Hanns Eisler


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(b Leipzig, 1898; d Berlin, 1962).

Ger. composer. His Marxist beliefs led him from 1927 to a more ‘popular’ style, and he wrote political marching‐songs, chs., and th. mus. in collab. with Brecht. Exiled in 1933, he worked in Paris, London, Copenhagen, and USA, settling in Hollywood 1938 where he taught at the Univ. of S. Calif. and worked on films with Chaplin. He wrote (in Eng.) the book Composing for the Films (1947). McCarthy drive against Communists in 1947 led to a deportation order. He returned to Vienna and in 1949 settled in (East) Berlin, organizing workers' choirs and writing popular songs (incl. the DDR anthem). Nevertheless many of his comps. were in advanced 12‐note technique. Works incl. 600 songs, mus. for 40 plays and over 40 films. The following have words by Brecht: Die Massnahme (1930); Deutsche Sinfonie (1935–9); Lenin‐Requiem (1937); Die Teppichweber von Kujan‐Bulak (1957); Solidaritätslied (1930); Kinderlieder (1951); Die Mutter (Gorky and Brecht, 1931); Die Rundköpfe und die Spitzköpfe (1934–6); Galileo Galilei (1946); Die Gesichte der Simone Machard (1946); Schweyk im zweiten Weltkrieg (1957).

Also Kleine Sinfonie (1932); 5 Orchestral Pieces (1938); Chamber Symphony (1940); Str. Qt. (1937); Nonet (1939); Theme and Variations for pf. (1940); septet (variations on Amer. nursery songs) (1941); pf. quintet (1944); septet No.2 (1947); pf. sonatas (1924 and 1943); Ernste Gesänge (bar. and orch.) (1962).

Subjects: Music.

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