Dienstag, 28. November 2017

Dmitry Shostakovich - Symphony No. 13 `Babi Yar` (Vasily Petrenko, Naxos)

Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 13, Op. 113 in 1962. The climax of his 'Russian period' and, in its scoring for bass soloist, male chorus and orchestra, among the most Mussorgskian of his works, it attracted controversy through its settings of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (the 'Russian Bob Dylan' of his day) not least the first movement, where the poet underlines the plight of Jews in Soviet society. The other movements are no less pertinent in their observations on the relationship between society and the individual. This is the final release in Vasily Petrenko's internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.

The cycle of Shostakovich symphonies from Britain's Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko has been widely praised, and this version of one of the composer's sharpest-edged works of protest will not disrupt the general trend. Here, as elsewhere, the reading is a sort of combination of British and Russian elements. The Huddersfield Choral Society probably does not have the sound Shostakovich imagined for this Mussorgskian work. But Petrenko catches the suppressed fury that often comes through only in Russian performances of Shostakovich. The work sets poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, a controversial enough move even during the cultural Thaw year of 1962. Each approaches the question of anti-Semitism in Russia through a different lens, and Petrenko is well acquainted with the moods of the work: the sharp satire, gathering anger, of the "Humor" movement (track 2), depicting the death of humor; the exquisite portrayal of Soviet drudgery in "At the Store" (track 3); the commemoration of the Nazi massacre at Babi Yar, Ukraine, aided by locals (track 1). Against the clear choral sound Petrenko sets a classic Russian bass, Alexander Vinogradov, with compelling results. A fine entry in Petrenko's series, worthy of standing beside his recording of the still grimmer Symphony No. 14, Op. 135.               

"Shostakovich's Symphony No 13, setting poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, was given its UK premiere by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1971, so there is something satisfyingly symmetrical that it forms the final chapter in Vasily Petrenko's Naxos cycle of all 15 symphonies with the same orchestra. This performance lives up to the high expectations raised by the previous discs in this series: the orchestra, now invested by Petrenko with a true Russian bite and resonance, lives and breathes the music in brilliance and brooding edginess and energy. Harnessing the men'svoices of the RLP Choir and the Huddersfield Choral Society, the interpretation echoes the music s powerfully expressed protest against Soviet anti-Semitism, and sharply focuses on Shostakovich's subversive, humanitarian stance against the Soviet society of his day, heightened by the intensity of the bass protagonist, Alexander Vinogradov. With Petrenko's ear for detail and his instincts for symphonic shape and dramatic flux, this is a disc that stands comparison with the generally acknowledged classic 1962 recording by Kirill Kondrashin (recently re-released on Praga), and it does so with pungent emotional force. **** "--Telegraph, 10/11/14


Dmitry Shostakovich - Symphony No. 13 `Babi Yar` (Vasily Petrenko, Naxos)
(256 kbps, cover art included)


Samstag, 25. November 2017

Jorge Ben - África Brasil (1976)

This 1976 album is undoubtedly one of the greatest classics of Brazilian popular music, with Jorge Ben mixing funky samba, Afro-Brazilian beats, and crunching guitars to create one of the most fascinating sounds ever recorded in Brazil.

The album kicks off with the raw, energetic "Ponta de Lança Africano," and from there on it never slows down, but continues to pile up one fiery, funky gem after the other. The samba soul and samba funk scenes of the '70s in Brazil produced many great artists and many great recordings, fully comparable with the best soul and funk music recorded in the U.S. during the same period. Jorge Ben was the most prominent figure of this scene and "África Brasil" is probably the most famous of his '70s recordings. For any person who is interested in the music of Jorge Ben, or indeed Brazilian funk in general, there is no better sample of it than "África Brasil".

Tracklist:

A1Ponta De Lança Africano (Umbabarauma)3:58
A2Hermes Trismegisto Escreveu3:04
A3O Filósofo3:30
A4Meus Filhos, Meu Tesouro3:53
A5O Plebeu3:18
A6Taj Mahal3:10
B1Xica Da Silva4:00
B2A História De Jorge3:53
B3Camisa 10 Da Gávea4:18
B4Cavaleiro Do Cavalo Imaculado4:43
B5África Brasil (Zumbi)3:48

Jorge Ben - África Brasil (1976)
(320 kbps, cover art included)             

Freitag, 24. November 2017

Buffy Sainte-Marie ‎- It's My Way! (1964)

This is one of the most scathing topical folk albums ever made. Sainte-Marie sings in an emotional, vibrato-laden voice of war ("The Universal Soldier," later a hit for Donovan), drugs ("Cod'ine"), sex ("The Incest Song"), and most telling, the mistreatment of Native Americans, of which Sainte-Marie is one ("Now That the Buffalo's Gone"). Even decades later, the album's power is moving and disturbing.   

