Hanns Eisler: Music

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Song of the Banks RealAudio Buy
Walter Mehring. Men's Chorus of the Berliner Singakademie and members of the Great Radio Orchestra of Berlin, directed by Dietrich Knothe.

Walter Mehring's German version of a classic French militant song, originally composed in 1884, was set to music by Eisler for a 1931 "Red Revue" in Berlin.

Wir sind entlassen!
Jetzt ist's so weit,
liebe Leut', liebe Leut'!
Wir ziehn auf die Banken,
revidieren die Kassen,
revidieren die Kassen!

We've been laid off!
Now we've had enough,
dear people, dear people!
We're going the banks,
to audit the accounts,
to audit the accounts!

Wenn man mal keine Arbeit hat,
dann kann man durch die ganze Stadt
wie ein entsprungner Häftling bummeln.
Kein bißchen Brot, kein Tropfen Bier,
und unsre Magen wände trommeln
an jeder Bäckerladentür!

Once you don't have a job,
then you can wander through the whole city
like a prisoner who's just been released from jail.
No piece of bread, no drop of beer,
and the walls of your stomach beating like a drum
as you pass the door of every bakery shop.

Wir sind....

Es scheint fast, daß die Handelsherrn,
Bankhäuser und Fabrikskonzern
den gleichen Spruch im Munde führen.
Sie machen gern und schnell Bankrott,
die Ärmsten—ach, es ist zum rühren!
Könnt' ich's nur auch tun, lieber Gott!

It almost seems as if the gentlemen of commerce,
the bank houses and industrial concerns
all are talking the same game.
With dispatch they'll gladly drive into bankruptcy
the poorest of the poor—oh, it's enough to make you cry!
If only I could do it too, dear God!

Wir sind....

Jedoch, auf daß die Rechnung stimmt,
ist's nötig, daß man Einblick nimmt,
wo sie ihr Kontobuch verschließen,
damit ihr mal die Herren seht,
die wir in Freuden leben ließen,
wenn's uns schon an den Kragen geht!

Nevertheless, to make sure the bill's added up right,
it's necessary to take a look
at the place where they lock up their books,
so you can see how it is
we've allowed these gentlemen to live in pleasure,
while they had us by our throats!

Music sample © 1997 Edition Barbarossa. Trans. by Andy Lang.

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