147

Das Kapital: Conflicts & Conclusions: Das Kapital plays Hanns Eisler

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Das Kapital: Conflicts & Conclusions: Das Kapital plays Hanns Eisler Pan-European power trio Das Kapital continues to explore, on its third release, the musical legacy of composer Hanns Eisler, after successfully rearranging Eisler's well-known compositions and songs on Ballads & Barricades (Quark, 2009)

Eisler's compositions rarely were covered by free jazz musicians. The pioneer European trio of Peter Brötzmann, Fred Van Hove amd Han Bennink covered a few Esler compositions on the hard-to-find Einheitsfrontlied (FMP, 1973), though the composer's multi-layered writing attempted to fill the gap between elite art (being one of composer Arnold Schönberg's favorite students) and popular culture, as a composer who wrote to one of the finest songwriters of the last century, Bertold Brecht. Still, Esler's music remained very characteristic and well-informed by new musical innovations of the twentieth century.

Obviously, Das Kapital is aware of Esler's troubled history. He fled Nazi Germany in the mid-1930s, to settle in New York. From there, he was evicted with just two days' notice by the McCarthyists in the late '40s, resettling in his native Berlin, where very soon he got into trouble with the governing Stalinists. On Conflicts & Conclusions ,Das Kapital presents lesser-known songs from Esler's engaged political period in the 1930s and more innocent songs from his Hollywood soundtrack days, as well as propaganda songs that he scored after returning to Germany.

The trio joyfully navigates Esler's impressive songbook, opening with a festive, almost anarchistic version of "Auferstanden aus Ruinen (Risen from Ruins)," the now-forgotten national anthem of the German Democratic Republic (better known s East Germany), emptying the song from its pompous Stalinist clichés to reclaim its melodic beauty. Brecht's post-war poem, "Die Pappel Vom Karlsplatz (The Poplar from Karlsplatz)"—dealing with the horrors and melancholy of WWII but also suggesting some hope—is turned into a playful, life-affirming soul-jazz ballad. On "Lied einer Deutschen Mutter (Song of a German mother)," tenor saxophonist Daniel Erdmann follows the original touching melody, while guitarist Hasse Poulsen and drummer Edward Perraud challenge him with layers of distorting sounds and fractured rhythms.

On a string of songs composed by Brecht and Eisler, Das Kapital finds inspiring solutions to retain their still-relevant message. On "Kohlen fur Mike (Coal for Mike)," the trio stretches the melodic possibilities, using them as a vehicle for a free improvisation. The march-like, anthemic character of "Friedenslied (Peace song) (after Pablo Neruda)" is retained, but tons of free, high-spirited energy are injected into the original theme, actually managing to reclaim its original anti-totalitarian call. And on "Sklave wer wird dich befreien (All or nothing)," Das Kapital turns the revolutionary call for workers solidarity into a sophisticated Latin-tinged dance.

Conflicts & Conclusions is an inspiring set of idealist music from three fearless musicians who are not shy to suggest that the role of artists is as subversive agents against any powerful ideology, regime or convention.


Track Listing: Auferstanden aus Ruinen (National anthem of the GDR); Die Pappel Vom Karlsplatz (The poplar tree on Karlsplatz); Lied einer Deutschen Mutter (Song of a German mother); Die Haltbare Graugans (The grey goose); Wienerlied; Wienerlied; Kohlen fur Mike (Coal for Mike); Verfehlte Liebe (Misguided love); Friedenslied (Peace song); To those who came before; An die Nachgeborenen (To those who come after); Sklave wer wird dich befreien (All or nothing); Und ich werde nicht mehr sehen (A German at Stalingrad); Hollywood Elegie (Hollywood elegy); Hollywood Elegie Koda (Hollywood elegy--coda).

Personnel: Daniel Erdmann: tenor saxophone; Hasse Poulsen: guitar; Edward Perraud: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Das Kapital


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Stop Time" CD/LP/Track Review Stop Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 24, 2016
Read "Beekman Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Beekman Vol. 02
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Live In New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live In New York
by John Sharpe
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Birdwatching" CD/LP/Track Review Birdwatching
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Les Rhincéros III" CD/LP/Track Review Les Rhincéros III
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Winds Of Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Winds Of Mouth
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!