A+ A A-

The Hanns Eisler Gesamtausgabe (‘Hanns Eisler Complete Edition’, HEGA) is conceived as a historical-critical edition. Its goal is to make all of Hanns Eisler’s extant compositions and writings generally accessible and to make them ‘useful’ to musical practitioners, in line with the composer’s own intentions, by presenting them in sound, scholarly editions. It thereby also endeavours to counter the selective awareness of the composer. Its historical-critical approach is undoubtedly particularly appropriate to Eisler’s own working methods. Many of his works exist in different versions, and it was furthermore typical of him to make multiple use of his music in quite differing aesthetic, historical and social contexts. This was not least a reflection, too, of the composer’s political stance.

Plans for a complete edition of Eisler’s works reach back into the 1960s, when the creation of a Hanns Eisler Archive at the Academy of Arts of the German Democratic Republic laid the foundation for a collection of all the available sources pertaining to the composer’s life and work. Nathan Notowicz began editing Eisler’s Gesammelte Werke (‘Collected Works’) at the time, and his work was continued by Manfred Grabs and Eberhardt Klemm. Their project was succeeded by the Hanns Eisler Gesamtausgabe, set up as a collaboration between the International Hanns Eisler Society (itself founded in 1994), Stephanie Eisler (the composer’s widow) and the Archive of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. The editorial board comprised Albrecht Dümling (until 2000), Gert Mattenklott (†) and Christian Martin Schmidt. The first volume appeared in 2002, namely the incidental music for Die Rundköpfe und die Spitzköpfe (‘Roundheads and Peakheads’). Four further volumes of music and the first volume of writings followed.

The composition of the editorial board changed in 2010. The editorial guidelines were reviewed at the same time, the principal aim being to achieve a greater degree of user-friendliness for the edited text and its accompanying critical report. These revised guidelines were relevant primarily to the music editions....more