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Hanns Eisler

1898 - 1962

The filmcomposer and music theorist Hanns Eisler was born in Leipzig. His father was the philosopher Rudolf Eisler.
He learnt his ability for music in self-study and from 1908 he wrote his first compositions.

When he finished school he had to serve in the Army during World War I and he was active for a Hungarian infantry regiment.

After the war Hanns Eisler studied composition at the "Neues Wiener Konservatorium" and he learnt to play piano.
Finally he became a student of the well-known composer Arnold Schönberg where he got music lessons between 1919 and 1924.

Hanns Eisler took over the conduct of two worker chors where he also performed revolutionist songs.
In 1920 he met the singer Charlotte Demant and they got married in the same year.
When he was in Berlin he met the writer Bertold Brecht and they worked together for many years from 1930.

In the 20s Hanns Eisler composed among others several choirs, the 10 songs covered cycle "Die Zeitungsausschnitte op. 11" and the so-called Kampfmusik.
In 1930 he met the singer Ernst Busch and he wrote numerous songs for him.
Hanns Eisler's music was already used in a movie in 1927 for the first time for "Opus III" (27), in the 30s followed other filmcompositions like "Niemandsland" (31), "Kuhle Wampe oder: Wem gehört die Welt?" (32), "Dans les rues" (33), "Nieuwe gronden" (33), "Le grand jeu" (34) and "Abdul the Damned" (35).
Beside it he also composed works outside the film business like "Die Mutter" (32), the "Vier Wiegenlieder" (32) and "Der Marsch ins Dritte Reich".
Because Hanns Eisler has Jewish ancestry his career ended in Germany with the rise of the National Socialists.
He first went to Vienna, afterwards to Czechoslovakia. It followed residences in Paris, Denmark, London and the USA where he performed numerous concerts.
Hanns Eisler stayed in the USA till 1948 and he also wrote more film compositions for "The Forgotten Village "(41), "Hangmen Also Die!" (43), "None But the Lonely Heart" (44), "Jealousy" (45), "Deadline at Dawn" (46), "A Scandal in Paris" (47) and "So Well Remembered" (47).
In the USA he also composed well-known music like "Hollywooder Liederbuch".
When Hanns Eisler any many of his fellows were eyed by the communist hunters he left the USA in 1948 and returned to Vienna. In 1949 he settled in East Berlin. There he wrote among other the GDR hymn.
He also continued his career as a filmcomposer, his last cinematical works were "Unser täglich Brot" (49), "Der Rat der Götter" (50), "Bel Ami" (55), "Geschwader Fledermaus" (58), "Les arrivistes" (60), "Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti" (60) and "Leben des Gallilei" (62).
The sister of Hanns Eisler was the KPD politician Ruth Fischer, his brother Gerhart Eisler worked for the radio in the GDR.

Other movies from Hanns Eisler:
Opus III (27) Niemandsland (31) Kuhle Wampe oder: Wem gehört die Welt? (32) Dans les rues (33) Nieuwe gronden (33) Le grand jeu (34) Abdul the Damned (35) The 400 Million (39) Pete-Roleum and His Cousins (39) The Forgotten Village (41) A Child Went Forth (42) Hangmen Also Die! (43) None But the Lonely Heart (44) Jealousy (45) The Spansih Main (45) Deadline at Dawn (46) A Scandal in Paris (46) The Woman on the Beach (47) So Well Remembered (47) Leben des Galilei (47) Unser täglich Brot (49) Der Rat der Götter (50) Wilhelm Pieck – Das Leben unseres Präsidenten (51) Krizova trojka (52) Frauenschicksale (52) Schicksal am Lenkrad (54) Bel Ami (55) Nuit et brouillard (56) Les sorcières de Salem (57) Katzgraben (57) Geschwader Fledermaus (58) Les arrivistes (60) Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti (60) Schweyk im zweiten Weltkreig (61) Akton J (61) Leben des Gallilei (62)