Friday, September 17, 2010


On Thursday I re-visited the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery, a quiet little garden next to the Brecht Forum which houses the graves of dozens of German artists and intellects. Strolling through the cemetery is a bit like celeb spotting for Teutonophiles. Hey, there's Heinrich Mann! OMG it's Herbert Marcuse. *is that Hegel, right next to Fichte?*

And of course there are a few composers-in-residence.

We have the highly-underrated Paul Dessau, Brecht-collaborator, fervent socialist, and author of seven strident, Bartók-ian string quartets.

And who could forget the second most popular Brecht composer, Hanns Eisler?

Everyone should check out Eisler's Deutsche Sinfonie, a brooding, political masterwork (it's labeled an "Anti-Fascist Cantata"). There's a solid recording floating around with the Gewandhausorchester and Lothar Zagrosek (who conducted last night's Rituel in memorium Bruno Maderna). I'm waiting diligently for a performance.

I attempted to find the grave of minor composer Rudolf Wagner-Régeny but was not successful. Wagner-Régeny, the other Wagner, was embroiled in the tragedy of musical life in Nazi Germany. He is a frequent subject in Michael Kater's two excellent studies of the period, The Twisted Muse and Composers of the Nazi Era. I can't say I've heard any of his music, though.

Brecht's presence hovers over the entire cemetery, as he would like it.

There's also Heinrich Mann, who sits somewhere between Klaus and Golo in the list of Best Manns.

Finally, Hegel and Fichte, BFFL*
*and I guess, BFFD too.

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