Hanns Eisler: Music

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Theme with Variations (Small Symphony) RealAudio Buy
German Symphony Orchestra, Hanns Zimmer, conductor.

From musicologist Jürgen Schebara's liner notes to this recording: "The Kleine Symphonie op. 29 was written in Berlin between the autumn of 1931 and the early part of 1932. It lasts barely ten minutes and, in the composer's own words, was intended to help him 'recover from other work.' The opening movement falls into three sections, which could be regarded as expressing grief, protest and grief.... [In the fourth and also in the first movement, 'Theme and Variations,'] Eisler combines the twelve-note technique of his mentor Arnold Schönberg with the new marching-song idiom that he had developed on his own from around 1928, an idiom that was new in the sense that it set out to criticize what Eisler himself called the 'inflated, bombastic, neo-classical style of music-making,' and, taking its cue from Schönberg, to advocate open-ended forms such as those of the theme-and-variations, rondo and prelude. The reduced orchestra and transluscent, chamber-like textures similarly illustrate Eisler's later comment that he wrote the Kleine Sinfonie 'more or less with the central idea that the symphony is dead.' The work was premièred by the BBC on 12 April 1935, when the conductor was Ernest Ansermet."

Music sample and liner notes © 1995 Capriccio, Delta Music GmbH.

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