With the utmost passion and precision, Ensemble Modern nails both the catchy brassy and the complex modern parts of the music, displaying authentic stage presence.

Hans-Jürgen Linke, Frankfurter Rundschau

Heiner Goebbels‘ ›Eislermaterial‹ can be considered an initiation for the Ensemble Modern.

Achim Heidenreich, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The fact that they pull it off with such aplomb and give us such a breathtaking hour full of wonder is precisely what makes the Ensemble Modern so special.

Rajika Puri, News India-Times

[T]his passionate view of Eisler has an irresistible appeal.

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman

›Eislermaterial‹ sails the fine line between the shallows of reverence and presumption, parody and affirmation, and Goebbels masters it brilliantly.

Wolfgang Sandner, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Eislermaterial

Heiner Goebbels Hommage an Hanns Eisler

»I believe that my decision to make music professionally has much to do with his [Hanns Eisler’s] work. [...] I was fascinated by the entire breadth of topics discussed by Eisler, including literature, politics, mathematics, philosophy, the visual arts, and music of course...« (Heiner Goebbels)

In the former GDR during the 1950s, Hanns Eisler succeeded in breaking up the social isolation of modern music; many of his works were written – in conscious reference to functionality and other arts – as ›applied music‹. He gave particular emphasis to the fields of mass songs as well as choral, theatre and film music. In 1998 Heiner Goebbels created a homage related to Eisler’s oeuvre in its complexity, commemorating the 100th birthday of Hanns Eisler.

Goebbels uses the entire breadth of Eisler’s oeuvre in ›Eislermaterial‹ – a staged concert featuring some of Eisler’s most famous songs which Goebbels edited and arranged for performance by the Ensemble Modern and juxtaposed with original Eisler audio files in a collage. The songs are performed by the actor Josef Bierbichler, whose voice is unmistakably unaffected and simultaneously touching. The Ensemble Modern soloists are involved in different ways: »a staged concert, a portrait in sound which is completely enthralling in its strong atmospheric effect« (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, May 25, 1998).