Though the album did not chart it proved influential in the folk community. It is most famous for two widely covered folk standards, "Universal Soldier" and "Cod'ine", as well as "Now That the Buffalo's Gone", a lament about the continued confiscation of Indian lands, as evidenced by the building of the Kinzua Dam in about 1964. The cover features a mouthbow, which was to be a trademark of her sound on her first three albums.
Cod'ine was also lyrically altered by Janis Joplin and appears on "This is Janis Joplin".


In 2016, "It's My Way!" was inducted by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry.

Tracklist:

A1 Now That The Buffalo's Gone 2:45
A2 The Old Man's Lament 3:55
A3 Ananias 2:35
A4 Mayoo Sto Hoon 1:19
A5 Cod'ine 5:01
A6 Cripple Creek 1:45
A7 The Universal Soldier 2:15
B1 Babe In Arms 2:30
B2 He Lived Alone In Town 4:35
B3 You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond 2:45
B4 The Incest Song 4:11
B5 Eyes Of Amber 2:16
B6 It's My Way 3:29

Buffy Sainte-Marie ‎- It's My Way!  (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)         

Mittwoch, 22. November 2017

Völker hört die Signale - Songs of the European Workers´ Movement

"Songs of the European Workers' Movement" is an excellent collection of workers' songs from European countries.

Each song is individual, being performed by singers and musicians from its country of origin. The styles vary from the solo ballad of France's "Les Temps des Cerises" to the brass band and choir of Ireland's "Watchword of Labour".

In addition to songs representing the European countries, "The Internationale" was recorded as a traditional song of the working classes in all countries, as well as the "Arbetslose Marsch" (march of the unemployed), sung in Yiddish in memory of the Jewish workers´movement which perished in the holocaust.

Völker hört die Signale - Songs of the European Workers´ Movement
(192 kbps)

Dienstag, 21. November 2017

Nina Simone - Broadway Blues Ballads (1964)

There's a lot more Broadway and a lot more ballads than blues on this, which ranks as one of her weaker mid-'60s albums. Almost half the record features Broadway tunes on the order of Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein; most of the rest was composed by Bennie Benjamin, author of her first-rate "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which the Animals covered for a hit shortly afterwards (and which leads off this record).

The other Benjamin tunes are modified uptown soul with string arrangements and backup vocals in the vein of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," but aren't in the same league, although "How Can I?" is an engaging cha cha. Besides "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," the album is most notable for the great "See-Line Woman," a percolating call-and-response number that ranks as one of her best tracks. The CD reissue includes the strange bonus cut "The Monster," an odd attempt at a soul novelty tune.


  1. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus) - 2:48
  2. "Night Song" (Lee Adams, Charles Strouse) - 3:06
  3. "The Laziest Gal in Town" (Cole Porter) - 2:19
  4. "Something Wonderful" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) - 2:46
  5. "Don't Take All Night" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:54
  6. "Nobody" (Alex Rogers, Bert Williams) - 4:18
  7. "I Am Blessed" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:57
  8. "Of This I'm Sure" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:37
  9. "See-Line Woman" ([traditional] American folk, George Bass, Nina Simone) - 2:38
  10. "Our Love (Will See Us Through)" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 3:01
  11. "How Can I?" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:05
  12. "The Last Rose of Summer" (Thomas Moore, Richard Alfred Milliken, Nina Simone) - 3:08
  13.  "A Monster" is added as a bonus track. (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:47
Nina Simone - Broadway Blues Ballads (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 17. November 2017

Mercedes Sosa con Leon Gieco y Milton Nascimento - Corazón Americano (1985)

The politics and significance of stadium performances of music artists in Latin America differ from that in Europe and North America: With a participative force comparable to that of fervent football supporters, the response of those present is not merely to join in with the songs, but also to make their own statements about dictators who will fall of have fallen and to offer their own versions of the parts of songs taht are an overt comment on present or near-past situations. The intensity and emotional complexity of performer/audience communication is manifest: what is beeing exchanged is not merely empathy but experiences and feelings - the private made public.

