BRECHT / EISLER / DESSAU: SONGS FROM EXILE

Solo performance based on songs by Austrian Hanns Eisler (1898 – 1962) and German Paul Dessau (1894 – 1979) composed to the texts of Bertolt Brecht (1898 – 1956). The songs were created between 1933 and 1948 while the writer and composers were in exile across Europe (including Brecht in Finland) and the United States. They comment sharply and touchingly on the rise of the Nazis, fascism, war, and exile – and are terrifyingly relevant again today.

This is a work in progress kind of project that is very important in me in many ways. Besides enabling me to dig deep into the incredibly strong and powerful songs by Brecht, Eisler and Dessau, the project is associated with a strong personal agenda: Through it I aim to explore the intergenerational feelings of guilt, shame, and sorrow related to Germanness, as well as Finland’s embellished role as an ally of Nazi Germany. 

The language of the performance is a mixture of German and Finnish. A minimalist orchestra is represented by a portable harmonium built in 1930s Germany. In its simplicity and stark beauty, the instrument fits well with the atmosphere of Brecht’s songs. Additionally, the instrument easily transforms into a travel chest, serving as a metaphor for escape.

Annika Fuhrmann, voice & harmonium
recorded in Suomenlinna Linna Bar, 2023