In 1948 Hanns Eisler returned to Europe from exile in the United States, where he had found refuge from the National Socialist regime. On his return he found hardly any traces of the Germany he had left in 1937 and expressed his feelings of grief and loss in many choice songs – some of which Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher have selected for the enthralling and exemplary program on this second volume of their Eisler edition. These songs lend expression to Eisler’s profound love for Germany – a passion hardly to have been expected from a committed communist! He even calls for praise of Germany (“Deutsche Heimat, sei gepriesen”) in the Neue deutsche Volkslieder to texts by Johannes R. Becher. Eisler employs the folk element to counteract the poet’s tone, which at times exceeds the proper limits of pathos, and produces a tender emotional picture. Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher show how a few tones suffice to create spine-tingling thrills in “Die Pappel vom Karlsplatz,” a tribute to a tree that survived the horrible winter of 1945-46, when food and firewood were scarce. The “National Anthem of the German Democratic Republic” is of course a must, and the program also includes Brecht’s “Kinderhymne,” “Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe,” which for a time was under consideration as the anthem of the reunited Germany, ballad genres from the last years of the composer’s life, and some miniatures to texts by various authors. Eisler’s last song concludes this anthology; in “Bleib gesund mir, Krakau!” the poet Mordechai Gebirtig bids a heartrending farewell to his native Cracow on the evening prior to his deportation. The CD opens with “Mutterns Hände,” a very special declaration of love set to Tucholsky’s text and uniquely honoring an aged mother. The Berlin dialect is so wonderfully laconic that we can practically hear the mother’s adult children standing around her in endless gratitude while holding her hands – this is great art in a small format! And the singer, who with tender-loving support from the piano part is able endlessly to modulate his voice and the expressive values like a chameleon to meet the various requirements, also makes his contribution to this magnificent listening experience.