This response emanates as much from immediate considerations of place, as from the fact that in Argentina and Chile, during certain periods, the concert has been the only significant available space for the coming together of a certain political community (one primarily constituted by young people in the case of Argentina). It is also inspired by the performers.  On the album "Corazon Americana", Mercedes Sosa is joined, in Brazil, by fellow Argentine rock nacional singer Leon Gieco and Brazil´s own Milton Nascimento.

One is not surprised, that when Mercedes Sosa stumbles in her translation from Spanish into Brazilian Portuguese, the audience have the words already on their lips. Ultimately, the various strands of this record are fused and loss of life made meaningful in Sosa´s extraordinary rendering of Petrocelli´s "Cuando tenga la tierra" ("When I Have the Land"), which captures the charactersitic properties of so much Latin American music: passionate, powerful, formidable in ites beauty, ecstatic rather than sublimatory in its reaffirmation of the regeneration of the individual within the group.

The recognition of the complexity of what has been lost, even for those who have survived, comes through the emotional "Cancion para Carito", the second track on "Corazon Americano". This response to someone´s death is that of a younger generation aware that they have borne the most intense sacrifice of any generation in Latin America - not merely in terms of unempolyment and lack of education, but also because they suffered the brunt of the waves of repression against "subversivos-marijuaneros-delincuentes", tags applied by military regimes to justify abnegating the rights of anyone who does not conform.The music in these concert does not "preach to the converted", a popular but useless interpretation of why such events are important, but rahter attempts to acknowlede what everyone knows has happende.

If the theme is sharing experience and uniting, it is a mark of her formidable position as one of the world´s major perfomrers that Mercedes Sosa responds to the overwhelming chats that greet her introduction on stage by Brazil´s own Milton nascimento with a reflective and timely new interpretation of Chilean Violeta Parra´s "Volver a los 17" ("To be 17 Again"), the average age of much of her audience.

The best song for me is "Solo le pido a Dios" ("I Only Ask God") - the anthem of the peace movment at the time of the Malvinas War in Argentina, sung by Mercedes Sosa with Leon Giece: the rich, contralto voice of a strong and warm woman contrasts wonderfully with Gieco´s terse, tight-throated, reverberating timbres, while to my (European) ears, the use of the harmonica strangely evokes the uncynical hopes of the youth of a different period - the 1960s and Bob Dylan.

Mercedes Sosa con Leon Gieco y Milton Nascimento - Corazón Americano (1985)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 16. November 2017

Barbara Dane & Lightnin´ Hopkins - Sometimes I Believe She Loves Me (1964)

A spontaneous live recording by blues and folk singer Barbara Dane with Houston, Texas blues icon Lightning Hopkins during an afternoon gathering at Berkeley's legendary coffee house, the Cabale, in the early 60's, with Barbara on acoustic and Lightning on electric guitars.

The first half of this CD is Lightning and Barbara improvising on the spot, while the second half is comprised of Barbara performing classic blues and other songs, with Ray Skjelbred playing piano on most. These selections reflect Barbara's social consciousness at the time, including a superb rendition of Woody Guthrie's moving "Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)."
           
“On a summer afternoon in 1964, East Bay blues and folk singer Barbara Dane and producer Chris Strachwitz met at the Cabale to cut a record. Among the invited guests was Texas blues titan Sam 'Lightnin' Hopkins, who joined Dane for nine songs on which the two engaged in some frequently witty, mostly off-the-cuff musical repartee Now, 32 years after the fact, come the complete sessions; duets have a special charm, her previously unissued solo selections are often transcendent, particularly the blues standards 'Careless Love' and 'Betty and Dupree,' and Malvina Reynolds' slyly political 'Bury Me in My Overalls.' Dane's booming, brilliantly elastic alto voice rings with clarity and uncanny conviction.”
-Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express

Tracklist:

