Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge & Sonata Op. 1

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Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge & Sonata Op. 1


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Release date:

2nd Sept 2013




53 minutes


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Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge & Sonata Op. 1


Piano Sonata, Op. 1

Ernste Gesänge

Ensemble Resonanz, Ingo Metzmacher

Hotelzimmer 1942

Die Flucht

An den kleinen Radioapparat


Speisekammer 1942

Die Heimkehr

Die Landschaft des Exils

Und es sind die finstern Zeiten

Über den Selbstmord

Verfehlte Liebe


Vom Sprengen des Gartens

Der Kirschdieb

Lied von der belebenden Wirkung des Geldes

Die Ballade vom Wasserrad, Op. 45 No. 11

Solidaritatslied (No. 1 from Kuhle Wampe, Op. 27)

In der Frühe

Matthias Goerne (baritone), Thomas Larcher (piano)



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From 1920s Vienna and the Berlin of the Weimar Republic to emigration to the USA, then back to Vienna after the defeat of Nazism, to end his days in East Berlin: Hanns Eisler’s life was one long exile against the backcloth of the artistic, technical and political revolutions of the 20th century. Distance, irony and melancholy are the aesthetic corollaries that characterise the lieder presented here, their atmosphere often evoking the despair of those dark times. The early piano sonata gained the young Eisler an admiration that has never dimmed. Hanns Eisler was born in Leipzig on 6 July 1898 and went to school in Vienna. After two years as a common soldier in the First World War, he became a student of Arnold Schoenberg in 1919, dedicating his Sonata for Piano Op. 1 to his teacher in 1923. He moved to Berlin 1925, where he composed for workers' choruses and agitprop groups and collaborated with Brecht (Die Maßnahme, Die Mutter) from 1928. Eisler initially moved to Paris then London, before taking exile in America from 1938, where he created his most significant chamber music works. Alongside music for eight Hollywood pictures, Eisler also composed his 'Hollywood Songbook' to texts by Brecht, Hölderlin and others while in California.

In 1948, Eisler returned to Europe, initially to Vienna and Prague and ultimately to East Berlin. Although he wrote the National Anthem of the GDR to a text by Johannes R. Becher, conflict arose with GDR cultural bureaucracy when he published his libretto 'Johann Faustus' in late 1952. In 1959, he witnessed the premiere of his 'Deutsche Symphonie', mostly composed while in exile, at the State Opera Unter den Linden. He died on 6 September 1962 in East Berlin.

Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge

Vorspiel und Spruch

1. Asyl

2. Traurigkeit

3. Verzweiflung

4. Hoffnung

5. XX. Parteitag

6. Komm ins Offene, Freund!

7. Epilog

Hanns Eisler: Hotelzimmer 1942

Hotelzimmer 1942

Hanns Eisler: Die Flucht

Die Flucht

Hanns Eisler: An den kleinen Radioapparat

An den kleinen Radioapparat

Hanns Eisler: In der Frühe

In der Frühe

Hanns Eisler: Frühling


Hanns Eisler: Speisekammer 1942

Speisekammer 1942

Hanns Eisler: Die Heimkehr

Die Heimkehr

Hanns Eisler: Die Landschafts des Exils

Die Landschafts des Exils

Hanns Eisler: Und es sind die finstern Zeiten

Und es sind die finstern Zeiten

Hanns Eisler: Über den Selbstmord

Über den Selbstmord

Hanns Eisler: Verfehlte Liebe

Verfehlte Liebe

Hanns Eisler: Ostersonntag


Hanns Eisler: Vom Sprengen des Gartens

Vom Sprengen des Gartens

Hanns Eisler: Der Kirschdieb

Der Kirschdieb

Hanns Eisler: Sonate, Op.1

I. Allegro

II. Intermezzo. Andante con moto

III. Finale. Allegro

Hanns Eisler: Lied von der belebenden Wirkung des Geldes

Lied von der belebenden Wirkung des Geldes

Hanns Eisler: Ballade vom Wasserrad

Ballade vom Wasserrad

Hanns Eisler: Solidaritätslied


The Times

20th September 2013


“Goerne and Eisler prove you can also be thrillingly expressive wielding a delicate whisper, a pungent shout, and irony’s stiletto heel.”

The Guardian

26th September 2013


“the real interest of the new disc is Goerne's performance, beautifully shaded and articulated, of Eisler's very last work, the Ernste Gesänge...The sonata is played with careful attention to detail by Thomas Larcher...a fascinating and hugely rewarding disc.”

The Arts Desk

5th October 2013

“Importantly, he never lets us forget what a lyrical composer Eisler could be; the Epilogue is appropriately devastating, its final flourish dissolving suddenly into a plucked bass note...Accessible, stimulating, intelligent music, and an ideal introduction to a great composer.”

Gramophone Magazine

November 2013

“Goerne's heartfelt contribution is plainly central to this project...The baritone enjoys a close artistic collaboration with composer-pianist Thomas Larcher and the sonic quality is first-rate...Eisler's 'classical' side is strikingly well served.”

BBC Music Magazine

Christmas 2013

“Goerne’s performance of the Ernste Gesange is mesmerising… Goerne colours every word with insight and intensity and moulds each melodic line with amazing fluidity. The Ensemble Resonanz follows his every nuance with fantastic precision and brings a breathtaking variety of texture to a spare orchestral accompaniment.”

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