Heiner Goebbels

Heiner Goebbels: Eislermaterial

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Heiner Goebbels' admiration for Hanns Eisler is undoubtedly sincere, but one may still wonder what he has accomplished in Eislermaterial, his 1998 tribute to the German composer. A sensation when performed throughout Europe as a theater piece, Eislermaterial has also garnered extravagant praise in this 2003 release. In large part, the appeal is directly attributable to the Eisler/Brecht songs, which are affectingly performed by German actor Josef Bierbichler. His world-weary voice is perfectly suited to these songs of exile and loss and provides a mooring of human feeling amidst the welter of sounds proffered by Goebbels and Ensemble Modern. The montage method, as employed here, is less chaotic than in similarly assembled experiments of the 1970s -- Ludwig van, Mauricio Kagel's notorious hodgepodge, comes to mind as an extreme example -- but the trick is stale, no matter how many uses can be made of it. Through all the quotations, improvisations, and recordings of Eisler's own voice, Goebbels distances his subject instead of bringing him closer. Ultimately, Eisler ceases to be a man, but only a shadow seen through a scrim of ideology, nostalgia, and theatricality. Minimal liner notes contribute to the mysteries of this disc, and the lack of lyrics leaves non-German listeners out of the loop.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Eislermaterial, a portrait of Hanns Eisler
1
7:02 Amazon
2
4:05 Amazon
3 2:01 Amazon
4
2:49 Amazon
5
1:55 Amazon
6
1:27 Amazon
7
1:40 Amazon
8
3:35 Amazon
9
4:36 Amazon
10
2:52 Amazon
11
1:56 Amazon
12
3:39 Amazon
13
3:15 Amazon
14
2:56 Amazon
15
3:30 Amazon
16
0:53 Amazon
17
3:29 Amazon
18
2:54
19
1:27 Amazon
20
5:44 Amazon
21
1:23 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick