Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Ausländische Volkslieder" in 19th-Century Germany - Some Important Collections 1829-1853 (Part 2)

Go back to Part 1

By all accounts neither Wolff's Braga nor Zuccalmaglio's and Baumstark's Bardale left a lasting impression. But the year 1835 also saw the publication of the first of  four volumes of a collection that turned out to be the most successful and influential of these kind of compilations of foreign songs:
  • Friedrich Silcher, Ausländische Volksmelodien, mit deutschem, zum Theil aus dem Englischen etc. übertragenem Text, gesammelt und für eine oder zwei Singstimmen mit Begleitung des Pianoforte und der Guitarre gesetzt, 4 Hefte, Fues, Tübingen, 1835-1841 (available at the Internet Archive; also a later edition, c. 1870)

Friedrich Silcher (1789-1860; see Bopp 1916; Dahmen 1989; Schmid 1989), Musikdirektor at the University of Tübingen and a very popular and successful composer, arranger, music educator and choirmaster, happened to be one of the most influential promoters and editors of "Volkslieder" in Germany. Like many others he was fascinated by foreign tunes and of course he was a great admirer of Herder's Stimmen der Völker in Liedern (see Bopp 1916, p. 100-105, Schmoll-Barthel in Schmid, pp. 114-9). 

Therefore he set out to compile his own collection with altogether 41 songs from all kind of countries. In these 4 booklets we can find tunes described for example as Scottish, Irish, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Indian, Persian, French and Russian. A considerable number of the texts - sometimes translations, but also new poems - were from the pen of Swabian poet Hermann Kurz (1813-1873; see Wikipedia, see Dahmen 1987, pp. 71-3), a friend, relative and former pupil of Silcher with whom he worked closely together at that time.

Silcher's most important source were clearly Thomas Moore's popular collections, both the Selection of Irish Melodies (10 Vols., 1808-1834) and the Selection of Popular National Airs (6 Vols., 1818-1828), the latter the most important British compilation of international songs. Moore of course had written new poetry for all these tunes. For 15 of the 41 songs in his collection Silcher noted "nach Moore". In these cases he used the tunes as well as translations of Moore's lyrics. We can find here three pieces from the Irish Melodies: "The Last Rose of Summer" ("Des Sommers letzte Rose"), "Minstrel Boy" ("Der junge Harfner zog bewehrt") and "I saw thy form in youthful prime" ("Im Mai des Lebens"). 

12 more were taken from the Popular National Airs, for example two of Moore's excursions into Scottish song: "Here comes the Bard" ("Stumm schläft der Sänger") and "Oft in the stilly night" ("Oft in der stillen Nacht") but also "When through the Piazetta" (Venetian; "Wenn um die Kanäle"), "Hark! The Vesper Hymn is stealing" (Russian; "Horch, die Wellen tragen bebend"), "How oft when watching the stars" (Savoyardian; "Oft wenn erbleicht der Sterne Pracht"), or "The Gazelle" (Indian; "Hörst Du nicht ein Silberglöckchen").

Besides these Silcher also borrowed at least 8 more melodies from Moore's publications, but without acknowledgment, and combined them with new poems, most of them written by Kurz: for example the tunes of "Avenging and bright" and "Oh we had some bright little isle" - both from the Irish Melodies - were used for "Seht wie düstere Wolken" and "Herr Peter"; "Das Mondlicht scheint zur Fülle" was supplied with the Portuguese tune of "Flow on, thou shining river" from the Popular National Airs. 

Even two songs by Robert Burns had to be supplied with Moore's tunes. Apparently Silcher had, unlike Wolff and Zuccalmaglio, no access to the original Scottish collections which strikes me as very odd. I always wondered about the tune he used for "Mein Herz ist im Hochland", Ferdinand Freiligrath's translation of "My Heart's in the Highlands" and now I see that it is the as yet unidentified "Scotch Air" of "O Guard Our Affection" in volume 5 of the Popular National Airs. And for Wilhelm Gerhard's translation of "My love is like a red, red rose" ("Dem rothen Röslein gleicht mein Lieb") he decided for "My lodging is on the cold ground" from Moore's "Believe me, if all those endearing young charms" (Irish Melodies II) which the latter had taken from the second volume of Thomson's Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs (No. 76, with "Farewell, thou fair day" by Burns; see Chinnéide 1959, p. 120). But I have to admit this works quite well. We see here that Silcher, like many others in Germany, only knew Burns from the translations that began to appear in the second half of the 1830s. 

