These days the German label 'Berlin Classics' has released a cd with music, composed in the years 1929-1934, by Hanns Eisler. The cd consists of historic recordings from the early 1930s (with a.o. the singer Ernst Busch) and the late 1960s (with singer Gisela May). Also on this disc are a few live performances of the Ebony Band (from the early 1990s), playing theatermusic by Eisler. An interesting aspect of this cd is the double performance of the 'Unterhaltungsmusik II - Potpourri über russische Volkslieder' ('Light music II - Medley of Russian Folksongs'), one from 1931 conducted by the...
The Ebony Band is a music group, which core is made up of musicians from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The ensemble's main goal is to promote modern, adventurous music primarily from the first half of the 20th century. Special attention is focused on the forbidden and (often unjustly) forgotten music from the interwar period, deemed to be worthy of revival.
The ensemble seeks to achieve these goals by :
1. The installation of a digital documentation centre (database), to provide musicians, producers, historians and other persons interested, with any factual information on compositions from the interwar period, with every accompanying background information, life stories, research reports and contributions of specialists and (surviving) relatives.
2. The edition of a small amount of valuable compositions, that hasn't been published ever before.
3. Releasing CD's with mostly first recordings.
4. The digitalizing of concert recordings.
The repertoire list comprises information of more than 650 compositions for small and medium size ensembles by more than 125 composers, you will find by clicking on the above letter of the alphabet. It is the result of 25 years' research for the Ebony Band's concert programs. The list does not pretend to be complete, but all the works on it comply with one or more of the Ebony Band's objectives: most of them are unknown, forgotten or assumed lost, and date from the first half of the twentieth century. A considerable number of the composers you'll find on the website have been performed and recorded by the Eony Band.
Most of the pieces are adventurous and have a modern flavour. They were written by composers who lent colour to their day, and whose music is well worth performing (again) today.
Many of these composers were not given the chance to develop and build a career, for their lives and ideals were suppressed or even ruined by totalitarian regimes in Germany, the Soviet Union, Spain and Latin America. In view of the fact that Berlin was the cultural centre of the western world in the 1920s and early 1930s, this repertoire list includes a large number of pieces that were branded by the Nazis as entartete (degenerate) music.