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Mack the Knife

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Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill

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General Info

Year: 1928 / 1996
Duration: c. 2:20
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Song
Publisher: Alfred Music Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Electric or String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Old Mackie's back in town! One of the most recorded (and recognized) songs of all time now appears in a swingin' version. Beginning with a 'big band swing' chorus, followed by a soft 'Basie-style' chorus, and ending with a full throttle 'shout' chorus, this arrangement will have you grabbing the fire extinguisher.

- Program Note adapted from publisher

Mack the Knife or The Ballad of Mack the Knife (German: Die Moritat von Mackie Messer) is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their 1928 music drama The Threepenny Opera. The song has become a popular standard recorded by many artists, including a U.S. and UK number one hit for Bobby Darin in 1959.

A "moritat" is a medieval version of the murder ballad performed by strolling minstrels. In The Threepenny Opera, the Moritat singer with his street organ introduces and closes the drama with the tale of the deadly Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife, a character based on the dashing highwayman Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (who was in turn based on the historical thief Jack Sheppard). The Brecht-Weill version of the character was far more cruel and sinister, and has been transformed into a modern antihero. The play opens with the Moritat singer comparing Macheath (unfavorably) with a shark and then telling tales of his crimes: arson, robbery, rape, murder.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Fairfield (Iowa) Community Band (Jim Eddgeton, conductor) - 8 August 2022

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Mack the Knife. Wikipedia. Accessed 9 August 2022
  • Weill, K.; Dye, K. (1996). Mack the Knife: Concert Band [score]. Warner Bros.: [s.l.].