Michaela Kaune, soprano; Dietrich Henschel, bariton; Axel Bauni, piano
Recent recording that explores Eisler's early atonal and twelve-tone vocal repertory as well as the wartime lieder composed during his exile in southern California. Includes his very early Galgenlieder (Gallows Songs) written directly after World War I, before he studied under Schönberg, plus the transitional Zeitungsauschnitte (Newspaper Clippings), Lustige Ecke, and the six Hölderlin Fragments.
Along with Goerne's, one of the two outstanding interpretations of Eisler's "Hollywood Songbook" released for the composer's centenary in 1998. Unfortunately, only used copies appear to be available through the Amazon.com website, and the Amazon sites in the UK and Germany have dropped the recording completely.
We recommend this recording because it includes both the choral and ochestral versions of the Eisler/Becher National Anthem of the German Democratic Republic. Also, the Eisler/Brecht Children's Hymn ("Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe") with its remarkable line that summarizes Germany's postwar reality: "...that the nations will not grow pale as if confronted by a robber," i.e., when they meet a German in the street. Also of interest: rousing performances of the Soviet national anthem, patriotic Russian choruses from World War II, the Internationale, and classic socialist marches from Germany, Britain, Italy and Poland.
Eisler was striving in the later years of the Weimar Republic to develop a communicative style of political song. These choruses were written to be sung by Communist choral societies in the "Agitprop" (Agitation-Propaganda) movement. Most of Eisler's best-known political choruses are on this album, including "Coal for Mike," a Brecht song based on Sherwood Anderson's story about a railroad worker's widow in Ohio.
Heiner Goebbels organized, rehearsed and arranged some of the music for this contemporary interpretation of Eisler's songs and chamber music. It has introduced a new generation of European audiences to Eisler, and now the performance can be purchased on CD. Press reviews are available on the ECM website.
Highly recommended. GDR recordings of the Little Woodbury Song Book (composed for a children's choir in Woodbury, Connecticut), other collections of children's songs, the cantata Against War, the postwar Becher/Eisler New German Folk Songs, and the choral version of the GDR national anthem.
Highly recommended. Recent recording on songs set to Hölderlin poetry by Eisler, Britten, Ullman, Komma, Reutter, Fröhlich, Cornelius, Jarnach, Hauer, Pfitzner and Fortner. An excellent album showing how the 19th-century Hölderlin inspired some of the great 20th-century composers.
Highly recommended. An unusual collection of music by composers of many different styles who composed lieder before, during and after the Weimar era: Eisler, Weill, Strauss, Zemlinksy, others. Juxtaposing the late-Romantic and pro-Nazi Strauss on the same album with the anti-Romantic and anti-Nazi Eisler is an interesting choice.
The second Brecht/Eisler collaborationon incidental music for the 1930 didactic play Die Mutterwas later rescored by Eisler as a cantata for choir and soloists with double piano accompaniment. Besides the cantata, this CD includes Four (Piano) Pieces, Op. 13; songs from the Little Woodbury Songbook; and the Brecht/Eisler Litanie vom Hauch (Litany of Breath), Op. 21. Also available from the Chandos Records website.
An earlier recording from GDR times of the cantata based on Die Mutter. Also includes two lively selections from Suite Nr. 4 ("Youth Has the Floor").
A collector's item: recordings of Brecht/Eisler political songs from the Weimar years, sung by Ernst Busch, along with an early 50s recording by the Berliner Ensemble of the songs from Brecht's Die Mutter.
Dagmar Krause's unusual interpretations of Weill/Eisler provide a good opportunity to compare the contrastings styles of the two most important composers for Brecht. Includes selections in German and in English translation. Available from some e-commerce sites, and directly from the distributor at voiceprint.co.uk.
In Krause's second album of political songs, she concentrates solely on Eisler's Weimar and exile periods. Includes a rare recording of Und Endlich Stirbt ("And desire finally dies") based on a poem by Peter Altenburg. German and English. Also available at the distributor's website at voiceprint.co.uk.
Sylvia Anders interprets Brecht songs with music by Brecht, Eisler, Weill, Dessau. Includes Eisler's Das Deutsche Miserere, Song of a German Mother, Abortion is Illegalalthough sarcastic renditions of Solidaritätslied and Einheitsfrontlied might be considered by some listeners as distractions from an otherwise excellent performance.
Sylvia Anders interprets the Brecht/Eisler repertory, including the same songs recorded in her Bertolt Brecht album, but also including a generous selection from the Hollywood Songbook.
Goethe songs by Eisler, Schubert, Webern.
A collection of sometimes rousing, sometimes dreadful political music from East Germany, 1949-1988, in a variety of popular styles. Includes the Becher/Eisler GDR national anthem, Becher/Eisler Song of the Blue Banner (composed for a 1950 rally of the Free German Youth), Brehm/Eisler Over the Elbe Go My Thanks.
