Saturday, May 16, 2015

Some Early Song Collections from Denmark & Norway - What is available online?

Recently I was researching some Danish and Norwegian tunes that I had found in German songbooks. Therefore I had to make myself familiar with the most important early collections of "folk-songs" from these two countries. Here is a little overview with links to the most useful digital resources. This is mostly about books including tunes, not collections of only texts. 

Interestingly the earliest examples of Scandinavian "folk tunes" can be found in a French publication:
  • Jean-Benjamin de Laborde, Essai Sur La Musique Ancienne Et Moderne, Tome Second. Livre Troisieme. Abrégé d'un Traité de Composition, Paris, 1780 (available at the Internet Archive)
This massive Essai was of course one of the most important musicological publications of the 18th century. One chapter in Book 4 is dedicated to the "Chansons du Danmark, de la Norvege & de l'Islande" (pp. 397-418). Of course Laborde hadn't made a field trip to Scandinavia. His informant was C. F. Jacobi, at that time secretary of the Kongelige Videnskabers Selskab in Copenhagen, who sent him an interesting collection of tunes and songs from these countries.

In case of Denmark I have to mention one very early important text collection: Anders Sørensen Vedel's Et hundrede udvalde Danske Viser, first published in 1591 and then updated and expanded by Peter Syv in 1695 (200 Viser og Konger, Kemper og Andre, a later reprint, 1739, is available at Google Books and the Internet Archive). Vedel's and Syv's work was a starting-point and source for all later editors.

In 1810 literature historian Knut Lyne Rahbek compiled a little book with the title Danske og Norske Historiske Mindesange (available at KBK). In the following years he then put together and published with two other scholars the first comprehensive modern collection of old Danish songs. 
  • Werner H. Abrahamson, Rasmus Nyerup & K. L. Rahbek, Udvalgte Danske Viser fra Middelalderen; efter A. S. Vedels og P. Syvs trykte Udgaver og efter handskrevne Samlingar undgivne paa ny, 5 Vols., Schultz, København, 1812-1814 (at BStB-DS: 10049001 P.o.rel. 4820-1(-5) )
Thankfully Vol. 5 included a selection of tunes (pp. XVII-LXXXVIII). This edition was also discussed outside of Denmark, for example in an interesting and detailed article about Alte Volksmelodien des Nordens in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung (Vol. 18, 1816, pp. 594-599, pp. 613-619, also Beylage No. 6, No. 7). Collections of Danish songs were also published both in Germany and in England:
  • Danish And Norwegian Melodies. Selected by A. Andersen Feldborg, of the University of Copenhagen, Harmonized and Arranged with Additional Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Piano-Forte, by C. Stokes. The Poetry Translated by William Sidney Walker of Trinity College, Cambridge, Chappell & Co., London, 1815 (at IMSLP)
  • Friedrich L. A. Kunzen, Auswahl der vorzüglichsten altdänischen Volksmelodien und Heldenlieder mit Begleitung des Pianoforte, Wenzler, Kopenhagen, n. d. [1818] (at IMSLP)
Nyerup and Rahbek were the key figures of the first "Folk revival". Later their work was of course eclipsed and overshadowed by Svend Grundtvig. The first volume of his great collection Danmarks gamle Folkeviser appeared in 1853. But he only published the texts but no tunes. More relevant for the musical side of this genre became A. P. Berggreen (1801-1880), a multi-talented composer, writer and editor. His first relevant publications were a songbook for schools and a collection of patriotic songs: 
  • A. P. Berggreen, Sange til Skolebrug, udsatte for tre Stemmer, 14 Vols., Reitzel, København 1834-1876 (at KBK
  • A. P. Berggreen, Melodier til de af "Selskabet for Selskabet for Trykkefrihedens rette Brug" udgivne fædrelandshistoriske Digte, C. C. Lose & Olsen, København, 1840 (at KBK)
But soon the first edition of his great collection of national and international "folke-sanger" appeared. A second expanded edition was published during the 1860s:
Volume 1 is dedicated to Danish songs and the other books offer excellent selections of national airs from Norway, Sweden, Britain, Germany and many more countries. This is an outstanding collection, one of the best and most useful from that time.

In Norway the collection and publication of so-called "Folk songs" started much later than in Denmark. Of course there were Norwegian songs and tunes in Laborde's Essai, for example a couple of Edvard Storms Døleviser, long before they were published at home. Then one should not forget the legendary Abbé Vogler who also collected the tune of Storm's "Skogmøte af Torjer Skjeille" and then presented it to his German audiences as "eine alte Weise von den Gränzen von Grönland" (in his Polymelos, 1806, see Verzeichnis Falter, 1810, p. 23). Later this particular melody was used by Carl Maria von Weber and then - thanks to Friedrich Silcher - it became the tune of a popular "Volkslied". But this is another story that I am busy writing at the moment. 

The above-mentioned British edition by Stokes had also included some Norwegian songs but it took some more time until the first real collection of Folkeviser from Norway appeared:
  • Jørgen Moe, Samling af Sange, Folkeviser og Stev i Norske Almuedialekter, Malling, Christiania, 1840, at BStB-DS: P.o.rel. 5333 n & at Google Books)
This was basically a collection of texts, but young composer Ludvig M. Lindeman (1812-1887; see Norsk Biografisk Leksikon) compiled an appendix with some tunes. Lindeman became the most important collector and editor of Norwegian folk tunes. His first relevant own publication (with arrangements for male choirs) was: 
  • Ludvig M. Lindeman, Norske Folkeviser udsatte for fire Mandsstemmer, A. Th. Nissen, Christiania, n.d. [1847] (pdf at
From 1853 onwards - until 1867 - he published his great collection in several volumes. The first is available online:
  • Ludvig M. Lindeman, Ældre og nyere Norske Fjeldmelodier. Samlade og bearbeidade for Pianoforte, Förste Bind, P. T. Malling, Christiania, n. d. [1853] (at IMSLP & Internet Archive; the complete set has been re-published as a facsimilé in 1963)
More of Lindeman's works - some of them digitized - are listed on the site Lindemanslegat. Two of them should be added here:
  • M. B. Landstad, Norske Folkeviser, Chr. Tönsberg, Christiania, 1853 (at Google Books; incl. an appendix with tunes compiled by Lindeman [pp. 869-920])
  • Ludvig M. Lindeman, Halvhundrede Norske Fjeldmelodier harmoniserede for Mandsstemmer, Fabritius, Christiania, 1862 (pdf at; another collection with choral arrangements).
And of course I must mention again A. P. Berggreen. The second volume of his above-mentioned collection is dedicated to Norway. The first edition appeared in the 40s and the second in 1861:

  • Jens Henrik Koudal, Rasmus Nyerups visearbejde og folkevisesamlingen 1809-21, in: Musik & Forskning 8, 1982, pp. 5-79 (online at
  • Olav Solberg, Editionen von Balladen und Volksliedern im Norden, in: Paula Henrikson & Christian Janss, Geschichte der Edition in Skandinavien, Berlin etc., 2013 (= Bausteine zur Geschichte der Edition 4), pp. 97-124

Friday, May 15, 2015

Polymelos - Abbé Vogler's Collections of National Airs (1791/1806)

At the moment I am trying to make myself familiar with the work of the Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler (1749-1814), a composer, music educator, musicologist, organ designer and organ virtuoso - "Europas 1. Orgelspieler" (see Musikalische Korrespondenz 1790, p. 122) - , in fact a very fascinating and controversial character (see Grave 1987, a good biography; still useful: Schafhäutl 1886; also helpful: Veit 1990, Fischer 1996). It seems that many were not sure if he was a genius or a charlatan. Especially his organ concerts must have been very impressive. He travelled far and wide through Europe and everywhere his performances attracted great attention (see Grave 1987, pp. 227-237). Vogler used to play a certain kind of Programm-Musik, or Tonmalereien ("musical paintings") with titles like "Die Hirtenwonne, vom Donnerwetter unterbrochen" or "Die Belagerung von Jericho" (see a playlist in Musikalische Korrespondenz 1790, p. 119, see also Vredblad 1927).

But what is of particular interest for me is a "project" he started around 1790: the collection and publication of so-called national airs - the tunes, not the songs - from all kind of countries. They were published under the title Polymelos, first in 1791 and then in 1806. Besides that he used to play these pieces in his concerts and also included some of them in an instruction-book for pianists. For some reason the musicologists have not shown much interest for this part of Vogler's work. There is only one important relevant article (Leopold 1998) and otherwise it is often only mentioned in passing and more as kind of oddity. 

