Sunday, April 7, 2019

Thomas Hamly Butler (1755-1823) - National Airs and "Exotic" Rondos


I. 

I am interested in what I call "exotic" tunes and songs that were published in Europe from the 16th to the 19th century (see here in my blog & my bibliography). By this I mean music from outside of Europe or from the European periphery that was notated by Western travelers and then made available in print to European readers. For a long time these kind of tunes could be found nearly exclusively in travel books or academic treatises. But since the late 18th century supposedly authentic non-European tunes began to appear in the popular music repertoire. 

I recently came across one interesting example from the early 19th century, an "Egyptian air" arranged as a rondo by one Thomas Hamly Butler. Here is one of the many editions:
  • An Egyptian Air. Arranged as a Rondo, or Easy Lesson for the Piano Forte, by T. H. Butler, Author of Lewie Gordon, Goulding & Co., London, n.d. [1815?], at Google Books [= BL
This piece seems to have been very popular and it remained available in print for nearly the whole century (see Copac). We can see that the author only claimed to have arranged it. This suggests that he wanted the buyers to believe that it was an original "Egyptian" tune. The problem with a publication of this kind - and the many similar pieces - is that it is difficult or even impossible to find out if it was really an "authentic" melody. But at that time it didn't matter much. The buyers and critics usually had no way of knowing. One may assume that many of them regarded it as an original "Egyptian" melody. Therefore Butler's rondo served as a representation of a foreign musical culture. 

This seemed like an interesting problem to me. First I wanted to know more about the arranger of this rondo. Who was Thomas Hamly Butler? And then I will try to place his piece in a wider historical context. What other musical publications of this kind were available at that time? Who played these pieces? How do these works fit into the history of the so-called "national airs"? A great number of "Scottish" and "Irish" tunes and songs had already been published at that time. "National" melodies from other European countries also appeared. Therefore non-European tunes - no matter if they were "authentic" or not - were of course a reasonable addition to the popular repertoire. 


II. 

Thomas Hamly Butler (1755-1823) was a pianist, composer, arranger and music teacher, first in London and then in Edinburgh. A search in Copac provides several hundred results, nearly exclusively works for the piano. So it seems he must have been quite busy during his lifetime. But I must admit that I have rarely heard his name before. Not much has been written about him. There are only a few short articles in some encyclopedias (Fiske in New Grove 8, 1980, p. 518; Squire in DNB 8, 1886, at wikisource; Brown, Biographical Dictionary, 1886, pp. 132-3; Moore, Complete Encyclopedia, 1854, p. 168) and a paragraph or two in some books (see f. ex. Fiske, Theatre Music, 1973, pp. 425-6, Nelson, Notion, 2002, p. 261). Some information about his early years can be found in a letter by Butler himself that was published in The Bee, Or Literary Weekly Intelligencer (Vol. 10, No. 83, 19.7.1792, p. 65). 

He was born in London but as a young man he went to Italy for three years to study music with composer Niccolò Piccinni (1728-1800). After his return to London he was hired to play the piano at Covent Garden. He also tried his hand at writing music for stage shows, first for Calypso, a New Masque (1779; see The Morning Chronicle No. 3070, 23.3.1779, BBCN) and then for The Widow of Delphi (1780, see Google Books [=BL]), both with words by popular dramatist Richard Cumberland.

