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Eisler: Die Mutter
01 May 2000
Originally recorded in 1995
Coro della Radio Svizzera, Lugano & Coro calicantus
Auditorium of Swiss Radio, Lugano, Switzerland
Gian Andrea Lodovici
Total Time - 68:26
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Cantata for mezzo-soprano, baritone, speakers, chorus and two pianos
'Beginn des Jahres 1904 . . .'
Wie die Krähe
'Mit Kummer sieht die Mutter ihren Sohn . . .'
Das Lied von der Suppe
'Im April 1905 hört Pelagea Wlassowa . . .'
Der zerrissene Rock
'Als es infolge des Streiks zu Verhaftungen kam . . .'
Bericht vom 1. Mai 1905. Gedanken über die rote Fahne
'Pawel Wlassow ist wegen der Vorgänge . . .'
Lob des Kommunismus
'Bei dem Lehrer Nikolai . . .'
Lob des Lernens
'Pelagea Wlassowa ist im großer Sorge . . .'
Lob eines Revolutionärs
'Pelagea Wlassowa besucht ihren Sohn . . .'
Im Gefängnis zu singen
'Den Anleitungen entsprechend . . .'
Lob der Wlassowas
'Pelagea Wlassowa sieht ihren Sohn wieder . . .'
Lob der dritten Sache
'1910. Pawel Wlassow ist beim Versuch . . .'
'Der Ausbruch ds Weltkrieges . . .'
Steh auf! (Die Partei ist in Gefahr)
'Pelagea Wlassowa erlebt noch die Oktoberrevolution . . .'
Lob der Dialektik
Four Pieces, Op. 13
for mixed chorus
Gesang der Besiegten
I had a little nut-tree
Nach einem Sprichwort
Little Miss Muffat
Four and twenty tailors
I had a little Doggie
An der Schlaf
Litanie vom Hauch, Op. 21 No. 1
Diego Fasolis conducts the Coro della Radio Svizzera in this fascinating selection of choral music from German composer Hanns Eisler.
The competition for the works featured on this disc is extremely limited. There is only one other recording of Die Mutter and the Four Pieces currently available, and none of the Litanei vom Hauch.
The Swiss Radio Choir was founded in 1936andover the years has won a worldwide reputation, particularly through its radio broadcasts and recordings of Italian repertoire from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. The Choir has been directed by Diego Fasolis since 1993. Being a radio ensemble the choir has an expansive repertoire spanning six centuries, and in over sixty years has built up a huge archive of recordings.
The unaccompanied works on this disc give a measure of Eisler’s versatility. The ‘Four Pieces’, Op. 13 are settings of his own texts dating from 1928 and 1929. Eisler’s text of 1928 had said ‘Our singing must also be part of our fight’. In none of these four settings are the singers allowed to ignore the purpose and import of what they are doing. This is even more emphatically so in the 1930 setting of Brecht’s poem ‘Litanei vom Hauch’.
The transition from the densely chromatic and serial music of Eisler’s first seven opus numbers to the idiom of the marching songs and theatre music was gradual and logical. By mid 1931, Eisler had created his new and original ‘Massenlied’ style – stamping marching rhythms, minor key but modally inflected tunes and a straightforward verse/refrain strophic form, all spiced up with spiky and often jazzy counterpoints.
‘Die Mutter’ (1931) is an adaptation of Gorky’s novel of the same name and concerns the political education of an illiterate working woman, who begins to observe the actions of her son with concern, but ends with her carrying a flag at a political demonstration. It began as a play with nine musical numbers, but the completed and published score was expanded due to the popularity of the songs and consisted of thirteen numbers accompanied by nine instruments, although other arrangements by the composer exist.
By 1941 and the composition of the ‘Woodbury-Liederbüchlein’, Eisler had been in exile for eight years and had travelled though Europe, engaging in the fight against facism, and among other things had taught at the School for Social Research in New York. The work was composed at the request of a school teacher in a small town in New Jersey, whose choir clearly enjoyed a challenge.
This Swiss recording [is] remarkably sensitive…
The Guardian ‘Classical CD of the Week’
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