- Ballad of Marie Sanders 2:08
- The German Miserere 1:59
- The Love Market 2:48
- Failure in Loving 1:04
- Mother Beimlein 1:54
- There's Nothing Quite Like Money 2:33
- Song of a German Mother 1:57
- Change the World: It Needs It 2:13
- Song of the United Front 2:26
- Abortion is Illegal 2:32
- Under the Green Pepper Trees 1:14
- The City is Named After the Angels 1:34
- Every Morning to Earn My Bread 1:17
- Above the Four Cities 1:17
- The Swamp 1:07
- The Rat Men 1:00
- Hollywood 1:25
- The Grey Goose :56
- Song of the Moldau 1:10
- Easter Sunday, 1935 1:29
- On Suicide 1:57
- Do not Cry, Marie! 1:33
- Ballad of the Soldier 3:09
- Solidarity Song 1:38
Seven Hollywood Elegies
CLASSIC GERMAN CABARET ON LABOR RECORDS:
Hanns Eisler / Bertolt Brecht "There's Nothing Quite Like Money"
Sylvia Anders, soprano; D. Justus Noll, piano; The Stephen Roane Quartet
Labor Records is pleased to announce the re-release of an album of songs by Hanns Eisler & Bertolt Brecht, "There's Nothing Quite Like Money." Sung in English by Sylvia Anders, a German actress and musical comedy star, the recording documents one of the most brilliant (and overlooked) musical and personal collaborations of the twentieth century: that of EISLER & BRECHT.
"Anyone asked today to name a left-wing German composer who collaborated with BRECHT would surely think first of Kurt Weill. Weill, though, only worked with BRECHT for a short time, and the collaboration didn't really please either man. BRECHT's truer partner - and the truer - radical was HANNS EISLER" (Gregory Sandow). During his lifetime, EISLER (who was one of Schoenberg's favorite pupils) created a massive body of work, but these songs - written to inspire and enlighten a world gone mad with alienation and rampant greed - are his most immediate and successful musical contributions. EISLER's collaboration with BRECHT began in Germany between the World Wars, fueled by their radicalism and by their belief that music should teach optimism and struggle. The two wrote songs on the spur of the moment for workers' rallies and political cabarets: "If anything new occurred, the first one to telephone me was BRECHT saying, ' We really must do something about that right away.'" They continued to work together steadily throughout the 40's in what they called their "years in exile" in Hollywood - a city that, as the songs document, they both found hatefully corrupt - and finally in East Germany in the 50's where they both settled after EISLER was expelled from the United States for his political beliefs.
"The seventeen individual songs on this album classify as agitprop; they are political, anti-Nazi, proworker, pacifist, but their stirring sentiments and clear-eyed melodic and rhythmic appeal make them art songs as well. Best are "The German Miserere," "There's Nothing Quite Like Money" (with its biting refrain, "Money is our aphrodisiac"), "Song of a German Mother," "Easter Sunday," and the rousing "Solidarity Song," which was written in the Thirties and still has resonance today. Also included are the Seven Hollywood Elegies, bitter, nasty miniatures about the corrupt "paradise" of southern California. German cabaret artist Sylvia Anders has a classically trained voice, which she uses like a surgeon's scalpel to dissect Brecht's lyrics." - Stephanie von Buchau, High Notes
"Sylvia Anders is a consistently compelling, sensuously and satirically powerful interpreter of both the words and the sinuous musical lines. She is a German actress based in Hamburg but, singing in English, is doubly idiomatic. Among the cheerily bitter titles are: " The Rat Men," "Song of a German Mother" (of a Nazi), and "The German Miserere." Because they are so skillfully theatrical, the songs transcend their grim topical origins-especially when sung, as here, with such voracious mockery.
– Nat Hentoff, The Progressive
MusicWeb: see Review
Riveting and quite moving are the realizations of Eisler and Brecht’s music and words on “There Is Nothing…” Though their material has been brought to the fore in excellent contexts by various (then East) German players as well as (West) Germany’s Alfred Harth and Heiner Goebbels, where the potential for improvisation and group interaction was emphasized, the approach here stresses, for the most part, an almost profound simplicity. (The exception to this are Heiner Stadler’s arrangements for “Song Of The United Front,” which features opposing sections of swirling textures and open, driving jazz from a quartet configuration, and “Solidarity Song,” where the same musicians are added to the vocal one-by-one, working in and around the pulse, as well as the “Seven Hollywood Elegies” which, as pointed out in the informative liner notes, heads into the realm of contemporary classical music.) Much of the album features only D. Justus Noll on piano, synthesizer, tack piano or bass clarinet, and the emotive, direct and astute operatic/cabaret-styled vocals of Sylvia Anders. Particularly powerful in its brevity – most of the pieces run around two minutes – and starkness is “Mother Beimlein,” a tale of survival eloquently executed through Anders’ plaintive voice and Noll’s two note patterns on bass clarinet symbolizing the protagonist’s wooden-legged walk. Those familiar with Brechts’s plays will no doubt recognize some of the songs, and those who tend to gravitate towards his tainted optimism as well as Eisler’s creative populist stance, will certainly appreciate this album. As for those who have yet to delve into their work, this is an excellent place to start – the themes are universal and the executions feel true to the spirit of the creators. –Milo Fine, Votive
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