Quotations about Hanns Eisler
Arnold Schönberg on Hanns Eisler (1923):
Doctor, the bearer of this letter is my former student Hanns Eisler. He
will try and arouse your interest in his piano sonata. Of course, I
will not give you any advice, as, because I earlier recommended the
works of Webern and Berg dozens of times, my uncritical nature and lack
of instinct have been proven once and for all." (Letter to the then
director of the Viennese music publisher Universal Edition, Emil
Hertzka, who a short time later signed Eisler on).
Arnold Schönberg on Hanns Eisler (1947):
it is really too stupid, that adults, artists, who should truly have
something better to say, get involved in theories of world improvement,
although history clearly shows how all this ends. If I had something to
say, I would put him across my knee like a silly boy and give him 25
and make him promise never to open his mouth again and limit himself to
composing. He is talented at this, the rest he should leave to others."
(Letter to Josef Rufer, following Eisler's hearing at the committee
investigating un-American activities).
Theodor W. Adorno on Hanns Eisler:
Immense, in this time paradoxical facility, not of the stereotype,
rather the expression of enormous presence of mind, promptness of
reaction; in this, the political in temperament manifested itself most clearly." (Notes on Eisler, 1966)
Bertolt Brecht on Hanns Eisler:
"For me, his setting is what a performance is for a play: the test. He reads with immense accuracy." (Journal, 1942)
Charlie Chaplin on Hanns Eisler:
you know Hanns Eisler?" said a reporter. "Yes, he is a very dear friend
of mine and a great musician." - "Do you know that he is a communist?"
- "I don't care what he is, my friendship is not based on politics." -
"But you seem to like communists", said another.
Stephan Hermlin on Hanns Eisler:
and Busch turned to the audience and asked for requests. From their
tables, people called out the names of songs they wanted to hear. I can
remember how I noticed, with a kind of dismay, that Eisler sometimes
hit the keys with his fists. At the same time, my own indignation
amused me. I clapped and shouted like the other listeners, although up
until this time I had not considered it possible to play the piano in
this way." (On Eisler's performances with Ernst Busch from 1929/1930 in
Clifford Odets on Hanns Eisler:
the time I got to the rehearsal in the evening, Hanns was already
working with his musicians […]. That is what made my heart go banging –
the music! Not the new scenery. What an excellent little workman Hanns
is! How he whipped those fellows into shape, turned them, taught them,
flattered and pushed them – got exactly the results he wanted." (on the
work for Odets' play "Night Music")
Thomas Mann on Hanns Eisler:
know the man very well, he is highly educated, witty, very entertaining
in conversation, and I have often had brilliant talks with him,
particularly about Wagner. As a musician, he is, in the judgement of
all his colleagues, first-class." (1947)
Gisela May on Hanns Eisler:
"Eisler's music is revolutionary, and everything revolutionary is still current, in my opinion, here and elsewhere."
Sergej Tretjakov on Hanns Eisler:
a Berlin street In 1931, I saw how a fat policeman in green uniform and
with a pince-nez charged into a group of small children. He slapped
them with his white gloves and pulled their ears. Why? They were
singing an Eisler song."