All in all at least 25 of the 41 songs in Silcher's Ausländischen Volksmelodien were derived from Moore's publications and most of them had not yet been available in Germany at that time, as one reviewer in the Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände noted (Vol. 30, 1836, p. 180, at Google Books). The rest of this collection is made up of assorted songs from for example Scandinavia, Russia or France that were taken from other sources. Not at least he was - as far as I know - the first to publish German versions of two popular British hits: "Home, Sweet Home" by John Howard Payne and Henry Bishop - with the tune wrongly described as "Irish" - and "Blue Bells of Scotland".

These two as well as a considerable amount of the others, like "Stumm schläft der Sänger", "Das Mondlicht scheint in Fülle" and "Horch, die Wellen tragen bebend", became part of the common song repertoire and were regularly recycled later in other songbooks. In fact Silcher was a musical professional who knew very well what the people liked to play and sing. His collection was clearly far more appealing to the practising amateur musicians and singers than those by Wolff and Zuccalmaglio and became much more popular. 

But of course we should not forget that collections like this one were far from being authentic in an ethnological sense. All the tunes were taken from earlier printed sources and many of them then combined with new, modern words. This of course led to misunderstandings and confusion. 

In 1851 the well known critic, editor and writer Wolfgang Menzel (1798-1873) published a comparative anthology with the title Die Gesänge der Völker. Lyrische Mustersammlung in nationalen Parallelen. He of course also used some texts from Silcher's collection. For example we can find here "Das Mondlicht scheint zur Fülle" (p. 350, at Google Books). Menzel called it "Portugiesisches Liebeslied" but simply missed the fact that this text had never even come near Portugal because it was written by Hermann Kurz for the "Portuguese" tune Silcher had borrowed from Moore's Popular National Airs. For some reason Kurz was not named as the author and therefore it looked like a translation of an original song (in Heft 1, No. 6).

Nonetheless more collections of this type kept on coming even though none of them was as successful as Silcher's Ausländische Volksmelodien. He tried it a second time with Stimmen der Völkern in Liedern und Weisen, two small booklets published in 1846 and 1855. The title of course was a tribute to Herder's great collection. But apparently this work didn't leave such a big impression. Other editors also were busy with these kind of anthologies. Of particular interest is an attempt at a more scholarly collection of which only the very first part appeared. Here we can find only chapters about French and British songs and the start of one about Belgish and Dutch "Volkslieder" : 
  • Joh. Friedr. Kayser, Orpheus. Neue Sammlung National-Lieder aller Völker. Mit historischen und kritischen Anmerkungen. 1. Abtheilung, 1. Heft: Ausländische Musik, In Commission bei Wilh. Jowien, Hamburg, n. d. [1854] (date from Hofmeister, April 1854, p. 536; available at the Internet Archive and Google Books)
This is an exceedingly rare book. To my knowledge there is not a single copy in German libraries. It only came to light again because the lone extant copy at the Dutch National Library was digitized and then made available in Google Books. I can't say anything about the author but he seems to have been something like an expert on this topic as well as an knowledgeable translator. Of course Kayser was still deeply embedded in romantic thinking. In the introduction he claimed - as it was common during that time - that one can learn about "den Charakter eines Volkes" from their songs (p. 1). He was also not completely sure about the terminology. "National-Gesänge" is of course a translation of the English term national air. This is then mixed up with national hymns and he sets out to discuss the French and English patriotic hymns like the "Marseillaise", "Rule, Britannia" and "God Save The King". 

But the chapter about Britain also includes some Irish songs, all of course by Moore: for example "The Last Rose of Summer", "The Origin of the Harp" and the very first German publication of "Erin! The tear and the smile in thine eyes". Thankfully Kayser offered for every song the original tune and text and added his own translation. His concept was not that bad but this ambitious collection was closed down after the first booklet. 

These four publications presented here - Zuccalmaglio's and Baumstark's Bardale, Wolff's Braga, Silcher's Volksmelodien and Kayser's Orpheus - demonstrate different approaches to this topic as well as different grades of success. In fact only Silcher's collection left a notable mark in the popular repertoire. But they all reflect the immense fascination with songs and tunes from other countries. Nonetheless one should not forget that during that time the original tunes were still hard to get by. Much more common were anthologies of translations like Wolff's Halle der Völker and Menzel's Gesänge der Völker. A greater number of melodies - for example from Ireland and Scotland - were made available only since the 60s and 70s. I will discuss some of these important collections later.