1. I'm Going Back, Baby
2. I Know You Got Another Man
3. Sometimes I Believe She Loves Me
4. Baby, Shake That Thing
5. It's A Lonesome Old Town
6. Don't Push Me ('Til You Find Out What I Want)
7. Let Me Be Your Rag Doll
8. Mother Earth
9. Mama Told Papa
10. Careless Love
11. Love With A Feeling
12. Betty And Dupree
13. Don't You Push Me Down
14. Bury Me In My Overalls
15. Deportees (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
16. Hold On (Keep Your Eyes On The Prize)
17. Jesus Won't You Come By Here (Jesus Will You Come By Here)

Barbara Dane & Lightnin´ Hopkins - Sometimes I Believe She Loves Me (1964)
(224 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 14. November 2017

VA - Wann wir schreiten Seit an Seit - Hymnen & Kampflieder der Arbeiterbewegung


This collections features worker songs from the 20th century and the last half of the 19th century. The recordings were done between 1966 and 1984 at the "Arbeiterfestspiele" and "Nationale Jugendfestival" in the GDR.

The "Solidaritätslied" ("Vorwärts und nicht vergessen") is an interpretation by Ernst Busch, the vocals on "Venceremos" were done by Dean Reed.

Tracks:
01 Wann wir schreiten Seit an Seit
02 Brüder, zur Sonne, zur Freiheit
03 Auf, auf zum Kampf
04 Arbeiter-Marseillaise
05 Brüder, seht die rote Fahne
06 Dem Morgenrot entgegen
07 Warschawjanka
08 Matrosen von Kronstadt
09 Der Rote Wedding
10 Solidaritätslied
11 Die Moorsoldaten
12 Die Thälmann-Kolonne
13 Thälmann-Lied
14 Badiera rossa
15 Venceremos
16 Black and white
17 We shall overcome
18 Die Internationale

VA - Wann wir schreiten Seit an Seit
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 13. November 2017

Georges Brassens - Don Juan - Vol. 12 (1976)

One of French pop's most poetic songwriters, Georges Brassens was also a highly acclaimed and much-beloved performer in his own right. Not only a brilliant manipulator of language and a feted poet in his own right, Brassens was also renowned for his subversive streak, satirizing religion, class, social conformity, and moral hypocrisy with a wicked glee. Yet beneath that surface was a compassionate concern for his fellow man, particularly the disadvantaged and desperate.

His personal politics were forged during the Nazi occupation, and while his views on freedom bordered on anarchism, his songs expressed those convictions more subtly than those of his contemporary, Léo Ferré.

Though he was a skilled songwriter, Brassens had little formal musical training, and he generally kept things uncomplicated - simple melodies and spare accompaniment from a bass and second guitar.

Along with Jacques Brel, he became one of the most unique voices on the French cabaret circuit, and exerted a tremendous influence on many other singers and songwriters of the postwar era. His poetry and lyrics are still studied as part of France's standard educational curriculum.       

"Don Juan" was officially his final album.

Tracklist:

1 Trompe La Mort
2 Les Ricochets
3 Tempête Dans Un Bénitier
4 Le Boulevard Du Temps Qui Passe
5 Le Modeste
6 Don Juan
7 Les Casseuses
8 Cupidon S'En Fout
9 Montélimar
10 Histoire De Faussaire
11 La Messe Au Pendu
12 Lèche-Cocu
13 Les Patriotes
14 Mélanie
Bonus :
15 Les Copains D'Abord
16 La Visite
17 Élégie À Un Rat De Cave

Georges Brassens - Don Juan - Vol. 12 (1976)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 12. November 2017

Elizabeth Cotten ‎- Freight Train And Other North Carolina Folk Songs And Tunes (1958)

Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (1895-1987), best known for her timeless song "Freight Train," built her musical legacy on a firm foundation of late 19th- and early 20th-century African-American instrumental traditions. Through her songwriting, her quietly commanding personality, and her unique left-handed guitar and banjo styles, she inspired and influenced generations of younger artists. In 1984 Cotten was declared a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts and was later recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as a "living treasure." She received a Grammy Award in 1985 when she was ninety, almost eighty years after she first began composing her own works.