But these two shows weren't particularly successful and his career in London was soon to end. In the early 80s Mr. Butler moved to Edinburgh where he spent the rest of his life as a teacher of music and writer of piano pieces mostly for amateurs and beginners. He taught the young ladies of the nobility and the better-off families to play this instrument. It is quite interesting to read his ads in local newspapers like the Caledonian Mercury [= CM]. For example on November 22nd, 1804 (CM No. 12981, BNCN) he "intimates, That he has commenced Teaching the Piano-Forte, as usual, for the winter Season". On May 5th, 1806 (CM No. 13157, BNCN) it was announced that "in the middle of May, Mr. Butler intends opening a Class, at his house, for Young Ladies, to improve themselves in this and some other very necessary and useful branches of musical knowledge". That year he opened what he called a Musical Academy: 
"Mr. Butler begs leave to acquaint his Friends and the Public, That [...] on Monday se'enright he will open his Academy (as formerly advertised), and, with the assistance of the Miss Butlers, commence his plan of teaching Beginners the Piano Forte, For Two Guineas the Quarter. The Young Ladies will be more thoroughly grounded in the Rudiments of Music at the Academy than they can be in any other way, and they will be taught to Finger the Piano Forte well, and to execute what they play neatly, and as the Writing of Music, in a certain way, is a real help to the better understanding it, writing it for this purpose will also be taught at the Academy; - in short, a real foundation is Mr. Butler's object, and he flatters himself, that his long experience and tried ability as a teacher of Music, qualify him in a very particular manner for this undertaking [...] Mr. B. continues his Private Teaching, at Two Guineas Twelve Lessons as usual" (CM No. 13228, 18.10.1806, BNCN). 
We can see that - just like all other teachers of course - he claimed to have a particularly good and effective method and he also pointed out his "his well known experience, as a Teacher of Music" (CM, No. 13000, 5.1.1805, BNCN). At this time he was already more than twenty years in this business. Among his educational publications were the Musical Games (1804, see Kassler, p. 535; see catalog BL). In several ads he described them as "an entertaining way of passing A Winter Evening, And a pleasant and easy method of assisting Young Performers on the Piano-forte, To attain and retain some very useful Musical Knowledge" (CM No. 129891, 22.11.1804, BNCN), as " a pleasant and amusing, instead of the common dry and discouraging way, of learning the Keys of Music, both Major and Minor, with their Sharps, Flats and Scales" that "will tend more to increase and establish this most useful and necessary branch of musical knowledge in their memories than any other method whatever" (CM, No. 13000, 5.1.1805, BNCN) or as "entertaining and instructive musical Games, which no young Lady should be without who wish to know correctly by heart and play with ease and judgment upon the Piano Forte" (CM No. 13157, 5.5.1806, BNCN). 

Exactly for these "young Ladies"- the young Gentlemen of course did not make music, they had other things to do - he wrote his piano pieces, mostly rondos as well as some sonatas. In this respect he showed an astonishing productivity. Many of these pieces were based on Scottish tunes and other national airs. Thankfully a considerable number of his works - 70 at the moment - have been digitized by Google for the British Library and are now available online (see BL & Google Books). Some more can be found on several other sites (see IMSLP; Internet Archive). 


III. 

The first was "Lewie Gordon", published in 1782 after he had moved to Edinburgh. At least the earliest mention in a newspaper ad that I know of is from that year (CM, No. 9858, 10.4.1782, BNA): The Favourite Scots Air of Lewie Gordon, made into a Rondeau. It was later claimed that Mr. Butler had heard the song from "the maid of the house" and then chose it as the first tune to turn into a rondo (Moore, Complete Encyclopedia, p. 168). This piece was clearly a great success and it would be regularly printed again during the following decades by nearly all major publishers (see Copac), for example by Hamilton (c. 1800, at Google Books), Dale (c. 1800, at Google Books), Walker (c. 1802, at Google Books), Preston & Son (c. 1811, at Google Books) and Goulding & Co. (n.d., in Jenkyns 07, at the Internet Archive). Butler also once announced "Lewie Gordon, very much improved [...] A very Pleasing Sonata for the Piano-Forte, in which is introduced the admired Rondo of Lewie Gordon, with Alterations and Additions" (CM No. 13352, 3.8.1807, BNCN). In ads and on sheet music covers he was often referred to as the "Author of Lewie Gordon" (see f. ex. CM No. 11509, 8.6.1795, BNA). 

Apparently Mr. Butler regarded himself as an authority for Scottish songs. He also attempted an anthology A Select Collection of Original Scotish Airs Arranged for One and Two Voices, with Introductory & Concluding Symphonies and Accompanyments for the Flute, Violin & Piano Forte [...] With an Additional Selection of Words from the Most Admired Scotch and English Poets (Muir and Wood, Edinburgh, 1800, see cat. BL). This publication looked "extremely similar" (Nelson 2003, p. 261) to George Thomson's ambitious Select Collection that was published since 1793 (see f. ex. the First Set, reprint Dublin, c. 1793, at the Internet Archive). He even copied the term "Scotish" instead of "Scottish" from Thomson's title. 

Of course the difference was that Mr. Butler wrote the arrangements himself while Thomson had managed to hire star composers like Pleyel. But nonetheless he claimed in his ads (f. ex. CM No. 12289, 28.6.1800, BNCN) that this "Elegant Folio Volume" with mostly the same songs was "infinitely preferable to any collection of the kind that hitherto has appeared". I really wonder what Mr. Thomson - who also lived in Edinburgh - thought about Butler's anthology. But by all accounts it was clearly not a big success. No further volumes appeared and later nothing more was heard about it. 

