Hanns Eisler has only been a name to me, really, but this CD has completely changed how I think of him. The Ernste Gesange, written in 1961-2, are intensely moving as the testament of a man disillusioned with how Communism had turned out in practice, while the Brecht settings from the War years, which he spent in Los Angeles, are also very poignant, if more anecdotal. Matthias Goerne has selected 17 of the total 47, nearly all by Brecht. There are also three cabaret songs from the twenties when he first came under Brecht's influence in Berlin, and the Piano Sonata op. 1, showing the influence of Schoenberg, who apparently did a great deal to champion it. He was Schoenberg's pupil, so the coincidence of an opus 1 sonata by both Eisler and Berg is striking. Berg's is more Romantic, where Eisler is punchy and energetic. They're two of the best piano sonatas of the modern era, certainly, but this one by Eisler seems quite neglected. Thomas Larcher plays very well in the 17 songs and the sonata, while the Ensemble Resonanz provides expressionistic string tones in the Ernste Gesange. With such fantastic singing from Goerne, whose tone is immensely varied to give a vivid sense of the texts, this CD really is a very rewarding experience.