Of particular importance to Eisler was the principle of synthesis, merging a variety of musical aesthetics into an autonomous whole, while also wanting to ‘change the world’ with his music. The October Revolution of 1917 and the assumption of power by the Bolsheviks in Russia had shaped the young composer for the rest of his life. In the 1930s, during his years of exile, there was no topic that preoccupied him more than the sustained protest against National Socialism. Eisler wanted to make a musical stance against Fascism with his Opus 50; he wanted to show – together with his friend and librettist Bertolt Brecht – that there was not just a Nazi Germany, but another, better Germany. The German Symphony is arguably Eisler’s most important work, unique in its ingenious combination of symphony, cantata and oratorio.
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