Of course there was already at that time a certain interest for foreign and exotic music. Also collections of national airs were beginning to appear. But what was somewhat new was the idea of comparative anthologies of these kind of "national music". In fact Vogler seems to have been amongst those - and among the first - who took Herder's ideas seriously and attempted to do for the tunes what Herder had done for the lyrics of the so-called "Volkslieder". 

Vogler's first collection - with an intriguing tracklist - was announced in the Musikalische Korrespondenz in December 1790 (p. 183, at Google Books) and here we can see that he had adopted Herder's terminology:
"Von Hrn. Abt Vogler wird demnächst bei [...] Bossler in Speier in 2 Theilen erscheinen: Polymelos, oder karakteristische Nationalmusiken verschiedener Völkerschaften, eine originelle und sonderbare Sammlung von Volksliedern und Tänzen für das Klavier, und noch dazu, was man von ihm gar nicht erwartet, sehr leicht eingerichtet [...]"
Some months later the first part appeared:
Polymelos ou Caractères de Musique de differentes Nations, arrangés pour le Piano-forte d'une manière trés facile à executer,.avec un accompagnement de 2 Violons, Viole et Basse ad libitum, par L'Abbé Vogler, Bossler, Speyer, n. d. [1791] (online at BLB Karlsruhe, DonMusDr 272)
The inclusion of a Swedish tune should come as no surprise as he was working in Stockholm at that time but we can also find here an Italian aria, a Russian air, a Polonaise, a Danse des Cosaques and interestingly also a Scottish tune. I am not completely sure but this must have been the first time a national air from Scotland was published in Germany:

This is of course "Birks of Invermay", the tune of a very popular song written by David Mallet. It was first printed in 1734 in the second volume of William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (p. 98-90) and then regularly recycled in just about every collection of Scottish music during the 18th century. I made a quick survey of all variants known to me at the moment and it seems Vogler's version looks most similar to the one published by William McGibbon in his Collection of Scots Tunes (Vol. 2, 1746, here p. 16 on a later edition, at the Internet Archive).

Vogler had spent some time in London the previous year and there he could have easily become familiar with this tune, either from a book or from a performance. He also played a "Chanson Ecossaise" in one of his concerts there (see Veit, p. 411) and it may have been this one. The visit to London must have been particularly important for Vogler's project. Apparently he learned there some more tunes for his collection, including one from China that he also first performed there (dto).

In fact in the announcement in the Musikalische Korrespondenz Vogler claimed that the Emperor of China had sent some music to London where he got this tune from the secretary of war. I am not sure if I should believe that story. But the second volume of his collection never appeared and the public had to do without the Chinese melody. They only could hear it occasionally in his organ concerts, for example in September 1790 in Ulm (see Beck 1894, at UB Heidelberg):
Zweyter Theil.
1) Flöten Concert. Allegro Andante
Statt Rondo eine Chinesische Arie, die der Kaiser von China
neuerdings nach London gesandt.
In the following years the Abbé kept on working for this project and expanded his repertoire. He even made a somewhat mysterious trip down south to Portugal and from there to North Africa (see Clausen, also Vogler 1806, p. 24) where he also noted some tunes that he then played in his concerts. Some of these pieces - a Romance Africaine and an Air Barbaresque from Morocco - as well as the Chinese melody can be found in a little collection that was part of an instruction book for the piano published in 1798:
Pieces de Clavecin faciles, doigtées, avec des Variations d'une difficulté graduelle pour servir d'exemple à l'ecole de Clavecin. Par L'Abbé Vogler, Stockholm, n. d. [1798] (at the Internet Archive; modern edition: Grave 1986; the complete Clavér-Schola - with notes about the tunes on pp. 34-49 - is available at the UB Greifswald)
Another song supposedly from Africa - "Terrassenlied der Afrikaner, wenn sie Kalk stampfen, um ihre Terrassen zu befestigen, wo immer wechselweis ein Chor ruht und singt, währen dessen der andere stampft" - was regularly performed at his organ concerts and at least one reviewer seems to have been very impressed (AMZ 3, No. 12, 17.12.1800, pp. 192-4, at Google Books). 