Much more successful were his many piano arrangements of - mostly - Scottish tunes: "Mr. Butler, as a rondo writer, has long been a favourite with the public" (Universal Magazine 10, 1808, p. 460). It seems that he wrote them on assembly line. I haven't counted these publications but it must have been several a year. Here I will list only some examples: 
  • Corn Riggs. A Favorite Scots air, Made a Rondo for the Harpsichord or Piano Forte, Corri & Company, Edinburgh, c.1795, at Google Books [= BL]
  • The Birks of Invermay. A New Rondo for the Piano forte or Harpsichord, Stewart & Co., Edinburgh, c.1796, at Google Books [= BL]
  • I'll gang nae mair to yon Town. A New Rondo for the Piano Forte, Stewart & Co., Edinburgh, c.1800, at Google Books [= BL]
  • The Lass of Paties Mill. A Favorite Rondo for the Piano Forte, Gow & Shepherd, Edinburgh, 1799 (see CM No., 3.8.1799, BNA), at Google Books [= BL]
  • A New and Pleasing Sonata for the Piano Forte. The Beautiful Scots Airs of Tweed Side, the Broom of Cowden knows, and Benny Jean of Aberdeen, are introduced in this Sonata, Brysson, London, c.1802, at Google Books [= BL]
  • The Flowers of Edinburgh. Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte, Clementi, Banger, Hyde, Collard & Davis, London, 1804 (see The Morning Chronicle No. 11106, 22.12.1804), at BL 
  • The Earl of Moira's Strathspey, with entirely New and Brilliant Variations for the Piano Forte, Goulding & Co., London, 1806 (see CM No. 13157, 5.5.1806, BNCN), at Google Books [= BL]
  • The Ewe wi' the Crooked Horn. A Favorite Scots Air, Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte, Goulding, Phipps, D'Almaine & Co., London, c.1810, at Google Books [= BL]
  • Could Kail in Aberdeen. A Favorite Scots Air, Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte, Goulding, Phipps, D'Almaine & Co., London, c.1810, at Google Books [= BL]
  • The Bush Aboon Traquair, A Favorite Scots Air, Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte, Goulding, Phipps, D'Almaine & Co., London, c.1810, at Google Books [= BL]
  • Durandarte & Belerna. A Favorite Scotch Air, Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte, Wheatstone, London, c.1810, at Google Books [= BL]
Sometimes he compiled small anthologies with several pieces bound together: 
  • Eight Rondos for the Piano Forte, with or without the Additional Keys. Composed from the following favorite English and Scotch Airs, Printed for the Author, Edinburgh, 1806, at Google Books [= BL]
Among the Scottish tunes included here were "The Bush Aboon Traquair", "My Ain Kind Dearie" and "Roys Wife of Aldivalloch". In this case he noted in the advert for whom this work was intended:
"These Rondos are all of them of an agreeable length to play in company and are composed to shew the taste and execution of the performers without tiring the hearers; and, from very long experience Mr. Butler can affirm [...] that these are the best, as well as the most inviting sort of Lessons that can be given to young performers, to improve their taste, and increase their execution upon the Piano Forte" (CM No. 13156, 2.1.1806, BNCN). 
Interestingly the reviews of Mr. Butler's publications in the contemporary press were usually quite positive. In the Monthly Magazine (18, 1804, p. 250) it was noted that they had "frequently awarded our praise" to his "productions". For example the reviewer of Dainty Davie. A Favorite Air Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte (Goulding & Co., London, 1802, at Google Books) was mostly impressed by this work: 
"Mr. Butler has arranged this air with a considerable degree of taste. The introductory movement, in three quavers, andante expressivo, is pleasingly conceived, both in the bass and general disposition of the melody; and the modulation, though in some places rather abrupt, is bold in its effect, and displays a respectable degree of science" (Monthly Magazine 13, 1802, p. 155). 
A 4th Sonata for the Piano-Forte, in which are introduced the favourite Scotch Airs "Lochaber" and "Duncan Gray" (1803, see Copac) was also praised and recommended: 
"Mr. Butler's excellent first movement to this sonata, together with the taste with which he has ornamented and augmented the subject matter of the following movement, will render the composition a pleasing acquisition with piano-forte performers. The plan of introducing old and favourite airs in instrumental compositions, is a very eligible one; and when adopted with a success equal to the present, forms a strong recommendation with the generality of hearers" (Monthly Magazine 14, 1802, p. 170
The review of another work, A Slow Movement, and the Favourite Scots air of O! Bonnie Lassie, Arranged as a Rondo, with or without Additional Keys (Goulding & Co., see cat. BL) was even better: 
"The 'slow movement' to this production, which we suppose to be original, does great credit to Mr. Butler's taste and imagination. It is smooth, flowing, and affecting, and sweetly introduces the charming Scots' air, by which it is succeeded. As a rondo, this air, under Mr. Butler's excellent management, produces additional effect, and forms one of the most pleasing exercises for the piano-forte that we have noticed in a considerable time" (Monthly Magazine 15, 1803, p. 170). 
Of course Butler was not the only one to use Scottish tunes for his popular piano pieces. That was quite common at that time (see f. ex. Nelson 2003, pp. 255-66) and sonatas and rondos of this kind had become a lucrative part of the music business. Many other composers and arrangers worked in this field. A look at contemporary newspaper adverts may suffice. For example publisher James Hamilton from Edinburgh announced in an ad in the Caledonian Mercury in 1804 on November 24th (No. 12982, BNCN) not only three new pieces by Mr. Butler ("De'il tak' the War", "O'er the Water to Charlie" and "Tweedside") but also one by Domenico Corri ("O'er the muir among the Heather") and five by John Ross from Aberdeen, another popular composer from that time who adapted "Scotch Airs" in his sonatas and rondos. 

