Eisler''s role in German music is similar to that of Brecht in German literature and the two men worked together for nearly thirty years
Together with Webern and Berg, Eisler is considered one of the three great pupils of Schoenberg. Albrecht Betz divides Eisler''s life and music into four periods. The early formative period as student of Schoenberg includes compositions written in Vienna up to 1925. From 1926 to 1933, the second period, Eisler lived in Berlin and made his greatest impact with his political vocal music. The third phase of Eisler''s life, fifteen years of exile, was spent principally in the USA, and the fourth (from 1948) in East Germany. The author shows how Eisler is distinguished from other great twentieth-century composers in his belief that music had a social function, and how he liberated modern music from what he and others felt was its isolation. Originally published in German in 1976, this English edition is illustrated with music examples and includes a complete list of works, and a bibliography which has been adapted for the English-speaking reader.