Christopher Maltman (baritone)
Julius Drake (piano)
‘Fascinating’ hardly begins to describe Hanns Eisler. A pupil of both Schoenberg and Webern, who to a certain extent rejected Schoenberg and the mainstream of ‘New Music’ on account of his political convictions, Eisler proved a surer collaborator with Brecht than Weill had ever done. (Weill’s selling out in his American exile is one of the saddest stories of twentieth-century music, the composer of the Violin Concerto. the Second Symphony, and Mahagonny reduced to non-ironic churning out of popular song.) Exiled from the Third Reich, Eisler would eventually be expelled from the McCarthyite USA too, despite support from luminaries as diverse as Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Henri Matisse, and a good few others. The final phase of his career would be spent in the GDR, where the collaboration with Brecht would continue. Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik continues to bear Eisler’s name.