East German Symphonies HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): 5 Orchesterstücke, Chamber Symphony (Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Chamber Formation; Max Pommer), PAUL DESSAU (1894-1979): In memoriam Bertold Brecht (Gewandhaus Orch.; Dessau), Meer der Stürme (Orchestermusik No. 2) (Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra; Herbert Kegel), MAX BUTTING (1888-1976): Symphony No. 9, Op. 94 (Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Franz Konwitschny), RUDOLF WAGNER-RÉGENY (1903-1969): 3 Orchestersätze (Berlin Symphony Orchestra; Hans-Peter Frank), Einletung und Ode (BSO; Kurt Sanderling), JOHANN CILENSEK (1913-1998): Symphony No. 4 for Strings (Leipzig RSO; Kegel), FRITZ GEISSLER (1921-1984): Symphony No. 2 (Gewandhaus Orch.; Václav Neumann), SIEGFRIED MATTHUS (b.1934): Symphony No. 2 (Orchestra of the Berlin Comic Opera; Matthus), FRIEDRICH GOLDMANN (b.1941): Symphony No. 1 (Leipzig RSO; Kegel), GEORG KATZER (b.1935): Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 (Berlin RSO; Wolf-Dieter Hauschild), MANFRED SCHUBERT (b.1937): Symphony No. 1 (Gewandhaus Orch.; Kurt Masur), MANFRED WEISS (b.1935): Symphony No. 3 (Staatskapelle Dresden; Herbert Blomstedt).
Catalogue Number: 03K072
Label: Berlin Classics
Description: East Germany was unusual in the Soviet bloc for demanding the usual "Socialist Realism" but letting its composers compose atonal and dodecaphonic music anyway, largely due to Eisler and Dessau, the two paragons of anti-Fascism who followed Schoenberg's path long before there was an East Germany. Eisler's Chamber Symphony (1940) has fascinating sounds, using a Novachord, electric piano, xylophone and vibraphone among other instruments in music originally written for a documentary on Arctic icebergs. The most conservative music here is by the two 19th-century-born composers - Butting (1956) and Wagner-Régeny (1952 and 1967) - whose works seem to follow in the Germanic tradition of chorale and counterpoint (although both use twelve-tone motifs, they are as hard to notice as those used by Benjamin Frankel in England). Cilensek's 1958 work is taut, expressive and full of nervous energy with the shadows of Hindemith and Bartók looming large and Geissler's is still on the border of tradition; the true East German avant-garde is represented by composers who came of age after World War II: Matthus, Goldmann, Katzer and Schubert with their harshly atonal, often loud and violently expressive works (one wonders how these things got recorded by a state which condemned such composition out of hand) which can make you think of Shostakovich hiding his true feelings. 5 CDs.