Hanns Eisler (1898–1962) Hanns Eisler Complete Edition (HEGA) – SON 513 | in preperation
edited by the Internationale Hanns Eisler Gesellschaft
In Hanns Eisler’s lieder output of the years 1922 to 1932, the upheavals in the composer’s artistic self-image manifest themselves as if through a burning glass. While his early songs from 1917 on were still strongly influenced by the formal language of Hugo Wolf and Gustav Mahler, the young musician’s apprenticeship with Arnold Schönberg, begun in 1919, was soon reflected in a clear reorientation, which made use of the new advanced means of expression and the new compositional method of the twelve-tone technique. Equally thorough was Eisler’s turning away from Schönberg’s avant-garde style, which he had begun around 1925, and his orientation towards what he considered to be a seminal proletarian music culture: Eisler’s political radicalization, flanked by his work for the communist Agitprop Troop “Das rote Sprachrohr” and for the KPD’s party newspaper “Die Rote Fahne”, led him to the new goal of making his compositional skills, trained in bourgeois music culture, serve the life interests, aesthetic needs and political goals of the proletariat. From then on, he focused almost exclusively on composing vocal music and chose mainly political poems by Erich Weinert, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Tucholsky, Walter Mehring and David Robert Winterfeld (alias Robert Gilbert alias David Weber) as lyrics for his lieder.
The present sub-volume 2.1 of Hanns Eisler’s lieder contains all such compositions, from the cycle op. 2 (1922) and the “Zeitungsauschnitte” op. 11 (1925–27) to the “Lied der roten Flieger” (1932). The later ones were ultimately no longer intended for the concert hall, but for use in film and theater plays, cabaret programs and political events, so that in addition to the traditional scoring for voice and piano, other performance variants were added, for example in the form of alternating singing by soloist and choir, which ultimately made it possible to include the audience, i.e. to develop the genre towards a mass song.