This CD offers probably the best available recording of the Brecht/Eisler Solidaritätslied (Solidarity Song): a recording by Ernst Busch late in the late 1960s, when his voice was still strong and modern recording techniques show off Eisler's jazz-band orchestration of this militant hit from the Roaring Twenties.
Includes additional songs from Eisler's Tucholsky Lieder: Revolutions Rückblick, Ja Damals, Rosen auf den Weg gestreut, others.
Original recordings from the 1930s of Busch singing Brecht/Eisler and other popular working-class songs. Recorded in Berlin before Hitler's rise to power, and in the Soviet Union after Busch's flight from Germany.
More recordings with Busch singing Eisler and other popular songs in the last years of the Weimar Republic and the early years of exile. The sample is an original recording of Kurt Tucholsky's Ballad of the Welfare System.
Vol. I of Barbarossa's reissue of the classic "Lied der Zeit" series of East German recordings from 1946 to 1953 of Busch singing a broad repertory of revolutionary songs, including classics of the Spanish Civil War and new songs reflecting the tensions of the Cold War. Composers include Kurt Weill, Dmitri Shostakovich, Paul Dessau, Louis Fürnberg. Eisler is represented on each of these recordings. On this CD: Solidaritätslied, Einheitfrontslied, Brüder seid bereit (music for the 1929 Kominternlied with new lyrics), Lied der Bergarbeiter, Lob eines Revolutionärs.
Vol. II of Lied der Zeit. Eisler selections include Wir Reichen euch die Hand; Ami, go home; Wenn die Soldaten; Den daran, Marlene; In allen Sprachen; Unserm Wilhelm Pieck.
Vol. III of Lied der Zeit. Eisler selections include Gruß an die Mark Brandenburg, Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe.
Vol. IV of Lied der Zeit. Eisler selections include nine songs from the Brecht/Eisler play Die Mutter and six of Eisler's post-war Neue Deutsche Volkslieder with texts by Johannes Becher.
Vol. V of Lied der Zeit. Eisler selections include Kessel-Song; Über das Seefahren; Ballade von den Säckeschmeißern; Ballade vom Soldaten; Ballade von der Wöhltätigkeit; Dank Euch, ihr Sowjetsoldaten; Marie, weine nicht; Im Sturmes Nacht; Die alten Weisen; Spartakus 1919; Mein Sohn, was immer auch aus dir werde; Deutsche Weihnacht.
From London's "Entartete Musik" series. Eisler rejected the large-scale symphonic form during his famous turn away from concert music in the late 1920s, but, paradoxically, this is a monumental choral symphony of 11 movements based on poetry by Brecht and Silone. All but the last movement showcase Eisler's distinctive style of twelve-tone composition. The texts, set in the period of exile from Nazi Germany, explore the political and psychological landscapes of despair, defiance and hope. Decca/Londonnow a subsidiary of Universal Musichas withdrawn this significant recording by the world-famous Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra from the market, so only a few copies are left at the Amazon US and UK websites. Buy it while you have the chance!
When the last recording of "Deutsche Sinfonie" disappears, this sampler (from London/Decca's now-abandoned "Entartete Musik" series of music suppressed by the Nazis) may still be available. It includes the impressive choral Prelude (Präludium) from Eisler's symphony.
Eric Bentley was the first American artist to reintroduce Eisler to the U.S. public after the composer's forced departure in 1948. In 1964 he recorded this disk of Eisler's songs and published the "Brecht-Eisler Songbook." Available as a CD from the Smithsonian Institution.
GDR recordings in a 2-CD set of Eisler's early and middle lieder and other concert songs. Includes songs to poems by Hölderlin and Goethe; three cantatas to poetry by Ignazio Silone, and selections from the Brecht/Eisler Hollywood Songbook.
Rare recordings of Eisler conducting rehearsals in Berlin; interviews on GDR radio from the late 1950s and early 60s about jazz, blues, Bertolt Brecht; performances by Eisler, Gisela May, others.
Hollywood Song-Book: Lieder of the Exile
Teldec (now a subsidiary of Warner) has discontinued this interpretation of Eisler's "Hollywooder Liederbuch" by Fischer-Dieskau. We recommend the more recent recording by Matthias Goerne in our Fourteen Ways list.
Rare recording of Schönberg's tonal Brettl-Lieder (composed early in the century, before he invented the twelve-tone method, for performance in the legendary Berlin cabaret Überbrettl, Overboard). Eisler/Brecht selections include a meditative interpretation of "Change the World: It Needs It." Also a recent composition by Edward Harsh on the uses of language.
Föllinger singt Brecht und Tucholsky
What happens when political cabaret is sung in German with a heavy Swedish accent? If you've ever asked that question, this CD has the answer.
Written by Andy Lang.
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