Go to Part 1

  • August Bopp, Friedrich Silcher, Stuttgart 1916
  • Veronica ní Chinnéide, The Sources of Moore's Melodies, in: The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 89, No. 2 (1959), pp. 109-134
  • Hermann Josef Dahmen, Friedrich Silchers Vertonungen schwäbischer Dichter, in: Suevica. Beiträge zur Schwäbischen Literatur- und Geistesgeschichte 4, 1987, pp. 67-90
  • Hermann Josef Dahmen, Friedrich Silcher, Komponist und Demokrat. Eine Biographie, Stuttgart & Wien 1989
  • Manfred Hermann Schmid (ed.), Friedrich Silcher 1789-1860. Die Verbürgerlichung der Musik im 19. Jahrhundert. Katalog der Ausstellung zum 200. Geburtstag des ersten Tübinger Universitätsmusikdirektors, Tübingen 1989 (Kleine Tübinger Schriften, Heft 12)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"Ausländische Volkslieder" in 19th-Century Germany - Some Important Collections 1829-1853 (Part 1)

During the 19th century German music fans were fascinated with songs from other countries, what was called "ausländische Volkslieder". Johann Gottfried Herder's famous and influential Stimmen der Völker in Liedern served as a kind of model and many other editors and publishers followed his lead. Herder had only published the words but later the music was of course also included. A look into Hofmeisters Monatsberichte shows numerous examples: sheet music with songs from Austria, Italy, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Ireland and many more. 

Of particular importance were a couple of book-length collections that promised to give an exemplary overview of this genre. Thankfully all these publications have been digitized and are now easily available for research and study. What kind of songs were included, what were the editors' sources, what did they actually know about other country's and culture's music? I am especially interested in songs from Ireland and Scotland. I can start here with one of the earliest publications:
  • Eduard Baumstark & Wilhelm von Waldbrühl, Bardale. Sammlung auserlesener Volkslieder der verschiedenen Völker der Erde mit deutschem Texte und Begleitung des Pianoforte und der Guitarre, I. Band, Friedrich Busse, Braunschweig, 1829 (available at BStB-DS: Mus.pr. 2623-1, Google Books & the Internet Archive)

Wilhelm von Waldbrühl (i. e. Wilhelm von Zuccalmaglio, 1803-1869) was a very interesting character and one of the more controversial collectors and editors of so-called "Volkslieder" during that era. In fact he was so carried away by his passion for this genre that he wrote songs himself - or at least edited heavily what he had collected - and passed these pieces off as creations of the "folk" (see Friedlaender 1919). This was of course not uncommon at that time. The sound and the style of the songs was much more important than their provenance. If the "folk" didn't deliver every skilled writer and composer could learn to produce "Volkslieder" that sounded right. Johannes Brahms for example, who didn't care much about "authenticity" and couldn't stand nitpicking scholars like Ludwig Erk,  liked and admired Zuccalmaglio's work (see Noa 2013, pp. 333-6).

This collection of foreign songs was one of Wilhelm von Zuccalmaglio's earliest publications (see Yeo 1993, pp. 79-90). Here he worked together with Eduard Baumstark (1807-1889), a young economist and jurist who later made himself a name as a politician and university professor. The book offered songs that were described for example as Persian, Hebrew, Italian, Scottish, Irish, Welsh or Russian, all in German translation, but without the original text. Arrangements for piano and the guitar were included. Thankfully the editors have also listed their sources. Most of these pieces were taken from earlier printed collections, those from Ireland, Scotland and Wales for example mostly from George Thomson's publications. For some songs they note that they had collected them from oral tradition ("aus dem Volksmunde") but I wouldn't put too much trust in these claims.

This collection looked quite impressive but the reviewers weren't impressed (see AMZ 31, 1829, pp. 733-742, at BStB-DS; BAMZ 7, 1830, pp. 283-5, at Google Books). They didn't like the introduction, the song selection, the arrangements nor the translations. And by all accounts it wasn't such a big success. No further volumes were published. Some years later the same team tried it out a second time (see the advert in AMZ 37, 1835, Intelligenzblatt No. 2, p. 8). Here they also included the original texts. But only the first three booklets appeared and then this attempt also came to an end :
  • Eduard Baumstark, Auserlesene, Aechte Volksgesänge der verschiedensten Völker mit Urtexten und deutscher Übersetzung, gesammelt in Verbindung mit A. W. von Zuccalmaglio, ein- und mehrstimmig eingerichtet, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte und der Guitarre, 3 Hefte, L. Pabst, Darmstadt, 1835-6 (Booklets 1 & 2 online available at BStB-DS: 4 Mus.pr. 474-1 & 4 Mus.pr. 474-2).
The same year another collection was published:
  • O. L. B. Wolff, Braga. Sammlung Österreichischer, Schweizerischer, Französischer, Englischer, Spanischer, Portugiesischer, Brasilianischer, Italienischer, Holländischer, Schwedischer, Dänischer, Russischer, Polnischer, Litthauischer, Finnischer, u. s. w. Volkslieder mit ihren ursprünglichen Melodien mit Klavierbegleitung u. unterlegter deutscher Uebersetzung, 14 Hefte, N. Simrock, Berlin/Bonn, n. d. [1835] (see Hofmeister, September 1835, p. 93; available at Google Books; booklet No. 5 with English, Scottish and Irish songs is missing in Google's edition but it is now available at SLUB Dresden and the Internet Archive)
Otto Ludwig Bernhard Wolff (1799-1851, see Steffen 1996; also: Wikipedia, ADB 44, 1998, pp. 9-12 & wikisource) was immensely knowledgeable and industrious writer who made himself a name as a novelist, translator, editor and scholar. In 1829 he became professor of literature in Jena. His output was simply astounding. Beside his works of fiction he also produced a number of voluminous anthologies, for example of German "Volkslieder" and of German and English poetry as well as an encyclopedia of literature in 8 volumes and a Conversations-Lexicon für Gebildete aus allen Ständen in 5 volumes. 