Recorded in 1957 and early 1958 by Mike Seeger, "Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes" collects the influential debut sides cut by a then-62-year-old Elizabeth Cotten; even decades after their first release, they remain a veritable primer in the art of finger-picked style guitar playing. The quaint, homespun quality of the material - much of it recorded at Cotten's home with her grandchildren looking on in silence - adds immensely to its intimacy and warmth; the sound quality varies wildly from track to track, but the amazing instrumental work shines through regardless on tracks like the opening "Wilson Rag" and the now-standard "Freight Train."               


Tracklist:

1 Wilson Rag 1:35
2 Freight Train 2:42
3 Going Down The Road Feeling Bad 2:09
4 I Don't Love Nobody 1:10
5 Ain't Got No Honey Baby Now 0:53
6 Graduation March 2:29
7 Honey Babe Your Papa Cares For You 2:11
8 Vastopol 2:08
9 Here Old Rattler Here / Sent For My Fiddle Sent For My Bow / George Buck 3:45
10 Run…Run / Mama Your Son Done Gone 2:15
11 Sweet Bye And Bye / What A Friend We Have In Jesus 3:00
12 Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie 4:40
13 Spanish Flang Dang 2:49
14 When I Get Home 2:21

Elizabeth Cotten ‎- Freight Train And Other North Carolina Folk Songs And Tunes (1958)
(320 kbps, cover art included)                                 

Samstag, 11. November 2017

Berlin - Großstadtklänge - Rare Schellacks 1908 - 1953

Here´s another volume of the series with rare schellack recordings, this time collecting historic recordings of Berlin performers from 1908 - 1953.

Throughout the world, the rise of mass culture in the 19th century brought the music of the common man to the forefront of the popular agenda.
Expressions of "high culture" no longer dominated in the big cities. The taste of recently-urbanised country migrants was increasingly catered for.
Since the turn of the 20th century popular melodies, folk songs, humorous commentaries and dance music with a hard edge gained widespread acceptance.

In the suburbs of Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Leipzig and Dresden new types of urban folk singers and entertainers emerged at the cutting edge of recreation.

Their songs reflected the dissonant and raucous reality of urban life in harsh and critical lyrics, but always modified by a pinch of irony and a considerable amount of humor. The commercial recording industry recognized the mass appeal of these emergent syncretic forms and a representative sample from that early period, recorded in Berlin, is featured on this compilation.

Tracklist
1Paul BendixDie Radiorevue 'Der neue Lautsprecher'0:54
2Unknown ArtistDas war knorke1:37
3Schorsch Ruselli mit OrchesterbegleitungDas Mädchen vom Weissensee2:53
4Erwin HartungMöbel-Hübner-Marsch2:44
5Otto ReutterSeh'n Sie, darum ist es schade, dass der Krieg zu Ende ist2:15
6Alexander Flessburg, KrückeSportpalast-Walzer3:25
7Bully Buhlan und Peter RebhuhnChattanooga Choo Choo II (Kötschenbroda-Express)2:15
8Arnold Rieck und Rosi LoibnerIm Lustgarten ist Frühkonzert2:35
9Ludwig ArnoPaula mach die Bluse zu2:49
10Paul BendixFräulein Backhaus2:57
11Paul BendixRadiorevue Ausschnitt0:12
12Pola NegriZeig' der Welt nicht dein Herz2:54
13Max HansenRobes Modes3:09
14Claire WaldoffClaire Waldoff spricht...!0:52
15Claire WaldoffDie Radpartie2:50
16Otto ReutterO Du liebes, deutsches Gretchen3:43
17Die Drei Travellers08/15 Cocktail3:00
18Jugendchor des Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks LeipzigBaut Berlin2:21
19MargareteMax hat'n Knax2:10
20Gustav Schönwald und Elsa GüdeIm Berliner Zoo2:42
21Marta HübnerInventur Ausverkauf3:10
22Homocord OrchesterIch möcht' ein Würstchen, mit Senf beschmiert2:36
23Alexander FlessburgDas Neue Tempelhof Lied (Was hab'n wir für 'ne Feuerwehr bei uns in Tempelhof)2:49
24Claire WaldoffWie wohl ist mir am Wochenend2:51
25No ArtistDie Wasserminna (Verlagsankündigung)0:57
26Max HansenIch reiß mir eine Wimper aus3:07
27Claire WaldoffIch kann um Zehne nicht nach Hause geh'n3:00
28Paul GraetzBerlin2:53
29Paul BendixRadiorevue Ausschnitt0:32


