Freitag, 29. Oktober 2021

Hanns Eisler - Hollywood Songbook (Matthias Goerne, Eric Schneider)

Hanns Eisler was a composer with a social conscience, but, like the poet in one of these songs, he reaped only anguish. Driven from his native Germany where his music was banned by the Nazis, he went to California and wrote excellent film scores, but was unable to reconcile himself to Hollywood's mass culture, leaving him a stranger in a foreign land. These songs - like so much in the extraordinary "Entartete Musik" series - express the experience of actual and spiritual exile, with its aching yearning for a home that no longer exists. Most of the texts are by Eisler's friend and fellow exile, Bertolt Brecht; together they create a grim picture of bleak desolation in the midst of material plenty. The songs are connected by a feeling of isolation and despair at the state of the world, as well as a pervasive strain of desperate humor and irony. The sense of rootlessness is most clearly reflected in the songs' abrupt, incomplete-sounding endings. The musical language is eclectic but highly original, ranging from echoes of Schubert, intimations of the serialism Eisler learned from Schönberg, to cabaret songs. Eisler was finally deported back to Germany during the McCarthy era, having never attained the stature he deserved. Matthias Goerne's incomparably velvety, variable, expressive voice and riveting inward concentration give the tragedy of the uprooted exile's loneliness a shattering emotional impact, and pianist Eric Schneider is terrific. It is interesting to compare Goerne's approach to that of baritone Wolfgang Holzmair, who uses a much drier sound and very pointed diction, underlining the songs' cabaret style to give them a stinging, sardonic sarcasm with stiletto-like sharpness.
"An issue of major importance, hugely impressive. Goerne has obviously been smitten by these wonderful, neglected songs: he calls them 'the 20th century Winterreise´ and in performances as gripping as these it is hard to contradict him. They are Eisler's songs of exile, written in Hollywood while the Germany for which he felt both passionate revulsion and deep nostalgia sank into the abyss. Most of the 46 short songs are settings of poems by Brecht, some written specifically for Eisler, but they also incorporate 'mini-cycles' to texts by MOrike and Eichendorff, two poems by Blaise Pascal (set in English) and one or two others including a single poem by Eisler himself.
The songs are not here sung in the order in which Eisler eventually published them, but the sequence chosen makes poignant dramatic sense, chronicling Brecht's and Eisler's horror at what was happening in Germany, their flight and exile, their reaction to the alien world of Hollywood and meditations on Germany's vanished past, hideous present and uncertain future. As performed here, the cycle ends with a loving homage to Schubert, 'On Watering the Garden', followed by the haunting and moving 'Homecoming', a vision of Berlin obliterated by bombardment, and by the intense and characteristically Eislerian lyricism of 'Landscape of Exile' ('The ravines of California at evening...did not leave the messenger of misfortune unmoved'). These were Eisler's first Lieder since his student days, and to convey his epic theme in a sequence of miniatures he ranged across all the styles available to him, from a terse, Schoenberg-derived angularity via Berlin cabaret towards, more and more as the sequence proceeds, deliberate evocation of Schubert, Schumann and Mahler.

They demand a prodigious expressive range from any singer who undertakes them. Goerne can sing 'On Suicide' with a mere thread of sound without ever losing the quality of his voice but can then swell in an instant to a formidable fff for the last syllable of the terrifying final line ('People just throw their unbearable lives away'). The sheer beauty of his voice is just what those many homages to the Lied tradition need. His English is pretty good, his diction immaculate, and he makes a memorably sinister thing of the seventh Hollywood Elegy (set in English; Brecht's German original is lost), that horrifying image of a man sinking in a swamp with a a 'ghastly, blissful smile'. Goerne has done nothing better; this is a masterly and profoundly moving achievement. His pianist is first-class, the recording admirable." -  from: Gramophone (1/1999)

Hanns Eisler - Hollywood Songbook (Matthias Goerne)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

4 Kommentare:

johneunson hat gesagt…

i think there's something wrong with this one.

zero hat gesagt…

What´s wrong with this one? Greetings...

Anonym hat gesagt…

please re-up dead link, thankx

zero hat gesagt…

Now there´s a fresh link. Best wishes!

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