Hanns Eisler: CDs, Videos, Books CDs

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

American urban folk revival: 1926-1988

These two multiple-CD albums are expensive, but together represent a comprehensive collection of political protest music from the 1920s through the 80s. There is a hiatus between 1953 (the high-water mark of the McCarthy Era) and 1962 (when protest singers like Bob Dylan arrived on the scene). Both CD sets include well-designed books with artist biographies, political context and historic photos. If you can't afford these albums, convince your public or university library that they are essential resources for U.S. cultural history!

Songs for Political Action Songs for Political Action (1926-1953)  Buy this CD
Various Artists
Bear Family Records BCD 15720
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The classic era of the urban folksong revival—the first wave of progressive protest music from 1926 to 1953. Features performances by Woody Guthrie, Paul Robeson, a young Pete Seeger and many other artists. Includes historic U.S. recordings of Brecht/Eisler songs interpreted by baritone Mordecai Baumann.

Best of Broadside Best of Broadside (1962-1988)  Buy this CD
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways
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After the shadow years of the McCarthy Era, the American Left began to revive in the early 60s. A second wave of progressive folk artists found a platform in "Broadside," a magazine devoted to new music published in New York. Folk veteran Pete Seeger was one of the few artists who spanned both generations, and was joined by new talents like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Janis Ian, Tom Paxton and many others.

Mermaid Avenue, vol. 1  Buy this book
Billy Bragg, Wilco

Billy Bragg's extraordinary collaboration with the country band Wilco inspired new settings for lyrics Guthrie had never set to music. There were more than 1,000 texts, made available to the artists by Guthrie's daughter, Nora, so the selection for this project was not easy. There is a balance of music with both personal and political content. One of the finest cuts on this CD is Bragg's music for Guthrie's "Eisler on the Go," a protest against the composer's forced departure from the U.S.

Mermaid Avenue, vol. 2  Buy this book
Billy Bragg, Wilco

The second CD in the Bragg/Wilco project to revive formerly unpublished lyrics by Woody Guthrie.

The Internationale  Buy this book
Billy Bragg

Bragg's interpretations of U.S. and British protest music includes his new (and less aggressive) lyrics for the historic socialist anthem, the "Internationale."

Written by Andy Lang.

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Related to the political cabaret and street music of Weimar Berlin, folk artists in American cities were inventing a new popular idiom for political protest. Finally silenced by the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy Era, the tradition was revived in the 1960s by a second wave of songwriters like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. The tradition lives on in contemporary artists like Billy Bragg.

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