Berlin - Großstadtklänge - Rare Schellacks 1908 1953
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 10. November 2017

David Peel & Death With Wayne Kramer‎– Rock 'n' Roll Junkie (Single)

David Peel was, and still is, a street musician and political activist from the Lower East Side of New York City. With a collection of friends who became his bandmates and who were eponymously called the Lower East Side, he recorded two groundbreaking albums of social reflections, urban tales, and hippie mythology for Elektra Records. The first, entitled "Have a Marijuana", was released in 1968. The second, "The American Revolution", was released in 1970. Both were just exactly as you would think they would be from their album titles: Musical Counterculture Manifestos Presented With Guitars and Grins.        

The two tracks on this David Peel & Death feat. Wayne Kramer (MC5) single - "Rock´n´Roll Junkie" and "Junk Rock" - were recorded in 1979. Wayne Kramer played lead and rhythm guitar, David Peel did the lead vocals and the rhytthm guitar, and The Lower East Side performed the backing vocals and various other instruments. The single was released in 2000 on "Hate Records" in Roma, Italy.

Fresh link:
David Peel & Death with Wayne Kramer - Rock´n´Roll Junkie (Single)
(320 kbsp, art work included)

Donnerstag, 9. November 2017

Paul Dessau - Lilo Herrmann - An die Mütter und an die Lehrer - Der anachronistische Zug (NOVA)


Liselotte Hermann was a German student who became involved in anti-Nazi activities. She was arrested and sentenced to death for high treason, becoming the first woman to be executed in Hitler's
Third Reich.

She was an engineer’s daughter and had a middle-class liberal upbringing. After completing her Abitur, she went to work in a chemical factory to support her studies in chemistry, starting in 1929, and later also in biology as of 1931. She took these programmes at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart (now the University of Stuttgart) and the University of Berlin. She joined the Kommunistischer Jugendverband Deutschlands (“Communist Youth Federation of Germany”) in 1928 or 1930, and also became a member of the Roter Studentenbund (“Red Students’ League”). From 1931, she was a member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).

Early in 1933, she signed a “Call for the Defence of Democratic Rights and Freedoms” at the university in Berlin, and was therefore, together with 111 other students, reprimanded and debarred by the university on 11 July 1933. From that time, she worked illegally against Germany's fascist dictatorship. On 20 December 1933, her husband was slain in Gestapo custody.
She took a job as a nanny and socialized with the armed resistance within the KPD. In 1934, Liselotte's son Walter was born. From September of the same year, she lived once again in Stuttgart, where she worked as a shorthand typist at her father's engineering office.
She reestablished contacts with the now banned KPD. From late 1934, she worked as a technical aid with Stefan Lovasz, the Württemberg KPD leader. She obtained from Arthur Göritz information about secret weapons projects - munitions production at the Dornier factory in Friedrichshafen and the building of another, underground munitions factory near Celle - which she relayed to the KPD's office that had been set up in Switzerland.

On 7 December 1935, Liselotte Hermann was seized. For 19 harrowing months she was held in remand custody, whilst her young son had to be cared for by his grandparents. Charged before the Volksgerichtshof, Herrmann was sentenced to death by the Second Senate of the Volksgerichtshof in Stuttgart on 12 June 1937 for "treason and conspiracy to commit high treason". Lina Haag was held in the same Remand Prison at that time, and remembers the night she was sentenced in her book 'A Handful of Dust' or 'How Long the Night'.
After a year in the Berlin Women's Prison, she was transferred to Plötzensee Prison, also in Berlin, for execution. Despite international protests, Liselotte Hermann was sent to the guillotine on 20 June 1938. Her political friends Stefan Lovasz, Josef Steidle and Arthur Göritz were also put to death the same day.

In East Germany, many schools, streets, and institutions were named after her, but after German reunification in 1990, many were given new names in the rush to erase all references to Communism.
Indeed, even in Stuttgart, where Liselotte Herrmann studied, she has been a controversial figure. In 1988, unknown persons placed a simple memorial stone to her on the University of Stuttgart campus, which caused a bit of a stir. "Lilo-Herrmann-Weg" was the city's tribute to her, but it is little more than a 100 m-long blind alley affording access to public and private parking. No-one lives there. In the 1970s, students at the university tried to get a new residence named after her, but the university administration balked at the idea.

