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Eric Bentley’s Brecht-Eisler Song Book features
the songs of Austrian composer Hanns Eisler in English versions by Eric
Bentley. A world-renowned playwright, poet, translator, drama critic, editor,
and cabaret singer, Bentley is the first translator into English of Bertolt
Brecht's plays and poems, introducing Brecht's work to American stages in the
1940s and 50s. Now 97 years old, Eric Bentley has been working with performer
Karyn Levitt on this program since 2011, coaching both Levitt and pianist Eric
Ostling on all selections in the program.
Hanns Eisler created a vast and varied repertory of works,
and this concert presents a stunning sample of his genius and versatility. Eric
Bentley adapted the song texts (which are poems by Brecht and other master
poets from Goethe to Karl Kraus) from their original German into English,
unlocking Eisler’s starkly beautiful songs for American audiences.
Eric Bentley was born in England in 1916, became an American citizen in 1948, in 1998 was inducted into the (American) Theatre Hall of Fame, and in 2011 won a gold medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Scholar, critic, teacher, performer, translator and, finally, playwright , he has had many books published and many plays and adaptations performed, the latter feature making him a ... view full profile
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), playwright, poet and director, was born in Augsburg, Germany in February 1898. He established himself as a playwright during the 1920s and early 1930s with plays such as Baal, Man is Man, The Threepenny Opera, and The Mother. In 1933, as Hitler came to power in Germany, Mr. Brecht fled to Scandinavia before eventually settling in the USA where he remained until 1947. ... view full profile
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