Evicted from America into East German gloom

Evicted from America into East German gloom


norman lebrecht

April 24, 2020

The Lebrecht Album of the Week is a recital of unknown chamber music by the forgotten Paul Dessau:

Like Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, and with equal reluctance, Paul Dessau left McCarthyist America in the late 1940s to settle in the austere and oppressive German Democratic Republic. All three men were tainted by having enjoyed life in the capitalist West. Dessau, the least famous, was attacked by party inquisitors and forced to write propaganda hymns in the requisite Socialist Realism style.

In the US, he had been reduced to working on a chicken farm before Brecht brought him to Hollywood, helping him get film score work while playing off his insecurity against Eisler’s in a sadistic game that continued after their return to East Germany…



Read on here.

And here.


  • John Borstlap says:


    Here is some interbellum music by Dessau:


    It sounds very German.

  • We privatize your value says:

    This great composer is not quite forgotten.


    And his most poignant work: https://youtu.be/C3sAYPJi3_o

  • fflambeau says:

    The USA and that wonderful “policeman”, J. Edgar Hoover, forced out many famous intellectuals including Charlie Chaplin, likely the most famous person in the world.

    Hoover, meanwhile., pranced about in ladies hosiery and high heels while having sex with his leading male FBI-man, Clyde Tolson.

  • peter says:

    There is more (fascinating) music by Dessau to be discovered:




  • Alank says:

    “Mcarthyist America”. Many of the so-called victims of MCarthyism were ideological foot soldiers for Stalin. The overreach and false accusations in some cases made by A malevolent Joseph Mcarthy does not absolve the moral rot of many of these fellow travelers. I am not aware of the details of this composer and make no judgment

  • Bertold Brech drove a Warburg with a Horch engine, lived in a 2 bed room apartment in low quality, and if you walk thru a hidden door in the bookshelves you entered a luxury apartment. He wore grey workers coats made of silk.
    I have seen this in person and know he was a two faced Prick, but still one of the great