In 1806 Vogler staged a spectacular show in München (see: Königlich-Bairisches Intelligenzblatt 11, No. XII, 22.3.1806, pp. 189-90, at BSt-DS):

"Wenn die Musik eine der wichtigsten Zweige der National-Erziehung ist, so ist es eben auch sie, welche die Kräfte des National-Geistes zu erhalten und stets zu beleben vermag. Diese ehrenvollen Aufforderungen haben in Hrn. Vogler den Wunsch erzeugt, ein bairisches patriotisches Orgel-Konzert, und ein national-karakteristisches Konzert zu geben, wozu der Erfinder die Favorit-Melodien von allen Zonen gesammelt hat. Dieses Konzert Polymelos genannt wird [...] von einem Chor von mehr als 50 Sängern begleitet werden."
 With his organ and a great choir he performed on two nights and the program looked really interesting. But this concert seems to have been a flop, at least according to a review (see AMZ 8, No. 35, 28.5.1806 p. 554). But nonetheless he set out to make the tunes available in print and soon afterwards the sheet music appeared - in 16 parts:
Polymelos. Ein nazional-karakteristisches Orgel-Koncert, in zwei Theilen, zu 16 verschiedenen Original-Stücken, aufgeführt, mit Zustimmung eines Chores von 80 Sängern im evangelischen Hofbethaus zu München, den 29. und 31sten März 1806, für's Fortepiano, mit willkürlicher Begleitung einer Violine und Violonzell gesetzt, variiert, und Ihro Majestät der regierenden Königin b. Baiern zugeeignet vom Abt Vogler, Falter, München, [1806] (see Verzeichnis Falter, 1810, p. 23, Schafhäutl, No. 185, pp. 267-8)
Besides some Bavarian "Volkslieder", all written by himself, the Abbé included some of his old classics like the Chinese tune - now with a different story, he claimed to have it deciphered from missionaries' manuscripts -, the Air barbaresque, the African Romance, the Venetian Barcarole, a Swedish and a Finnish tune as well as a Scottish piece - that I haven't identified yet (see the incipit in: Denkmäler der Tonkunst 16/2, p. LIX) - and a Norwegian melody that he described as an "old air from the borders of Greenland"! He had as much fantasy as many later editors of "Folk songs". One reviewer (in: AMZ 9, No. 24, 11.3.1807, pp. 382-7) discussed every single piece and paid his respect to Vogler's work:
"Auch dem unmusikalischen Leser müssen die Nachrichten von einem musikalischen Werk interessieren, welches schon wegen seiner Originalität sich ein bleibendes Denkmal in der Geschichte der Kultur der Musik gestiftet hat" (p. 387).
Unfortunately his work was undeservedly forgotten and is rarely discussed today. Of course It should be clear that he was not yet systematically collecting and documenting the music of foreign countries and cultures (see Clausen, p. 35). He simply took what he liked and added it to his repertoire. But it was also more than simple musical exoticism. In fact he opened up this field and encouraged both his listeners and younger composers - like Carl Maria von Weber (see Leopold, p. 204; also Veit 1990, esp. pp. 232-241) - to broaden the perspective. 

Vogler's work also reflected a general interest in these kind of comparative anthologies. At around this time Welsh composer and harpist Edward Jones (1752-1824) attempted something similar. In 1804 he published his Lyric Airs. Consisting of Specimens of Greek, Albanian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese and Moorish National Songs and Melodies (available at IMSLP) and he claimed on the title page that it was the "first selection of this kind ever yet offered to the public". A second collection, Terpsichore's banquet, or, Select Beauties of Various National Melodies with for example Spanish, Maltese, Russian, Armenian and Hindostan melodies came out a couple of years later (c. 1813, see the tracklist in the catalog of the NYPL).

The next step would be collections of songs - including words and music - from around the world and in fact in 1818 Thomas Moore published the first volume of his Popular National Airs. Other similar publications followed soon: in England the Melodies of Various Nations (T. H. Bayly, c. 1822-30), in France 100 Chants Populaires des diverses nations du monde (by G. Fulgence, c. 1829) and in Germany Zuccalmaglio's und Baumstark's Bardale (1829), Wolff's Braga (1835) and Silcher's Ausländische Volksmelodien (1835-1841). At least the latter may have been familiar with Vogler's work (see Bopp, p. 101) and used two tunes that can also be found in his collections.