Wolff had at that point already published interesting compilations of French songs (Altfranzoesische Volkslieder, 1831, at the Internet Archive) and old Dutch songs (Proben Altholländischer Volkslieder, 1832, at the Internet Archive), but both without music. His Braga was his first and only publication where he included the tunes. As the title says here he offered all in all 14 booklets with songs from all kind of countries with both the original text and - for the most part - his own translation. At that time this was surely the most comprehensive collection of foreign national airs in Germany. Booklet No. 5 is dedicated to songs from Britain. The greatest part are from Scotland and the last four from Ireland.

Unfortunately he forgot to name his sources. But they are not too difficult to find out. The Irish pieces were of course all from Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies while the Scottish songs were lifted wholesale - nearly all even including the piano arrangement - either from R. A. Smith's Scotish Minstrel (6 Vols., 1820-1824) or from James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum (6 Vol., 1787-1803). The use of the latter is a little bit surprising because it was barely known in Germany and only very few scholars were familiar with this collection. 

The selection is quite good. We find here many of the common standards, like "MacDonald's Gathering", "Awa, Whig's, Awa", "The Campbells are coming" and "Lord Gregory". But interestingly Wolff was among the first to publish some of Robert Burns' songs in Germany complete with original words and music: "John Anderson, My Jo", "Green Grow The Rashes O" and "Duncan Gray". That was also quite uncommon. Until the mid-30s Burns was not particularly well-known in Germany and and very few of his works were available. And when he later became really popular his songs were usually only published in German translation without the tunes. Unfortunately Wolff didn't even name Burns as the author and so this chance was forgiven. But the same happened to Thomas Moore whose songs were also treated as anonymous "Volkslieder". Nonetheless this was an impressive collection  that included a lot of music that until that point had not been available in Germany.

Two years later he published another collection of his translations of foreign songs, this time without the music:
  • O. L. B. Wolff, Halle der Völker. Sammlung vorzüglicher Volkslieder der bekanntesten Nationen, größtenteils zum ersten Male, metrisch in das Deutsche übertrsgen, 2 Bde., Johann David Sauerländer, Frankfurt am Main, 1837 (available at Google Books & BStB-DS: Vol. 1 : 6108804 L.eleg.g. 440 sd-1, Vol. 2: 6108804 L.eleg.g. 440 sd-2)
These two volumes include chapters about Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal, Scandinavia as well as one with a mixed bag of songs from a couple of other countries. Here he actually named his sources and added interesting notes for every song. For the British songs he used, besides Smith's Scotish Minstrel, also for example Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany, Percy's Reliques, Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Ritson's Scottish Songs and Motherwell's Minstrelsy: Ancient and Modern (see Vol. 1, p. 2, at Google Books). But the selection is a little bit strange. There is not a single Irish song, not even one of Moore's. Instead it is made up mostly of Scottish texts, but for some reason none of Burns'. But Wolff again proved to be one of the most knowledgeable scholars of foreign song at that time in Germany. This collection of translations set an example and was even published in a new edition 20 years later.
Go to Part 2

  • Max Friedlaender, Zuccalmaglio und das Volkslied in: Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters, Band 25, 1919, S. 53-80
  • Marion Steffen, Der Improvisator als Anthologist. Zu Leben und Werk Oscar Ludwig Bernhard Wolffs (1799-1851), in: Helga Eßmann & Udo Schöning (ed.), Weltliteratur in deutschen Veranthologien des 19. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1996 (= Göttinger Beiträge zur Internationalen Übersetzungsforschung 11),  pp. 450-470
  • Else Yeo, Eduard Baumstark und die Brüder von Zuccalmaglio. Drei Volksliedsammler, Köln, 1993

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"Long, Long Ago" & "Lang Ist's Her"

