Paul Dessau(1894-1979)

Started by Dundonnell, March 31, 2009, 12:03:02 PM

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I wonder if anyone has any familiarity with the music of Paul Dessau?  I certainly don't but have been intrigued by what I have read-

and am contemplating buying this new disc-

Dessau was-along with Hanns Eisler-the best known composer who made a career in East Germany after World War Two. After a distinguished early career as a composer and conductor working with Klemperer and Bruno Walter Dessau fled Germany in 1933 and settled first in Paris and then New York and Hollywood. He wrote a lot of music for films and was a close collaborator of Berthold Brecht, writing many songs and a number of operas based on Brecht plays. Dessau appears to have been a committed Marxist and the operas have Marxist subtexts. As a consequence of his political leanings and the 'closed' music scene of East Germany Dessau's music seems to have received little exposure but there is some evidence that it is worthy of revival. His early style is described as Expressionist but he studied 12-tone music in Paris and was influenced by the music of Schoenberg and Berg.


I've only heard some of his chamber music--a couple of string quartets, IIRC--and liked them very much.  Sort of like a hybrid of Kurt Weill and Berg, perhaps?

"I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts."

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY


yes, all i know about is the 2-cd cpo of 7 string qrts. haven't heard it, but i'd like to (but $$$).


Quote from: snyprrr on March 31, 2009, 05:20:59 PM
yes, all i know about is the 2-cd cpo of 7 string qrts. haven't heard it, but i'd like to (but $$$).

ONLY I... vould reech into das dustbin of neglect und pull ut Paul Dessau... leiben!!... just listened to das SQ samples... sehr schonstein...