Ballads of the Pleasant Life: Kurt Weill, Weimar and Exile Peter Coleman-Wright and Nexas Quartet ABC Classics Not quite 40 years ago, Teresa Stratas caused a stir with her performances and recordings of the music of Kurt Weill. Lotte Lenya, Weill’s widow, had entrusted the Greek-American soprano with unknown versions and manuscripts of her husband’s music. It emerged that Lenya had made adjustments to the music, even transposing some songs to suit her limited vocal capacity. All this suggested Weill viewed his songs as art songs in the tradition of Schubert and Brahms, not just as cabaret tunes. In that spirit, baritone Peter Coleman-Wright has drawn on the collection of Barry Humphries, well known as an expert in all things Weimar. Together they have released a recital of 20 songs by Weill and Hanns Eisler, and others better known as opera composers, Franz Schreker, Robert Stolz and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The selections are grouped in three brackets — workers’ songs, love songs and Weill standards — and are accompanied in the main by the sassy Weimar sound of the Sydney-based Nexas saxophone quartet. Coleman-Wright, that consummate operatic singer-actor, brings his dazzling stage skills to the fore in the hilarious catalogue of Russian composers collated in Tschaikowsky as well as the overripe morsel of Arnold Schoenberg, Dank. Any shortcomings are compensated for by the glistening clarity and Teutonic precision of the saxophones, with contributions from pianist Benjamin Burton.