"Long, Long Ago", a song written by Thomas H. Bayly and first published in 1839, was immensely popular in Britain and North America during the 19th and early 20th century. In fact it is some kind of "evergreen" and even today the tune is still known:
  Your browser does not support embedded midi

But the song was equally popular in Germany. It began to appear on sheet music (see for example one edition by publisher Schlesinger, on the market since 1860, here a later reprint, Mus WB 8556, ZB Zürich), broadside sheets and songbooks in the 1860s and then remained a standard at least until the 1930s. Even the children sang "Lang ist's her", as it was usually called. We can find it in numerous songbooks for schools, for example in Gustav Damm's Liederbuch für Schulen, a popular and widely used collection published since the 1880s (here in the 11th ed., ca. 1880s, No. 93, pp. 76-7):

A couple of different sets of lyrics were in use, sometimes still as a love song like Bayly's original, sometimes a text about remembering childhood and mother, as Simon Breu's Deutsches Jugendliederbuch (here 2nd ed., 1909, No. 85, p. 74, both at the Internet Archive):

I have done a little bit of research about the song's history in Germany and now now started to post it on my website as a kind of "work in progress". The introduction and the first chapter are already available, the rest will follow in the next couple of weeks: 
What I found interesting is the strange fact that Mr. Bayly was very rarely credited as the song's author. "Lang ist's her" was usually labelled and sold as an "Irish Folk song", as in the three examples shown above. Of course this dubious claim is completely without any foundation. It was not that difficult to find out the songwriter's name, as did Folk song scholar Ludwig Erk (see f. ex. his Volkslieder-Album, 1872, No. 42, p. 42, later reprint, at the Internet Archive). But Bayly was barely known in Germany and it may have been much more promising to sell the song as "Irisches Volkslied". This was at that time a highly popular genre. Thomas Moore's "'Tis The last Rose of Summer" had been a great hit and "Robin Adair" as well as "Home, Sweet Home" were also often labelled as Irish Folk tunes. 

What is even more interesting is that Bayly in fact may have found some inspiration for the song's tune somewhere else, not in Ireland but in Germany. Hans Gaartz in his book Die Opern Heinrich Marschners (1912, p. 42, found in Google Books) noted the similarity of one piece in the latter's Der Templer und die Jüdin (1829) to "the Irish folk tune 'Lang, lang ist's her'". This is song No. 3, "Lied mit Chor" in the piano score of original edition of this opera (p. 29, available at Urmel, ThULb Jena):
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Of course this is in no way identical to Bayly's tune but the relationship is clear to see. What they both have in common is especially the characteristic ascending melody line in the first couple of bars. I think there is good reason to assume that Bayly was familiar with this piece. Marschner's works were known in Britain, the piano score of Der Templer und die Jüdin was also published in London by Johannig and Whatmore. For me this looks like a deliberate attempt to take the characteristic motif, the ascending melody line in the first couple of bars, as a starting-point and then turn the tune into something more catchy, more "folk-like".

Gaartz was apparently not familiar with the real history of "Long, long ago" and insinuates somewhat that Marschner could have been inspired by this alleged "Irish folk tune". In fact it must have been the other way round because Bayly's song only appeared 10 years after the opera. But I find it also very strange that no other German "expert" has seen and noted these obvious similarities.

Not at least it is a little bit absurd that "Lang ist's her" was regularly sold as an "Irish song" while in fact it may have been inspired by and derived from a tune by a German composer. But this was not an uncommon phenomenon. The same happened to "Home, Sweet Home" by Henry Bishop and J. H. Payne which was also immensely popular in Germany. Often enough Bishop's tune happened to be identified as "Irische Volksweise" but it is highly likely that it was also inspired by a melody written by a German composer, in this case J. A. P. Schulz (see Underwood 1977).

  • Hans Gaartz, Die Opern Heinrich Marschners, Leipzig, 1912
  • Heinrich Marschner, Der Templer und die Jüdin. Grosse romantische Oper in drei Aufzügen von W. A. Wohlbrück, Vollständiger Klavierauszug vom Komponisten, 60. Werk, Hofmeister, Leipzig, n. d. [1829], online available at Urmel, ThULb Jena:
  • Byron Edward Underwood, The German Prototype of the Melody of "Home! Sweet Home!", in: Jahrbuch für Volksliedforschung 22, 1977, pp. 36-48

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Old German Songbooks, No. 18: Victorie Gervinus, Volksliederbuch (1896) And Some More Songbooks For Schools

  • Victorie Gervinus, Volksliederbuch. 80 Volkslieder (deutsche, dänische, englische, französische, hebräische, indische, irische, italienische, maurische, persische, portugiesische, schottische, schwedische, spanische, ungarische, wälisische) mit deutschem Text und Klavierbegleitung, Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig, Brüssel & New York, n. d. [1896] (available at the Internet Archive)

This is a very interesting songbook. Victorie Gervinus (1820-1893) was the wife of historian and politician Gottfried August Gervinus (1805-1871) but also a music scholar in her own right. She for example edited a collection of vocal pieces from Händel's operas and oratorios arranged for piano and vocals and also wrote an instruction book for singing (available at BStB-DS). 