The German writer Friedrich Wolf worked after the World War I as a doctor in Remscheid and Hechingen, where he focused on care for common people and prescribed treatment using naturopathic medicine. In 1923 and 1925 his sons Markus und Konrad were born. After 1928 he became a member of the Communist Party and the Association of Proletarian-Revolutionary Authors. In 1929 his drama "Cyankali" sparked a debate about abortion, and he was briefly arrested and charged for performing abortions.
In early 1932 he founded the Spieltrupp Südwest in Stuttgart, a communist agitprop group of lay actors that created controversial pieces about current topics.
After the Nazis came to power, Wolf emigrated with his family to Moscow. In 1938 he made his way to Spain to work as a doctor in the International Brigades. However, he was arrested in France and interned in the concentration camp Le Vernet. In 1941 he gained Soviet citizenship and returned to Moscow where he became a founder of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD) .
In 1945 he returned to Germany and was active in literary and cultural-political issues. From 1949 to 1951 he was the first ambassador of East Germany to Poland. On October 5, 1953, he died in his personal office in Lehnitz.

Friedrich Wolf wrote the biographic poem "Lilo Herrmann", which was set to music in 1954 by the German conductor and composer Paul Dessau. This album features his melodrama for speaker, chorus & ensemble "Lilo Herrmann" besides "An die Mütter und an die Lehrer" and "Der anachronistische Zug", a collaboration with Bertolt Brecht.

Paul Dessau - Lilo Herrmann - An die Mütter und an die Lehrer - Der anachronistische Zug (NOVA)
(320 kbps, vinyl rip, small front cover included)

Markus Wolf - Freunde sterben nicht

"Im Lebenslauf verteidigt der Mensch das einzige, was er besitzt: seine Zeit und seinen Eigensinn ... Gefühle können Partisanen sein, Katalysatoren, Störenfriede, Bremser und Vollender. Sind sind geheimnisvilles Inventar der Geschichtslandschaften, sie begründen bestimmte Prozesse weit jenseits des organisierten guten Willens, der sich Politik nennt." (Alexander Kluge)


Markus Wolf died 11 years ago. Some years ago i read the book "Freunde sterben nicht" by Markus Wolf. Four of the nine chapters of the book are presented on this audio book by Markus Wolf himself.

Markus Wolf led the foreign intelligence division of the East German Ministry for State Security, known as the Stasi, during much of the Cold War.

Born in Hechingen, Province of Hohenzollern (now Baden-Württemberg), Wolf was the son of the writer and physician Friedrich Wolf and brother of film director Konrad Wolf. His father was a member of the Communist Party of Germany, and after Adolf Hitler gained power, they emigrated via Switzerland and France to Moscow because of their Communist conviction and because Markus's father was Jewish.
During his exile, he first attended the German Karl Liebknecht Schule and later a Russian school. Afterwards, he entered the Moscow Institute of Airplane Engineering (Moscow Aviation Institute), which was evacuated to Alma Ata after Germany's attack on the Soviet Union. There he was told to join the Comintern, where he among others was prepared for undercover work behind enemy lines.
After the end of the war, he was sent to Berlin with the Ulbricht Group, led by Walter Ulbricht to work as a journalist for a radio station in the Soviet Zone of occupation. He was among those journalists who observed the entire Nuremberg Trials against the principal Nazi leaders.

In 1953, at the age of 30, he was among the founding members of the foreign intelligence service within the ministry of state security. As intelligence chief, Wolf achieved great success in penetrating the government, political and business circles of West Germany with spies.  He later explained to the publication Tikkun, "Many other Jews took a similar path, becoming active in the Stasi to hunt down former Nazis." He justified his decision on the grounds that Western powers used high-ranking Nazis, including Reinhard Gehlen, to build up their postwar intelligence services.

"Misha" Wolf's impact was undeniable. He was said to have been remarkably effective in stealing West Germany's weekly intelligence reports and was credited with planting thousands of moles in Western capitals, NATO headquarters and essential industries in science and technology.
One operative, Günter Guillaume, helped to topple the Social Democratic government of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in 1974. Another agent, Markus Wolf said, became a secretary in the office of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and provided details of communications between Schmidt and then-President Jimmy Carter.

He retired in 1986 in order to continue the work of his late brother Konrad in writing the story of their upbringing in Moscow in the 1930s. The book Troika came out on the same day in East and West Germany.
Shortly before German reunification he fled the country, and sought political asylum in Russia and Austria. When denied, he returned to Germany where he was arrested by German police. Wolf claimed to have refused an offer of "seven figures", a new identity and a home in California from the Central Intelligence Agency to defect to the United States. In 1993 he was convicted of treason by the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf and sentenced to six years imprisonment. This was later quashed by the German supreme court, because Wolf was acting from the territory of the then-independent GDR. In 1997 he was convicted of unlawful detention, coercion, and bodily harm, and was given a suspended sentence of two years imprisonment. He was additionally sentenced to three days' imprisonment for refusing to testify against Paul Gerhard Flämig when the former West German politician was accused in 1993 of atomic espionage. Wolf said that Flämig was not the agent that he had mentioned in his memoirs: Flämig had unwittingly been probed by intelligence agents during authorised discussions in the GDR.
Markus Wolf died in his sleep at his Berlin home on 9 November 2006.

With "Freunde sterben nicht", Markus Wolf looks back on his life. With impressive candor he evokes friends and companions, and gives insight into his own thinking.

He reports about friends who crossed his path and accompanied him on his way. There are people whose attitudes are as different as their paths: the "forgotten soldier" Leonard, the high school friend of the Arbat and later professor of literature Alik, the GDR "Kundschafterin" Johanna ...
From the chapter about Johanna: "So, wie die Bauernaufstände des Mittelalters trotz ihrer Niederlagen reichliche Spuren hinterlassen haben, meint Johanna, werden auch von unserem Wirken Spuren bleiben. (...) Gewiss empfinde ich, wie auch Johanna, neben Glück oft Trauer. Trauer über die verpassten Chancen in der Gesellschaft, der wir unsere Fähigkeiten und energien gaben. Trauer über die gegenwärtig geringen Möglichkeiten, auf den unheilvollen Lauf der Entwicklung in der Welt einzuwirken. (...) Ich fühle mich den toten Freunden verpflichtet, ich möchte ihre Gestalten und ihre Gedanken festhalten. Mögen unsere Spuren nicht zu schnell verwehen."

VA - Klangdenkmal für die Opfer des Holocaust - A Monument in Sound for the Victims of the Holocaust (2004)

Today we remember the anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany and Austria on 9 to 10 November1938, also known as "Novemberpogrome", "Reichskristallnacht", "Reichspogromnacht" or "Pogromnacht" in German.

Twenty six variations on a subject that one finds difficult to put into words. The incomprehensibility and the magnitude of the Holocaust can perhaps be described in facts, dates and figures - but the suffering of the victims, the regret about what happened, the consequence is especially difficult to "grasp" in terms of one´s owen life. Perhaps this is the reason for music as music is "the ability to communicate where speech has ended" (R. M. Rilke) and gives us the possivility of combining emotions and reason without a verbal setting, to allow grief and hope to flow into each other and in this manner to remember the victims in a very special way.

The "Monument in Sound for the Vicitms of the Holocaust" has been "built" by 27 composers who belong to the "Deutsche Komponistenverband" (German Association of Composers). The project was initiated in 1999 following a unanimous resolution passed by the associations´s state branch in Berlin. Composers from a variety of generations and artistic origins are involved and the starting point was the theme of a song by Coco Schumann. He was persecuted as the son of a Jewish mother and deported to the concentration camps Theresienstadt, Auschwitz and Dachau - he survived these camps and still performs on stage to this very day.

The theme of his compositon was arranged for a string quartet setting and sent to all the project´s participants in alphabetical order, one after another. Each artist then had the possibility, whilst taking the opening theme into consideration, to take up from his predecessor in terms of compostion or to carry on independatly ins or her own way. As such, after two years work, an astonishingly homogeneous musical piece of contemporary history came into being, contrary to all doubts, created by artist from a variety of musical fields - from jazz, avant garde and serious music. A musical work in which past and present flow into a spiritual entirety, as the sum of the involved composers´ personal and subjecitve experiences, each being treated in their own individual artistic manner.


VA - Klangdenkmal für die Opfer des Holocaust (2004)
(256 kbps, cover art included)