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Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge - Lieder with piano
 
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Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge - Lieder with piano

23 Sept. 2013 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for £13.25 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 Oct. 2013
Format: Audio CD
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.
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Eisler is a new one on me. I bought this on a whim seeing that it was shortlisted for the BBC Music Magazine awards and a short extract on their web site piqued my interest.
The opening song cycle is extremely moving. A short prelude played by the strings lulls you in to a false sense of security that is rudely interrupted by the first song. Even if you're not following the translation, you can't help but be drawn in to the emotions. A fine piece that I will replay many times in the future.

The rest of the songs on the disc are pretty good, accompanied by solo piano. The disc is completed with a selection of settings of Weill which are oddly familiar, so maybe I've heard them before.

The singer (who is excellent) has a rest before the Weill as we're treated to a performance of Eisler's piano sonata. On first listening I wasn't overly impressed (it was an early work, seemingly written to butter up his teacher, Schonberg). It is typical of Viennese School music of the time. But a second listening began to bring out its charms and I think a few more auditions might help it really click.

All the performances on this disc are very good and I've only given it four stars because the sonata doesn't really sit well with the rest of it. I like the programmatic conceit here - breaking up a disc of German songs - but whatever the sonata's merits it's more of an interruption than a palette cleanser.

A very good disc, and one I would recommend especially if you're not a big fan of lieder.
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icredible voice, fantastic songs
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