “The Threepenny Opera” had such a troubled relationship. Moreso due to Brecht, who showed disdain for working with Kurt Weill, considering Weill did much for his career. It was simply about a man who believed in the power of music, the other believing in the power of words. While they tried to remain civil, it was proving that both men had their own opinion about their work and what is more important. Especially when it came to ideology.

But reading the book, it’s interesting to see how things were behind-the-scenes especially with their collaboration for “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny”.

There is a lot of research that went into the history of both men and their work together, but also life post-World War II. I was very impressed of how thorough Pamela Katz was able to learn about both men and the women in their lives and building the case of how this magnificent partnership would eventually come to an end.

A wonderful, insightful, well-written book on the working relationship of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill! Pamela Katz “The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink” is recommended!