The Volksliederbuch was only published posthumously. From the introductory remarks by one J. Keller we learn that this publication is based on a collection of songs put together by Victorie Gervinus for private use. She used to sing them at home. It is an appealing collection of so-called Volkslieder from many different countries in German translation, sometimes including the original words. By all accounts she had found them mostly in well known printed collections. Silcher's Ausländische Volksmelodien (1835-41, now available at the Internet Archive) seem to have been an particularly important source. 

Foreign "Folk songs" - or what was regarded as such - used to be very popular in Germany since Herder's time. There were many relevant songbooks available. I will only mention here - besides Silcher popular booklets - once again Wilhelm Meyer's Volks-Liederbuch 1873 (also at the Internet Archive, I have just uploaded a new scan), one of the most interesting in this respect. Of course the songs in these kind of books were not exactly ethnologically "authentic" in a modern sense. But they very well reflect the fascination especially among educated middle-class music lovers for the culture of foreign countries. 

I have also uploaded some more songbooks for schools which are part of my series Deutsche Schulliederbücher 1850-1916. I don't want to discuss them here all individually. These are typical examples for this genre and all editors of course claim that their collection is the best and most useful. It would be too much to say that they all have the same songs but often its coming close. After seeing so many of them they all look quite familiar to me. 

But I hope these are worthwhile additions. Of particular interest should be one more collection by Robert Linnarz (1851-1931), music teacher, arranger, composer and choirmaster from the town of Alfeld in Lower Saxony (see the interesting article at Alt-alfeld.de). And Brähmig's Liederstrauss was in fact one of the most popular songbooks for schools in the second half of the 19th century. It was first published during the 1850s. Brähmig died in 1872 but nonetheless this collection remained on the market until after the turn of the century.
  • Karl Bösche & Robert Linnarz, Auswahl von Liedern für deutsche Schulen. In 4 Heften, Norddeutsche Verlagsanstalt O. Goedel, Hannover
    1. Heft: 40 Lieder für die Unterstufe und 21 Spiellieder, 8. Auflage, 1904
    2. Heft: 59 Lieder und 10 Kanons für die Mittelstufe, 11. Auflage, 1903
    (at the Internet Archive)
    3. Heft: 90 Lieder und Kanons für die Oberstufe, 9. Auflage, 1902
    (at the Internet Archive)
    4. Heft: für gehobene und höhere Schulen, 2., vermehrte Auflage, 1900
    (at the Internet Archive)
  • Andreas Barner, Liedersammlung für Töchterschulen, Heft 3, 5. Auflage, J. Lang, Karlsruhe, n. d. [1909] (at the Internet Archive)
  • J. Lanzendörfer, Liederbuch für Töchterschulen und fürs Haus, 3. Auflage, C. Koch's Buchhandlung, Nürnberg, 1902 (at the Internet Archive)
  • Wilhelm Bünte, Liederbuch für Oberklassen höherer Töchterschulen, sowie für Pensionate und Lehrerinnen-Seminare, 5. Auflage, In Commission bei H. Lindemann, Hannover, n. d. [1903] (at the Internet Archive)
  • Bernhard Brähmig - Liederstrauß. Auswahl heiterer und ernster Gesänge für Töchterschulen. 4 Hefte, div. Auflagen, Merseburger, Leipzig, 1897-1904 (now at the Internet Archive)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Des Sommers letzte Rose" - Thomas Moore's "'Tis The Last Rose Of Summer" in Germany

At the moment I mostly interested in British songs that became popular in Germany during the 19th century. There were five of them that seem to have been particularly widespread. We can find them - as "Volkslieder" - in numerous songbooks of all kinds, with different sets of German words and also sometimes with different tunes. There was "Robin Adair" - I have already written at length about it (see my text on JustAnotherTune) -, Robert Burns' "My Heart's In The Highlands" - see a couple of texts in this blog -, "Long, Long Ago", "Home, Sweet Home" and - perhaps the most successful of them all - Thomas Moore's "'Tis The Last Rose Of Summer". 