  • Paul Beck, Abbé Vogler in Ulm (dessen Orgelkonzert im Münster) – eine Säkularerinnerung, in: Diöcesan-Archiv von Schwaben 12, 1894, Heft 18, p. 72 (at UB Heidelberg)
  • August Bopp, Friedrich Silcher, Stuttgart 1916
  • Bernd Clausen, Warum reisen unsere musikalischen Gesetzgeber nicht in fremde Länder? Das Voglersche Choral-System und sein biografisches Umfeld, in: Bernd Clausen & Robert Lang (ed.), Abt Voglers Choralsystem, Hildesheim, Zürich & New York, 2004, pp. 31-58
  • Denkmäler Deutscher Tonkunst. Zweite Folge. Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern 16. Mannheimer Kammermusik des 18. Jahrhunderts, 2. Teil, eingel. und hg. v. Hugo Riemann, Leipzig 1915 (at BStB-DS)
  • Georg-Helmut Fischer, Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler : ein "barockes" Musikgenie, in: Musik in Bayern. Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Bayerische Musikgeschichte 52, 1996, pp. 25 - 54
  • Floyd K. Grave & Margaret K. Grave, In Praise of Harmony. The Teachings of Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler, Lincoln, 1987
  • Floyd K. Grave (ed.), Georg Joseph Vogler. Pièces de Clavecin (1798) and Zwei und dreisig Präludien (1806), Madison, 1986 (= Recent Researches in the Music of the classical Era XXIV)
  • Silke Leopold, Grönland in Mannheim. Abbé Voglers Polymelos und die Idee der "nazional-karakteristischen" Musik, in: Kreutziger-Herr, Annette (Hrsg.), Das Andere. Eine Spurensuche in der Musikgeschichte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts (= Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft. Bd. 15), Frankfurt/M., 1998, pp. 203-224
  • Musikalische Korrespondenz der teutschen Filarmonischen Gesellschaft für das Jahr 1790. Julius bis Dezember, Speyer, n. d. [1790] (at Google Books & The Internet Archive)
  • Karl Emil von Schafhäutl, Abt Georg Joseph Vogler. Sein Leben, Charakter und musikalisches System. Seine Werke, seine Schule, Bildnisse &c., Augsburg, 1888 (also as a reprint: Hildesheim & New York, 1979)
  • Joachim Veit, Der junge Carl Maria von Weber. Untersuchungen zum Einfluß Franz Danzis und Abbé Georg Joseph Voglers, Mainz 1990 (online at Universität Paderborn, Digitale Sammlungen, urn:nbn:de:hbz:466:2-6908 )
  • Georg Joseph Vogler, Über die harmonische Akustik (Tonlehre) und ihren Einfluß auf alle musikalischen Bildungsanstalten. Rede gehalten in Verbindung mit den öffentlichen Vorlesungen im Saale der deutschen Schulanstalt in München vom wirklichen und ordentlichen Mitgliede der Königl. bairischen Akademie der Wissenschaften A. Vogler den 1. Juni 1806, Johann André, Offenbach, n. d. [1806] (at Google Books)
  • Patrick Vretblad, Abbé Vogler som Programmusiker, in: Svensk Tidskrift for Musikforskning 9, 1927, pp. 79-98

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thomas Moore's "Irish Melodies" & "Popular National Airs" - What is available online?

These days I am working quite a lot with two of Thomas Moore's important and influential song collections: both the Irish Melodies and the Popular National Airs. It is always helpful to have these publications available online and thankfully most of the original editions as well as some later complete editions have been digitized. 

The Irish Melodies

There is no need to say here anything about this one, it is surely one of the most popular and most successful song collections ever published and a lot of these songs are still well known:
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies. With Symphonies and Accompaniments by Sir John Stevenson MusDoc and Characteristic words by Thomas Moore Esq., 10 Volumes, L. Power, London, 1808-1834
The first two volumes are available at the Internet Archive. They belong to the Drs Whitby Music Collection by the University of Western Ontario, easily one of the best collections of historical sheet music and songbooks I have ever seen in the Internet: 