But it seems that Butler was particularly busy in this respect. I haven't counted his relevant works published between 1782 and 1823 but a complete bibliography could be a challenging task. Besides that there is also another question. There is good reason to assume that he had played - with his numerous piano pieces - a not unimportant part in popularizing all these tunes all over England, "among a class who might otherwise have remained in ignorance of their numberless beauties" (Brown, Biographical Dictionary, p. 132). Many young pianists have learned and played them and that has surely also "prolonged the longevity of their popularity amongst amateur performers" (Nelson 2003, p. 266) and those who had to listen to them. 

It is also not unreasonable to suspect that Mr. Butler's - and of course his like-minded colleague's - works played a bigger role in disseminating the Scottish melodies they used than the big ambitious anthologies like George Thomson's Select Collection. These were expensive publications that not everybody could afford. But a rondo by Butler was much cheaper, much easier to get and - I assume - easier to play for the typical amateur pianist. 

I noticed that most of the experts on Scottish songs and music apparently didn't care much for Butler. I found him rarely mentioned in the relevant literature and as far as I know nobody ever wrote more than a few lines about him. Today his works are all forgotten and his reputation isn't the best. Fiske in his somewhat lackluster article in the New Grove (Vol. 8, 1980, p. 518) only mentioned in passing "a profusion of unambitious piano rondos and sonatas on 'Scotch' themes". Claire Nelson (2003, p. 261) noted that "in general his works seem to have lacked originality". Only recently another modern expert referred to "Butler's usual rubbish" (D. McGuinness on Twitter, 14.2.2019). 

This may all be correct and I don't want to doubt it. But, as far as I know, Mr. Butler never claimed to be another Pleyel or Beethoven. He specialized in music for amateurs and beginners, "those juvenile practitioners, who wish to gratify the ear, while they are improving the finger" (Monthly Magazine 28, 1809, p. 418) and many of them were surely not among the musically most gifted. He wrote "agreeable trifles for the piano-forte" (Monthly Magazine 28, 1809, p. 316) and that was his niche on the music market. 

It seems that Butler did quite well both as a teacher and a composer. He had a successful business for four decades. By all accounts both the critics and the buyers were satisfied with what he produced. As mentioned above the reviews of his works were usually very good and his "unambitious" rondos probably sold quite well. Otherwise he wouldn't have written so many. This is a field that perhaps needs a little bit more research. It is not really important if what Mr. Butler wrote and published was "rubbish" or not. More relevant is the quantitative data. There must have been a reason for his apparent success and his numerous works surely had a certain importance on the popularization and dissemination of the so-called national airs, Scottish and others. They were played and they were listened to, not only in Scotland but all over England. But this is a question that should be left for the musicologists. 


IV. 

Mr. Butler of course did not only arrange Scottish tunes. He also attempted variations and rondos on patriotic standards like "God Save The King" and "Rule Britannia" (see f. ex. CM, No. 11153, 16.2.1793, BNA; No. 13156, 1.2.1806, BNCN), composed military pieces like The Royal Montrose Volunteers. A New March (see CM No. 11509, 8.6.1795, BNA), The Landing of the Brave 42nd in Egypt. A Military Rondo for the Piano Forte (1802; see Kassler, p. 492; Copac) or The Marching and Embarkation of the Brave 42nd Regiment, a Grand Military Divertimento for the Piano Forte (see CM No. 14134, 25.7.1812) and turned some contemporary popular tunes into rondos. I will only mention Sanderson's "Adown, adown, adown in the Valley" (see Universal Magazine 10, 1808, p. 460) and Nathaniel Gow's "Long Life to Step Mothers" (c. 1810, at Google Books). The latter was published by Gow himself who apparently appreciated that a popular rondo writer revived his tune. 