A look into Hofmeisters Monatsberichte (via Hofmeister XIX) shows that German versions of the latter - usually called "Irisches Volkslied" - with titles like "Letzte Rose" or "Des Sommers letzte Rose" were published numerous times as sheet music since the late 1840s. A nice early example is an edition by Schott from c. 1849 (available at the Internet Archive): 

But it also appeared in many songbooks, for example in a choral arrangement in Ludwig Stark's Stimmen der Heimat (1868, here No. 19, pp. 34-5 in the 2nd edition, 1878), with piano accompaniment in Ludwig Erk's Volkslieder-Album (1872, No. 43, p. 43 ) as well as in song collections for schools like Volckmar's & Zanger's Deutsche [sic!] Lieder für Schule, Haus und Leben (1880, Heft 3, No. 88, pp. 87-8) or Liederbuch für preußische Volkschulen (5th ed., 1882, No. 60, p. 36, all at the Internet Archive):

In fact in 1899 it was noted that "today even the farmhand and the peasant girl knows" this song (Fleischer 1899, p. 6, at the Internet Archive). How and when did "The Last Rose of Summer" migrate to Germany? That was a longer, somehow complex process that took some time. In this case it needed three attempts before it became established as a standard. 

Moore's song was first published in 1813 in the 5th Number of his Selection of Irish Melodies (pp. 16-21, at BStB-DS):
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'Tis the last rose of summer, left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes or give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping, go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow, when friendships decay,
And from Love's shining circle the gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered, and fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit this bleak world alone?
In Britain it was surely the "most well-known" song of this collection (see Scott 2001, Ch. 1c, at The Victorian Web). But Thomas Moore became also very popular in Germany early on - unlike Burns who was only rediscovered since the mid-30s - and therefore tune and text of "The Last Rose of Summer" found its way here very quickly. 

Beethoven wrote variations (Six Themes Varies, op. 105, 1819, No. 4, at Beethoven-Haus, Bonn) but for some reason here it was called Air Ecossais, "Scottish tune". Translations were also published, for example one by an unknown author in Iris. Unterhaltungsblatt für Kunst, Literatur und Poesie (No. 69, 1.9.1822, p. 269, at Google Books). Another translation by Sophie Gräfin von Steinhardt was set to music by composer Emilie Zumsteeg in 1829 (in 6 Lieder mit Pianoforte, op. 5, see Hofmeister, September, October 1929, p. 83 and the text at LiederNet). But it took more than two decades before it was adapted as a "Volkslied", at first by by Friedrich Silcher in his Ausländische Volksmelodien in 1835 ("Des Sommers letzte Rose", in: Heft 1, No. 2, p. 3; online available at ZB Zürich, Mus 6030,2):

These kind of compilations of foreign "Volkslieder" from all kinds of countries with German words were immensely popular since Herder's time. Silcher, Musikdirektor at the university in Tübingen and one of the most successful promoters of the "Volkslied"-genre, was himself fascinated with songs from other countries and his collection with altogether 41 pieces in four booklets first published between 1835 and 1841 seems to have been particularly popular. It was reprinted and republished several times (see for example a later edition, ca. 1870, at the Internet Archive; see also Bopp 1915, p. 101-104, at bookprep.com). 

The text used here by Silcher had been written by his friend Hermann Kurtz, a Swabian poet and a relative of his wife who supplied him with more translations - not only of Moore's works - for this project. It was then also published the following year in Kurtz's own collection Gedichte (Stuttgart 1846, p. 199, at Google Books):
Des Sommers letzte Rose blüht hier noch allein:
Verwelkt sind der Gespielen holdlächelnde Reih’n.
Ach es blieb keine Schwester, keine Knospe zurück,
Mit erwiederndem Seufzer, mit erröthendem Blick.

Ich will nicht, Verlassne, so einsam dich seh’n:
Wo die Lieblichen schlummern, darfst auch du schlafen geh’n.
Und freundlich zerstreu’ ich deine Blätter über’s Beet,
Wo die Düfte, wo die Blätter deiner Lieben sind verweht.