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in München has also already digitized a considerable part of its massive musical holdings. Recently they have added the first 7 volumes of the Irish Melodies to their digital collection. They also have a copy of Vol. 8, but for some reason that one hasn't been scanned yet. I hope they will add it in the near future: 
Volume 8, 9 and 10 of the original editions are to my knowledge at the moment not available online. Therefore it is necessary to use one of the complete editions of Moore's collection. The Internet Archive has for example - among others - these three and they are all useful:
  • Moore's Irish Melodies. With Symphonies and Accompaniments by Sir John Stevenson and Characteristic Words, Oliver Ditson & Co., Boston, n. d. [1852] 
  • J. W. Glover (ed.), Irish Melodies with Symphonies and Accompaniments by Sir John Stevenson Mus. Doc. and Characteristic Words by Thomas Moore Esq., New Edition, Dublin, n. d. [1859] 
  • Moore's Irish Melodies. With the Celebrated and Unsurpassed Symphonies and Accompaniments of Sir John Stevenson, Mus. Doc. and Sir Henry Bishop. Illustrated by Twenty Original Steel Engravings, After W. P. Frith, R. A., A. Elmore, R. A. &c. With a Biography of Thomas Moore and An Essay on the Music of Ireland, The London Printing And Publishing Company & A. W. Cittens, London & New York, n. d. 

The Popular National Airs

The great success of the Irish Melodies encouraged Moore and his publisher to try out the same formula for national airs from all kind of different countries and in 1818 the first volume of this collection appeared. Here he offered new lyrics with melodies that were described as Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, Sicilian, Venetian, Scotch, Italian and Hungarian. Sir John Stevenson was again responsible for the music. Five more volumes would follow and from No. 2 onwards Henry Rowley Bishop wrote the arrangements:
  • A Selection of Popular National Airs with Symphonies and Accompaniments by Sir John Stevenson MusDoc; Henry R. Bishop]. The Words by Thomas Moore, Esq., 6 Volumes, J. Power, London, 1818-1828
Again the BStB, München helps out with scans of the first three volumes: 
Unfortunately they don't have copies of Vols. 4-6 and as far as I know no other library has yet digitized them. Therefore it is necessary to use a complete edition of this collection. I found only one that is available online:
This is the so-called "People's Edition of Moore's National Airs" and the editor has simplified the arrangements a little bit. In the preface he notes that "it has been my study to arrange the symphonies and accompaniments in the simplest appropriate form, so as to render the whole easy of execution". Nonetheless this edition is very helpful and I have used it quite a lot.

By the way, I am somewhat surprised that the National Airs have rarely been discussed by the Moore scholars. There is no critical study and as far as I know nobody has yet tried to identify the tunes and its sources. But this was an influential and groundbreaking and also very successful collection. Some of the songs became really popular. Even the reviews at that time were very positive (see f. ex. The Quarterly Musical Magazine And Review, 1, 1818, pp. 225-229 & 5, 1823, pp. 67-74, The Gentleman's Magazine 90 I, 1820, p. 521, at Google Books):
"This is certainly one of the most pleasing collections of the kind we ever recollect to have met with. We have, however, less to do with the music itself, than the delightful poetry which accompanies it, and which comprizes, according to our ideas of beauty, some of the most highly polished specimens of the art of Songwriting we know in the English language [...]".
A rival publisher apparently liked it so much that he hired songwriter Thomas A. Bayly as well as Bishop and Stevenson for a competing collection with the title Melodies of Various Nations (4 Vols, c. 1822-30). But Moore's work was also known outside of Britain and served as a model for other editors interested in these kind of "international Folksongs". I recently noticed that Friedrich Silcher from Tübingen, one of the most important German producers of "Volkslieder", used more than 20 tunes from Moore's Popular National Airs (as well as some more from the Irish Melodies) for his own Ausländische Volksmelodien (4 Vols., 1835-41, at the Internet Archive). Some of these German versions - with translations or new words mostly by poet Hermann Kurz - became very popular, for example "Stumm schläft der Sänger" (H. 1, No. 1; i. e. "Here Sleeps The Bard"), a song that even today still belongs to the repertoire of male choirs:

The Irish Melodies and the Popular National Airs have of course also been included in numerous collections of Moore's - more or less - complete works. But in most cases the music has been left out. But there is one massive edition where the tunes were included:
  • The National Moore. Centenary Edition Including the Airs of the Irish Melodies, National Airs &c And a Memoir by J. F. Waller, William Mackenzie, London & Dublin, n. d. [1880] (pdf available in the online catalog of the British Library, [select "I want this"])
These are 700 pages of Thomas Moore's works - I can't say if it is complete - and for every song not only from the two collections discussed here but also from others the tune has been included. Not at least this is a very beautiful book and very enjoyable to read and leaf through and well worth the download.

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. 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 among 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: 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: 4 474-1 & 4 474-2).
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