04/03/2013, by CLAS

Forthcoming event: ‘Ask me more about Brecht’

On 13 March 2013 the Department of German Studies will host a multimedia show by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements, entitled ‘Ask me more about Brecht: Hanns Eisler in conversation with Hans Bunge’.

Bertolt Brecht was one of the leading German dramatists and poets of the twentieth century. The composer Hanns Eisler was Brecht’s most politically committed collaborator and is one of the most fascinating and controversial composers of the twentieth century. The composer, a student of Arnold Schoenberg, combined avant-garde music with popular culture and revolutionary politics. His songs, longstanding ballads of the German left and his arrangement of the concentration-camp inmates’ song ‘Die Moorsoldaten’ (‘The Peat-Bog Soldiers’) became an anthem of anti-fascist resistance.


Brecht and Eisler, drawing by Herbert Sandberg © ddrbildarchiv.de

Between 1958 until shortly before his death in 1962, Eisler was interviewed by Hans Bunge. These recorded conversations are intriguing, entertaining and informative personal reflections on half a century of artistic and political turbulence. Sometimes hilarious and at other times moving, they provide an insight into Eisler’s political ideas and his thoughts on the social significance of music; his opposition to Hitler and subsequent exile; his friendship with Bertolt Brecht and their collaboration; the encounter with the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities Committee; and artistic, political and intellectual life in the German Democratic Republic.

Berendse and Clements recently finished the first complete translation into English of these conversations. During this event, you will see a dramatic reconstruction of extracts from the conversations and hear recorded words and music from Eisler himself. The show will take place in the Arts Centre Lecture Theatre (A30), 5-7pm, and all are welcome!

Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Posted in German Studies