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Brecht, Music and Culture


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Notes to the German edition by Hans Bunge Translator's note Conversation 1 14 Ways of Describing Rain - Meetings between Brecht and Arnold Schoenberg, Charlie Chaplin and Thomas Mann - Brecht and Music Conversation 2 Galileo - Hollywood Elegies - Brecht and Feuchtwanger - Brecht and Music for the Theatre - Schweyk in the Second World War Conversation 3 Brecht on Arnold Schoenberg - Gestic Music - The Caucasian Chalk Circle - Doeblin's 65th Birthday Party Conversation 4 Music for The Private Life of the Master Race - Prologue to Galileo - Eisler and the House Committee on Un-American Activities - The Mother in New York - Brecht and Stefan Zweig - Bajazzo Conversation 5 Brecht's Hexameters for the Communist Manifesto - Was Brecht a Marxist? - Brecht's Method of Verfremdung Conversation 6 `To Those Born Later' - Boogie-Woogie - Eisler on Religion - Galileo Conversation 7 `Hotel Room 1942' - Hoelderlin Conversation 8 On Stupidity in Music I - Hoelderlin Conversation 9 Hans Mayer's book on Brecht - Brecht and Georg Lukacs Conversation 10 The Music to Schweyk in the Second World War - On Stupidity in Music II Conversation 11 Hoelderlin Poems - On Stupidity in Music III Conversation 12 Eisler on Classical Literature, on the Function of Art, on Cybernetics and on Napoleon Conversation 13 Serious Songs - Eisler's Plans for a Symphony Conversation 14 Eisler and Bunge Compare Their Experiences as Soldiers Afterword: For the First Edition of the `Conversations' by Stephan Hermlin Notes Appendix Index

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The most authoritative and illuminating account of the collaboration and friendship between the playwright Bertolt Brecht and the composer Hanns Eisler.

About the Author

Hanns Eisler was an Austrian composer. A Schoenberg pupil and committed Marxist, he was one of the great distinctive musical personalities of the twentieth century. Hans Bunge was assistant director and dramaturg at the Berliner Ensemble in Germany in the 1950s and later became first director of the Brecht Archive. He published his conversations with Eisler in Germany under the title Gesprache mit Hans Bunge - Fragen Sie mehr uber Brecht. Sabine Berendse, the daughter of the late Hans Bunge, is a Librarian and Information Specialist in Berlin, Germany. Paul Clements was Principal of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London, UK, for twelve years until his retirement in July 2008. He has taught, acted and directed in the UK, Canada and Scandinavia.


Th[is] edition is a labour of love. ... Together with Paul Clements, [Berendse] has crafted not only a readable but a highly engaging rendition of a series of conversations whose length makes them suitable for a sustained read or a more relaxed series of perusals ... [This] edition offers rich anecdotal accounts of Brecht, the German Democratic Republic, and disquisitions on the relationship between politics and music. * New Theatre Quarterly *
Eisler's conversations with Hans Bunge about Brecht focus on their time together in Hollywood as well as on the building of a `magnificent' new social republic. For Eisler, the `be-all and end-all' of their work was to `educate the teacher!' ... The most fascinating and perplexing aspect of the conversations turns on the effort to `study the effect of art on human beings.' ... The lesson of the great modernists was the lesson of socialism. In other words, ending capitalism was the precondition for making and understanding great art. -- Todd Cronan, Emory University, USA * Radical Philosophy 189 *
The important achievement of the translators ... is to have made available to the English-speaking world a landmark volume published almost forty years ago -- Ian Wallace * Eisler-Mitteilungen *
As Brecht's essay on "gestic music" makes clear, the concept of gestic performance emerged from his close collaborations with composers. Bloomsbury's companion volume, Brecht, Music and Culture, is thus doubly welcome, first for translating Eisler's thoughtful conversations with Hans Bunge, Fragen Sie mehr uber Brecht (1970), and second for explaining rather than mis-translating Verfremdung and so helping to consolidate a Brecht lexicon consistent with the new Brecht on Theatre. This publication also draws attention to the uneven transmission of Brecht's musical collaborators' critical commentary, as well as musical compositions. * Theatre Journal *

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