Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|HK Gruber, Ensemble Modern|
Genres: World Music, Pop, Classical
Music as history--by an engaging clown
Andrew G. Lang | Cleveland, OH USA | 09/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Three cheers to Amazon[.com] for finally making this outstanding recording available on the U.S. market. It has, until now, been available only in Germany and Britain.HK Gruber is an engaging composer/singer/actor/clown who has delighted Viennese audiences for years. Originally a singer in the Vienna Boys' Choir, his voice as an adult is certainly no longer angelic. Gruber could not be anyone's idea of a smooth concert baritone, but his coarse style is brilliantly expressive and here perfectly suited to the aggressively radical cabaret songs Eisler wrote in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht during the final crisis years of the Weimar Republic.Both the songs and Gruber's voice may be acquired tastes for some listeners, but this CD is worth owning as a document to the quest by composers like Eisler and Weill and poets like Brecht and Tucholsky to develop art forms that rose to the social challenges of their times.This is music as 20th-century history. In particular, the painfully dragging "Song of the SA Man"--Eisler's deliberate parody of the plodding beer-hall style of Nazi street music--is Brecht's prophetic commentary on the psychological forces that shaped Hitler's followers. On other tracks, Gruber leads the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern in three suites based on film scores Eisler wrote for "rabble-rousing" films in 1930s Germany, France and the Soviet Union. This chamber music is available on other recordings, but these are the definitive performances--played with energy and passion."