Album review: Matthias Goerne, Hanns Eisler: Ernste Gesänge; Lieder With Piano (Harmonia Mundi)


Under the rubric "singing in dark times", baritone Matthias Goerne presents songs from two eras of Hanns Eisler's life. Lieder With Piano are settings of Brecht poems written during his flight from Nazism, clutching a portable radio "to hear my enemies bragging of their conquests".

Eisler perfectly captures the poignant, absurd and tragic aspects of the era. Goerne's lugubrious but forceful tone is particularly effective in the later Ernste Gesänge (Serious Songs), settings of poems by Hölderlin and others, completed weeks before Eisler's death in East Germany, their titles – "Despair", etc – conveying his disappointed idealism.

Download: Song Of The Stimulating Effect Of Cash; Easter Sunday; Hotel Room 1942; Epilogue