Hanns Eisler (1898–1962) Hanns Eisler Complete Edition (HEGA) – BV 350
edited by the Internationale Hanns Eisler Gesellschaft
652 pages | 13,5 x 21 cm | 890 g | ISBN: 978-3-7651-0350-6 | Hardback
The third volume of the Eisler correspondence spans a time frame of five years in Hanns Eisler’s life. Politically, these were restless times, which also left their traces in the composer’s private life and were framed by important Cold War dates (17 June 1953 in the GDR and the national uprising of the Hungarian people in 1956). Having come face to face with the new post-war GDR reality, he tried to avoid it by spending time abroad, in Vienna or Paris for example. Political harassment of the kind that manifested itself in the debate on the “Faustus” text, and the continuous struggle of the composer against small-mindedness and provinciality in everyday society were very much in contrast with Eisler’s loyalty to cultural-political decisions and his privileged status as an artist, which he knew exactly how to use without any second thoughts.
The death of Bertolt Brecht in 1956 was a profound personal loss for the composer. In the forefront of his artistic work at this time were, next to the text to “Johann Faustus”, the composition of the film score to “Nuit et brouillard”, which was just as important as his Akademie lecture on the occasion of Arnold Schoenberg’s 80th birthday, and their mutual work with Walter Felsenstein on his “Fidelio” film.
The letters of the present volume, which were prepared with informative commentaries and great attention to detail, are published here mostly for the first time and allow for a much more differentiated and objective interpretation of Eisler’s oeuvre than has been possible up to now (quite often under ideological premises of various kinds). The circle of addressees reaches from Walter Ulbricht to Thomas Mann, and a large part is now taken up by the correspondence with Eisler’s wife Louise, with whom he continued to have unbroken cordial relations after their divorce in 1955.