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:
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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 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 (here pp. 6-7 in a later, complete edition, London 1859):
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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 

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 1726-1/30)
  • Aurora. Sammlung auserlesener Gesänge mit Begleitung des Pianoforte. No. 1, Irländisches Volkslied: Letzte Rose, Aibl, München, 1851 (available at BStB, 2 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
  • 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)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Old German Songbooks, No. 17: Some More Songbooks For Schools (1879-1882)

  • W. Jütting & F. Billig, Liederbuch für die Mittel- und Oberklassen städtischer Volksschulen (auch
    gehobener Landschulen) und die unteren Klassen höherer Lehranstalten, Carl Meyer (Gustav Prior), Hannover, 1879 (at the Internet Archive)
  • A. Wille, Liederbuch für deutsche Schulen. Sammlung von 200 ein-, zwei- und dreistimmigen Liedern. Drei Hefte, 3. Auflage, Verlag der Buchhandlung des Pestalozzi-Vereins, Eberswalde 1882 (at the Internet Archive)
  • Liederbuch für preußische Volksschulen. Zusammengestellt von einem praktischen Schulmanne, 5. Auflage, G. Wilh. Leipner, Leipzig, 188 (at the Internet Archive)
  • C. H. Voigt, Volksweisen. Für die reifere Jugend, M. Bahn (früher C. Trautwein), Berlin, 1879/80
    1. Heft, 9. Auflage, 1880 & 2. Heft, 3. Auflage, 1879 (at the Internet Archive)
  • C. Landwehr, Jugendklänge. Sammlung von Liedern und Chorälen für höhere Töchterschulen. Nach unterrichtlichen Grundsätzen in vier Stufen geordnet. IV. Stufe, 2. verb. u. verm. Aufl., Siegismund & Volkening, Leipzig, 1877 [pp. 97-176] (at the Internet Archive)
  • Wilhelm Tschirch, Vierundfünfzig zwei- und dreistimmige Lieder und Gesänge für obere Knabenklassen von Volks- und bürgerschulen und für mittlere Klassen von Gymnasien und Realschulen, 4. Aufl., Siegismund & Volkening, Leipzig, 1878 (at the Internet Archive)
  • W. Volckmar & G. Zanger, Deutsche Lieder für Schule, Haus und Leben, 3 Hefte, Ed. Peter, Leipzig, 188 (at the Internet Archive)
Recently I ordered from an antiquarian bookshop a songbook for schools published in 1879. When I received it I was surprised to see that it was bound together with five more similar song collections from the same time period. I have scanned them all and added here one more songbook "für Schule, Haus und Leben" (also 1880) acquired separately. They are now all available at the Internet Archive as part of my series Deutsche Schulliederbücher 1850-1916.

These are the typical song collections compiled and produced for the use in schools, often sloppily printed and then sold cheaply so the pupils and the schools could afford them. This was a heavily contested but also also very promising market. If a book prevailed and was then even reprinted regularly the successful editor could expect a most welcome additional income. 

What we find in these books is the standard repertoire of this era that was recycled again and again by numerous editors and publishers. Notable is once again the extreme obsession with patriotic songs. I still can't get over Hoffmann v. Fallersleben's truly awful song about Kaiser Wilhelm:
Wer ist der greise Siegesheld, der uns zu Schutz und Wehr
für's Vaterland zog in das Feld mit Deutschland's ganzem Heer?
Du, edles Deutschland, freue dich,
Dein König hoch und ritterlich,
Dein Wilhelm, dein Wilhelm, dein Kaiser Wilhelm ist's. 
And I always thought it was Field Marshal von Moltke who had won the war. But nonetheless (nearly) everybody loved the old Kaiser, the former Kartätschenprinz (i. e. "Prince of Grapeshot", as he used to be called back in 1848, during the revolution). Of course the editors couldn't avoid including all the other classics of this particular genre like "Hurrah Germania", "Die Wacht am Rhein (Es braust ein Ruf wie Donnerhall)", "Heil Dir Im Siegerkranz" or "Deutsches Weihelied":
Alles schweige!
Jeder neige ernsten Tönen nun sein Ohr!
Deutschlands Söhne, laut ertöne euer Vaterlandsgesang!
Dem Beglücker seiner Staaten,
Dem Vollender großer Thaten
Töne unser Rundgesang!
Once again I can't help but feel deeply sorry for the poor children who were treated to this excessive amount of patriotic propaganda. But we should not forget that these kind of songbooks for the use in schools were not compiled with the intention that the pupils have fun singing. They were first and foremost regarded as a helpful tool for teaching them to be loyal, patriotic subjects (not citizens!). 

Besides that these books also include religious pieces of all kinds, "Volkslieder" and "volkstümliche Lieder" about Heimat, nature, Abschied, wandern, the yearly seasons and even occasionally a real good song like for example a German version of Thomas Moore's "The Last Rose of Summer" or Silcher's famous "Loreley", both immensely popular at that time. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Links - The London Stage 1660-1800, Now Available Online

The best news recently was that The London Stage is now available online. This is a tremendous and immensely helpful resource compiled from contemporary sources like newspaper advertisements, playbills and more. What was performed in theatres and other places of entertainment in London during that era? 
  • The London Stage 1660 - 1800. A Calendar Of Plays, Entertainments & Afterpieces Together With Casts, Box-Receipts And Contemporary Comment, 5 Pts. in 11 Vols, ed. by William van Lennep et al., Carbondale 1960-68
I occasionally go to the university library in Köln where they have a complete set. The books looked as if they hadn't been used for the last 10 years. But I needed them regularly because this work is also important for research into British music history during that period. To be true these were the kind of books I really enjoy. I could spend hours with them. In fact I did because it answered many questions I had, for example: when did Kitty Clive first perform "Ellen a Roon" in London? On March 8, 1742, after the third act of the comedy The Man Of Mode at the theatre in Drury Lane (London Stage 3.2, p. 974). Or: When was Burk Thumoth's first documented performance? On May 13, 1730, at the age of 13, at Goodman's Field (London Stage 3.1, p. 60). 

Thankfully these books are now available online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library as searchable and downloadable pdfs with a CC BY-NC license: 
Of course it is now also possible to link directly to the relevant pages. Here are for example the links to Kitty Clive in Vol. 3.2, p. 974 and Burk Thumoth in Vol. 3.1, p. 60. It is even allowed to embed these books. I hope it works here:

Many thanks to theatre historian Mattie Burkert for her efforts to make this possible: