Hanns Eisler: CDs, Videos, Books Books

Bullet Fourteen Ways of Describing Eisler
Bullet Symphonic, Chamber and Piano Music
Bullet Vocal and Choral Music
Bullet Videos with Eisler Film Scores
Bullet Books by and about Eisler
Bullet Political Music and the Urban Folk Revival

October Book of the Month

Betz Hanns Eisler: Political Musician  Buy this book
Albrecht Betz
Cambridge University Press (1983)
Buy from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de or from Cambridge University Press.

Translated from Betz's 1976 study "Hanns Eisler: Musik einer Zeit die sich eben bildet." The most important Eisler biography available in English. Places Eisler in his contexts: radical composer in the Weimar Republic, Bertolt Brecht's creative partner, composer of Hollywood film scores and experimental twelve-tone music as an exile from Nazi Germany, deportation from the U.S. and final years as a composer and teacher in East Germany. Includes music samples and a complete list of works.

The Brecht-Eisler Songbook  Buy this book
Eric Bentley (1967)
Oak Publications (1968)

The only collection of the music for Eisler's songs for Brecht's theater to be published in the United States. Songs were translated into English by Eric Bentley, with piano and guitar notation, plus some interesting notes dating back to the time—in the late 1960s—when Eisler's music was beginning to regain some credibility in the United States.

Hanns Eisler: A Miscellany  Buy this book
Editor, David Blake
Harwood Academic Publishers (1996)

Articles by Hanns Eisler, son Georg Eisler, music historian Georg Knepler and others explore the main themes of Eisler's life and music. Edited by Eisler's only British composition student. The complete libretto of Eisler's controversial Faustus opera is included in English translation. A chapter analyzing Eisler's distinctive use of the twelve-tone method is noteworthy.

A Rebel in Music  Buy this book
Editor, Manfred Grabs
Kahn & Averill (2000)

Includes Eisler lectures and articles on "Problems of Working-Class Music," "Hollywood Seen from the Left," "On Stupidity in Music" and other subjects. A recently reissued reprint of the 1978 edition by the CPUSA publishing house. Translated from a German collection originally published in the GDR. Grabs, a composer and music historian, was editor of the Eisler Collected Works.

Composing for the Films  Buy this book
Theodor Adorno and Hanns Eisler
Oxford University Press (1947), reprint by Athlone Press (1994)

First published in 1947, this classic account of the aesthetics of film music concentrates on practical and social issues. In it, Eisler explores his theory that film music (like his compositions for Brecht's theater) should not sentimentally reinforce the script but should stand apart as comment that enables the audience to detach themselves from the action on the screen and reflect on its meaning.

Poems 1913-1956  Buy this book
Bertolt Brecht, trans. John Willett
Routledge (1987)

Definitive English version of many of the poems for which Eisler and other composers wrote music—including the works that trace Brecht's experience of exile, which Eisler collected into his "Hollywood Songbook." Valuable because liner notes from the Berlin Classics series of GDR recordings of Eisler's music usually do not provide English translations.

Poems and Songs from the Plays  Buy this book
Bertolt Brecht, trans. John Willett
Methuen (1992)

Supplements the previous book: English translations of poems from Brecht's plays, including those for which Eisler wrote the music: The Measures Taken, The Mother, Roundheads and Pointy-heads, Schweyk in the Second World War, Galileo.

Art and Politics in the Weimar Period  Buy this book
John Willett
Da Capo Press (1996)

One of the most engaging and useful introductions to politics, painting, stage, film and music in Weimar Germany—an excellent resource for understanding Eisler's passion for politically "engaged" music. Unfortunately out of print, but used copies are available from Amazon.

Communazis  Buy this book
Alexander Stephan
Yale University Press (2001)

Historian Alexander Stephan exposes a massive program by U.S. security services during World War II to spy on antifascist German exiles—including Eisler, Brecht, Thomas Mann and many others.

Thirty Years of Treason: Excerpts from Hearings Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1938-1968   Buy this book
Ed., Eric Bentley
Nation Books (2002)

Brecht/Eisler scholar Eric Bentley has published transcripts of the key testimony during the U.S. Congress witchhunt for subversives in the Hollywood film industry. Includes the two sessions with Hanns Eisler—the first artist blacklisted for his leftist background—along with the interrogations of Bertolt Brecht, Ring Lardner, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Zero Mostel and many others. This is the definitive collection for anyone interested in the investigations of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which continued its activities into the late 1960s.

Hanns Eisler: Political Musician  Buy this book
Albrecht Betz
Cambridge University Press (1983)

Translated from Betz's 1976 study "Hanns Eisler: Musik einer Zeit die sich eben bildet." The most important Eisler biography available in English. Places Eisler in his contexts: radical composer in the Weimar Republic, Bertolt Brecht's creative partner, composer of Hollywood film scores and experimental twelve-tone music as an exile from Nazi Germany, deportation from the U.S. and final years as a composer and teacher in East Germany. Includes music samples and a complete list of works.

Videos with Eisler Film Scores   Top   About Us
Return to Home Page Return to Eisler Home Page
 

The recently reprinted book of essays edited by Manfred Grabs, A Rebel in Music, is a good introduction.