Mittwoch, 5. Juli 2017

Hanns Eisler - Orchestral Music, Vol. 2 - Kleine Sinfonie / 5 Orchestral Pieces / Scherzo / Rhapsodie / Winterschlacht-Suite / Wilhelm Tell

The Second World War ended in Europe on the 8th of May 1945 with the capitulation of the Wehrmacht. Six years of war had cost the lives of millions of victims and brought a previously unknown degree of destruction.

War and occupation, crimes, expulsions and forced resettlement had left a lasting mark on the countries and populations. The consequences can still be felt on a political, social and individual level. Today’s Europe cannot be understood without knowledge of the events of the war as well as the phase that followed the war and the end of the Nazi terror.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the German capitulation, we will do some postings in the next days related to these events.

We´re starting with an album featuring music by Hanns Eisler, including the "Winterschlacht Suite", referring to the battle of Moscow, 1941/42, a turning point of the Second World War.


Das war die Division,
Die als erste Einzug halten sollte.
In Moskau. Sie ist nicht mehr.
Für Feinde führt kein Weg nach Moskau.
Den Freunden aber öffnen wir das Herz.
Für unsere Freiheit schlugen wir die Schlacht,
Und haben eine Schlacht zugleich geschlagen
Für aller Völker Freiheit.
Nicht zuletzt auch für die deine, Deutschland.
Noch steht der Feind im Land
Noch ist er nicht zu Fall gebracht.
Wir stürmen weiter vor
Noch heute nacht!"
-  Johannes R. Becher

Eislers stage music to Johannes R. Becher's piece "Die Winterschlacht" (Winter battle) had been
written as “Deutsche Tragodie” (German tragedy) as early as 1941 in Soviet exile. The play is set around the Battle of Moscow (1941-42) and follows Johannes Hörder, a middle-class soldier whose experiences of Nazi aggression finally drive him to disobey a barbaric order to bury pro-Soviet partisans alive and to shoot himself dead instead.
The score dates from 1954. Its first performance took place at the Berlin Ensemble on January 12, 1955.

The ninepart "Winterschlacht‐Suite" comprises the complete stage music score, compiled for concert performance. The prelude, an almost Handelian funeral music for strings, is identical to the song,
"Horatio's Monologue", written by Eisler to a passage from Shakespeare's Hamlet. This song was probably not composed until the spring of 1956, and it may be assumed that, while composing the “prelude” for the "Winterschlacht", Eisler had these verses in mind, without actually setting them literally; a case of the song subsequently having been extracted from the instrumental composition.

The confrontation with Hitler's fascism, with the barbarity of war, with “military honour” and doubt in the sense of senseless dying, with the collapse of the Third Reich and with the question as to the future of Germany ‐all these form the thematic substance of the piece, “formulated” within a highly contradictory process of which the coming to terms with the historical past is also a part. How Eisler perceived his position as composer was to become quite clear during the production of the piece, with Brecht directing.

Referring to the “closing music”, Manfred Wekwerth reported the following: “In Becher's Winterschlacht, the directors of the Berlin Ensemble had planned to portray the division fleeing in panic... Eisler appeared at the rehearsal and was quite hurtful in his decision, saying it reminded him of his period of soldiering for the old Kaiser Franz Joseph... At one of the following rehearsals he
came with a sheaf of manuscript and demanded a large orchestra... Brecht thought the idea of smuggling violins into the theatre quite 'remarkable'... A while later, Eisler played us the tape and greatly amazed. He had deleted all the words from the final scene ‐ the flight. What he now wanted was a 'sketchy pantomime of a retreat, reminiscent of Napoleon's from Russia', and his musical depiction of this retreat contained deep sorrow. That was what made the matter so remarkable. 'Why sorrow?' we asked. 'They are Germans ‐ that is sad'. In the second half, the music burst out in wild
triumph, as Beethoven might have used it to signify a Victory. 'But that is a defeat, surely? we blurted out, strangely moved. 'For whom?' demurred Eisler ... Both sorrow and triumph were in the music. Through it ‐ and with only a handful of actors ‐ the scene imparted something of the grotesque social contradiction being represented.”

The Winterschlacht‐Suite is a tonal composition. If the completely rationalized complexity of the serial concert music of the Fifties in West Germany ‐ the concept of “modern” music, in which
everything has become absolute and esoteric ‐ were used as the criterion, then the work would be denigrated as conservative. But in its function on the stage, as “applied music”, and in the light of
Eisler's orientation toward simplification and a broad‐based listenership, it made very good sense.

Hanns Eisler - Orchestral Music, Vol. 2 - Kleine Sinfonie / 5 Orchestral Pieces / Scherzo / Rhapsodie / Winterschlacht-Suite / Wilhelm Tell
(256 kbps, cover art included)

3 Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

please re-up dead link, thankx

zero hat gesagt…

Now there´s a fresh link. Best wishes!

Anonym hat gesagt…

Relink need!

Kommentar veröffentlichen