Bauhaus has become the shorthand for the movement in art and architecture, rooted in a philosophy of simplicity, functionality, and the integrality of the creation and implementation of design that flourished in Germany between the wars and had huge worldwide influence. The Staatliches Bauhaus was a school founded in 1919, located first in Weimar, then Dessau, and finally Berlin. The school was largely the brainchild of architect Walter Gropius, who brought together a faculty of some of the most significant artists of the time, including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, and Lyonel Feininger.
This unique CD is an oral history of the school and of the movement, consisting of interviews by the group's leaders interspersed with musical examples by composers associated with the movement. The bulk of the narrative is by Gropius, an articulate and passionate advocate for this remarkable experiment in education. Artist Josef Albers and architect Mies van der Rohe also contribute commentary. James Nice is credited with "curating" the CD, and it must be his editing that gives the album such a clear and informative narrative structure -- one comes away with a vivid understanding of the development of the movement, both philosophically and pragmatically. Stefan Wolpe was the only professional composer who studied at the school, and the CD includes several brief pieces of his, as well as works by other composers more loosely related to the school -- Josef Matthias Hauer (who developed a twelve-tone system independently of Schoenberg), George Antheil, and H.H. Stuckenschmidt, played by Steffen Schleiermacher. Schoenberg is represented by his Piano Piece No. 1, Op. 23, and his complete Suite for Piano, Op. 25, in historic performances by Eduard Steuermann made in 1957.
The CD is a fascinating documentation of the movement and should be of strong interest to anyone intrigued by the art, architecture, design, and music of Germany between the wars.