One of the best of the Berlin Classics line of reissued East German recordings, "Hanns Eisler - Vocal Symphonic Music" includes the only recording available of Eisler's "Lenin Requiem" - a remarkable example of Eisler's communicative twelve-tone style set to a plain text by Bertolt Brecht. Also includes the striking "Pictures from the Guide to War" - a series of miniature compositions set to captions from Brecht's antiwar picture book "Kriegsfibel" - and Eisler's "farewell to music", his 1962 "Ernste Gesänge" (Serious Songs).
Hanns Eisler's "Lenin Requiem" has never been performed in the United States - and may never be. Eisler was nothing if not a contextual composer, and here the context is Eisler's identification with Lenin and the Russian Revolution. But this is no example of quasi-religious bombast in the style of "socialist realism" - Eisler uses advanced compositional techniques, including atonality, and for this reason the "Lenin Requiem" was never performed in the Soviet Union! It did reach the concert stage in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), where Eisler settled after his deportation from the United States as a suspected Communist subversive in the Hollywood film industry. This is one of the rare performances - a collector's item of enduring musical worth.
The "Lenin Requiem" is perhaps one of Eisler's most satisfying works: both the music and the text by Bertolt Brecht are free of hero worship (another reason the work was disliked by the Soviet cultural apparatus), but nevertheless communicate a sense of concentrated emotive power. It is also one of Eisler's more engaging attempts to write compositions that used the most progessive techniques of his day - including the 12-tone method of his teacher Arnold Schoenberg - but in a particularly simplified form so that the untrained ear would still hear the music as music.
01 - 09 Lenin-Requiem
10 Glückliche Fahrt
11 - 15 Mitte des Jahrhunderts
16 - 18 Das Vorbild
19 - 25 Die Teppichweber von Kujan-Bulak
26 - 40 Bilder aus der Kriegsfibel
41 - 48 Ernste Gesange
Hanns Eisler - Vokalsinfonik - Vocal Symphonic Music
(256 kbps, front cover included)