So schnell möcht’ ich folgen, wenn Freundschaft sich trübt,
Und der Kranz süsser Liebe seine Perlen verstiebt.
Wenn Theure verschwinden, manch treues Herz zerfällt,
Wer möcht’ allein bewohnen diese nächtliche Welt?
In 1837 famous English soprano Clara Novello came to Germany and performed here with great success. A part of her repertoire were English, Scottish and Irish National Airs - what was called "Volkslieder" in Germany - and those were especially popular with her audiences (see f. ex. AMZ 40/3, 17.1.1838, p. 49, NZM 8/17, 27.2.1838, pp. 66-68, NZM 8/6,19.1.1838, p. 24). She also sang "'Tis The Last Rose of Summer" and it was published as sheet music together with other songs of this type she had performed:
  • No. 1: Die Letzte Rose, in: Irische Volkslieder, gesungen von Miss Clara Novello, und ihr verehrungsvoll gewidmet, Wunder, Leipzig, n. d. (see Hofmeister XIX, März 1838, p. 46)
It is not clear if she sang it in German or in English but in this publication another German translation - different from the one by Kurtz - was used:
Letzte Rose, die einsam im Sommer noch glüht,
Deine duftenden Schwestern sind alle verblüht.
Kein Knöspchen mehr strahlet den glühenden Blick,
Keine Blüthe hauchzt Seufzer um Seufzer zurück.
Publisher Schlesinger from Berlin followed suit and also offered his own editions of sheet music of her repertoire (see Hofmeister, Dezember 1838, p. 188, Februar, März 1839, p. 30). 

At this time two different versions of "The Last Rose of Summer" were available on the German market. But for some reason they didn't spawn more reprints. I haven't found any other sheet music editions of this "Volkslied" for the next 10 years. And much to my surprise it wasn't included in any songbooks from this era even though Silcher's work used to be plundered - much to his chagrin - by rival publishers and editors. In fact it took a decade until its real breakthrough and then only because it was part of a highly successful opera. 

In 1847 another German version of Moore's song was used by composer Friedrich von Flotow in Martha oder Der Markt zu Richmond (see the short overview in Wikipedia), here with a new translation by his librettist Friedrich Wilhelm Riese as well as some minor but characteristic melodic variations (2. Akt, No. 9, here p. 121 in a piano score, Cranz, Leipzig, n. d., at the Internet Archive):
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Letzte Rose, wie magst du so einsam hier blühn?
Deine freundlichen Schwestern sind längst, schon längst dahin.
Keine Blüte haucht Balsam mit labendem, labendem Duft,
Keine Blätter mehr flattern in stürmischer Luft.

Warum blühst du so traurig im Garten allein?
Sollst im Tod mit den Schwestern, mit den Schwestern vereinigt sein.
Drum pflück ich, o Rose vom Stamme, vom Stamme dich ab,
Sollst ruhen mir am Herzen und mit mir, ja mit mir im Grab.
The opera was set in 18th century England. Of course the song in this form didn't exist at that time. But a National Air or "Volkslied" in a opera was surely a good idea. 20 years ago "Robin Adair" had become immensely popular in Germany mostly because of its inclusion in Boieldieu's La Dame Blanche. And here this idea also paid off. Flotow's version of "The Last Rose of Summer" really became a great hit. The original publisher, Müller in Vienna, tried to squeeze out as much revenue as possible from this success. We find the song published again in sheet music editions like Sechs Lieblingsmelodien aus der Oper Martha. Für eine Singstimme mit Guitarrebegleitung (1848, No. 2, p. 4, at ÖNB, Wien, MS87148-4°). Other publishers of course also jumped on the bandwagon. I have already mentioned Schott's edition. Here are two by Aibl in München:
  • Erato. Auswahl beliebter Gesänge mit leichter Begleitung der Guitarre. No. 1: Letzte Rose. Irländisches Volkslied, Aibl, München, 1850 (available at BStB, 2 Mus.pr. 1726-1/30)
  • Aurora. Sammlung auserlesener Gesänge mit Begleitung des Pianoforte. No. 1, Irländisches Volkslied: Letzte Rose, Aibl, München, 1851 (available at BStB, 2 Mus.pr. 1717-1/25)
The song remained on the market until the end of the century and a great number of sheet music editions were made available. After Flotow's success "Die Letzte Rose" also appeared in songbooks, at first apparently in Thomas Täglichsbeck's Buch der Lieder (1851, Bd. 2, No. 92 , p. 108, at the Internet Archive). Interestingly this was not the version from Martha but a different translation. The very first songbook for the use in schools with this song may have been the Liedersammlung für die Schule by Weeber & Krauß in 1852 (Heft 3, No. 33, p. 29, here in the 3rd ed., 1854). They used still another translation:

In later years Flotow's version seems to have been the one published most often in books, although Silcher's was also used occasionally. The song became part of the repertoire of Männergesangvereine , was included in numerous collections of "Volkslieder" and not at least until the 1920s apparently nearly every child sang it in school. 

  • August Bopp, Friedrich Silcher, Stuttgart 1916 (available at bookprep.com)
  • Oskar Fleischer, Ein Kapitel vergleichender Musikwissenschaft, in: Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft 1, 1899-1900, pp. 1-53 (available at the Internet Archive)
  • Derek B. Scott, The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlor, 2nd Edition, Aldershot, 2001 (online available at The Victorian Web)