16 Facts About Hanns Eisler


Hanns Eisler is best known for composing the national anthem of East Germany, for his long artistic association with Bertolt Brecht, and for the scores he wrote for films.

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Johannes Hanns Eisler was born in Leipzig in Saxony, the son of Rudolf Hanns Eisler, a professor of philosophy, and Marie Ida Fischer.

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Hanns Eisler's brother, Gerhart, was a Communist journalist, and his sister, Elfriede, was a leader of the German Communist Party in the mid-1920s.

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Hanns Eisler was the first of Schoenberg's disciples to compose in the twelve-tone or serial technique.

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Hanns Eisler married Charlotte Demant in 1920; they separated in 1934.

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Hanns Eisler wrote music for several Brecht plays, including The Decision, The Mother and Schweik in the Second World War .

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Hanns Eisler made two visits to the US, with speaking tours from coast to coast.

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In 1938, Hanns Eisler finally managed to emigrate to the United States with a permanent visa.

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In several chamber and choral compositions of this period, Hanns Eisler returned to the twelve-tone method he had abandoned in Berlin.

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Hanns Eisler was one of the first artists placed on the Hollywood blacklist by the film studio bosses.

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Hanns Eisler returned to Austria, and later moved to East Berlin.

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In May 1953, Hanns Eisler's libretto was attacked by a major article in Neues Deutschland, the SED organ, which disapproved of the negative depiction of Faust as a renegade and accused the work of being "a slap in the face of German national feeling" and of having "formalistically deformed one of the greatest works of our German poet Goethe" .

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Hanns Eisler fell into a depressive mood, and did not write the music for the opera.

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Hanns Eisler collaborated with Brecht until the latter's death in 1956.

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Hanns Eisler never recovered completely from his friend's demise, and his remaining years were marred by depression and declining health.

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Hanns Eisler died of a heart attack in East Berlin in September 1962, and is buried near Brecht in the Dorotheenstadt cemetery.

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