Brecht, Song and the Music-Theater
Mo. 13:00-14:45 l Start: 20 April 2020 l End: 29 June l Salon/Liederabend: TBA
BP 13 (Seminarraum Schulmusik)
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was one of the most influential dramatists and poets of the twentieth century as well as a prolific musician. According to Kim Kowalke, his relationship to music “was as essential as it was complex.” Brecht used music in nearly all of his dramatic works and referenced music in a large portion of his poems. His close collaborations with composers such as Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau shaped a unique style. The composers’ musical works are even consistently misattributed to Brecht himself, a feat no other poet can claim. In contrast to Wagner’s idea of a Gesamtkunstwerk, where the arts are melded into one element, Brecht attempted to separate artistic elements and use them to enhance (or sometimes to undermine) each other. His theories and concepts about music are nearly ubiquitous in contemporary theatrical practice, but are hard to find in the “classical” music world. By examining the historical context, Brecht’s texts, his collaboration with composers, as well as well-known performances of his works, students will discuss ways to analyze and apply performance techniques to their own practice.
Brecht, Bertolt, and John Willett. 1992. Brecht on theatre the development of an aesthetic. New York: Hill and Wang. Bunge, Hans, Sabine Berendse, and Paul Clements. 2014. Brecht, music and culture: Hanns Eisler in conversation with Hans Bunge. Calico, Joy Haslam. 2008. Brecht at the opera. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Hinton, Stephen. 2012. Weill's musical theater: stages of reform. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Kowalke, Kim H. 1994. "Brecht and music: theory and practice". Cambridge Companion to Brecht. Ed. by Peter Thomson and Glendyr Sacks.
Requirements include a group presentation, participation in 85% of discussions, weekly reading and/or listening, as well as participation in a final salon performance (songs, readings, scenes, etc. are welcome). Class readings will be mostly in English (B1 minimum), however participants should be able to analyze German language poetry with the help of translations if necessary (A2 in German is recommended).
B-Gs-W-1, B-Gs-W-2, Gym3.3, Mth-MW-2, Mw-1-KM-A, Mw-1-MM, Promo_Modul, PS3.3, S3.3, W-frei, W-LA