Hanns Eisler / Bertolt Brecht "There's Nothing Quite Like Money"
Sylvia Anders, soprano; D. Justus Noll, piano; The Stephen Roane Quartet
Labor Records is pleased to announce the re-release of an album of songs by Hanns Eisler & Bertolt Brecht, "There's Nothing Quite Like Money." Sung in English by Sylvia Anders, a German actress and musical comedy star, the recording documents one of the most brilliant (and overlooked) musical and personal collaborations of the twentieth century: that of EISLER & BRECHT.
"Anyone asked today to name a left-wing German composer who collaborated with BRECHT would surely think first of Kurt Weill. Weill, though, only worked with BRECHT for a short time, and the collaboration didn't really please either man. BRECHT's truer partner - and the truer - radical was HANNS EISLER" (Gregory Sandow). During his lifetime, EISLER (who was one of Schoenberg's favorite pupils) created a massive body of work, but these songs - written to inspire and enlighten a world gone mad with alienation and rampant greed - are his most immediate and successful musical contributions. EISLER's collaboration with BRECHT began in Germany between the World Wars, fueled by their radicalism and by their belief that music should teach optimism and struggle. The two wrote songs on the spur of the moment for workers' rallies and political cabarets: "If anything new occurred, the first one to telephone me was BRECHT saying, ' We really must do something about that right away.'" They continued to work together steadily throughout the 40's in what they called their "years in exile" in Hollywood - a city that, as the songs document, they both found hatefully corrupt - and finally in East Germany in the 50's where they both settled after EISLER was expelled from the United States for his political beliefs.
REVIEW / High Notes
"The seventeen individual songs on this album classify as agitprop; they are political, anti-Nazi, proworker, pacifist, but their stirring sentiments and clear-eyed melodic and rhythmic appeal make them art songs as well. Best are "The German Miserere," "There's Nothing Quite Like Money" (with its biting refrain, "Money is our aphrodisiac"), "Song of a German Mother," "Easter Sunday," and the rousing "Solidarity Song," which was written in the Thirties and still has resonance today. Also included are the Seven Hollywood Elegies, bitter, nasty miniatures about the corrupt "paradise" of southern California. German cabaret artist Sylvia Anders has a classically trained voice, which she uses like a surgeon's scalpel to dissect Brecht's lyrics."
- Stephany von Buchau, High Notes
REVIEW / The Progressive
"Sylvia Anders is a consistently compelling, sensuously and satirically powerful interpreter of both the words and the sinuous musical lines. She is a German actress based in Hamburg but, singing in English, is doubly idiomatic. Among the cheerily bitter titles are: " The Rat Men," "Song of a German Mother" (of a Nazi), and "The German Miserere." Because they are so skillfully theatrical, the songs transcend their grim topical origins-especially when sung, as here, with such voracious mockery.
- Nat Hentoff, The Progressive
Check out the artist's website:
1. Ballad of Marie Sanders
2. The German Miserere
3. The Love Market
4. Failure in Loving
5. Mother Beimlein
6. There's Nothing Quite Like Money
7. Song of a German Mother
8. Change the World: It Needs It
9. Song of the United Front
10. Abortion is Illegal
11. Seven Hollywood Elegies / Under the Green Pepper Trees
12. The City is Named After the Angels
13. Every Morning to Earn My Bread
14. Above the Four Cities
15. The Swamp
16. The Rat Men
18. The Grey Goose
19. Song of the Moldau
20. Easter Sunday, 1935
21. On Suicide
22. Do not Cry, Marie!
23. Ballad of the Soldier
24. Solidarity Song