But he also used other national airs, for example some Irish tunes. The Favorite Irish Air of Aileen Aroon with Variations for the Piano Forte or Harp was published in 1807 (at NLI, see CM No. 13352, 3.8.1807, BNCN) and Gramachree Molly, A New Rondo for the Piano Forte or Harp (c. 1810, at Google Books) some years later. Not at least Mr. Butler also tried his hand at foreign melodies: 
  • A Slow Movement and a Favorite Russian Arranged as a Rondo, for the Piano Forte, with or without the Additional Keys [No. 12], Goulding & Co., London, 1802, at Google Books [= BL])
  • A Slow Movement and a favorite Second Russian Air Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte [No. ?], Goulding, Phipps & D'Almaine, London, c. 1802, at Google Books [= BL]
  • A New Slow Movement, & the Favorite Russian Air of the Drunken Sailor, Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte [No. ?], Goulding, Phipps & D'Almaine, London, c.1803, at Google Books [= BL]
  • A Slow Movement and A Favorite Danish Air, Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano-Forte. With or Without the Additional Keys [No. 7], Goulding & Co., London, c.1802, at Google Books [= BL]
He also wrote Two Sonatas for the Piano-Forte, in which are introduced favourite Danish Airs as the Subjects of the Rondos. It seems that no copy has survived but there was a review (Monthly Magazine 13, 1802, p. 496): 
"We can have the pleasure to speak of these sonatas in highly commendatory terms. Their style, though familiar, is gay and inspired; and the Danish airs are sweet and full of national character. Mr. Butler, in the digressive matter of the rondos, has been particularly happy in adhering to the cast of his subjects, to which he always returns with an adress which indicates a well-cultivated taste, and maturity of judgment." 
Russian tunes were not uncommon at that time in British music market. In fact it seems that that there was even a kind of fashion for "Russian Airs" (see Copac). But as far as I know Mr. Butler may have been the first one to introduce melodies said to be from Denmark. 

This series of "Slow Movements, with favourite select Airs, arranged as Rondos" (Morning Post No. 10647, 23.11.1802, BNA; see Copac) was published since 1801 or 1802. It is particularly interesting because of its international approach. Of course he used predominantly Scots airs but there were also some foreign tunes: besides those from Russia and Denmark listed above he offered a "Neapolitan air" and a "Spanish Quick Step" as well as two pieces based on melodies from India and Persia. At least he claimed so:
  • A Slow Movement and a favorite Indian Air Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte [No. 15], Goulding, Phipps & D'Almaine, London, c.1802, at the Internet Archive 
  • A New Slow Movement and a Beautiful Persian Air Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte [No. 23], Goulding, Phipps & D'Almaine, London, 1802, at Google Books [= BL] (see the review in: Monthly Magazine 14, 1802, p. 441
This was the time when foreign national airs began to appear in the popular repertoire. This included a small amount of supposedly non-European tunes. I don't mean the pseudo-exotic music - from Lully to Mozart, from a Ballet des Indiens performed at the French court in the early 17th century (see Pisani, Chronological Listing, 2006) to an Egyptian Love Song by Welsh bard Edward Jones, published in one of his earliest collections, The Musical Bouquet; or Popular Songs, and Ballads (1799, p. 4) - that was so popular in Western Europe (see also Locke 2011 & 2015 about "exoticism"). Now real "national music" from outside of Europe - Westernized and made usable for European instrumentalists and singers - became available on sheet music and in popular anthologies. Of course there were only few publications and what was published was more often than not difficult to distinguish from the traditional "exoticism". But it was a visible development. 

We may at first look to Germany. Here the Abbé Vogler was a kind of innovator. His Polymelos ou Caractères de Musique de differentes Nations (1791, at BLB Karlsruhe) only included European tunes but in a later anthology with easy arrangements for pianists, the Pieces de Clavecin faciles (1798, at the Internet Archive), he also offered several tunes from outside of Europe: some that he claimed to have collected in North Africa as well as a Chinese melody he had learned while in London some years earlier. He even performed these tunes in his concerts all over Europe (see also here in my blog). 

In the meantime German musician Karl Kambra had published in London Two Original Chinese Songs. Moo-Lee-Chwa & Higho Highau, for the Piano Forte or Harpsichord (1795, at Harvard UL, see also the review in Monthly Magazine 4, 1796, pp. 223-4). But in England tunes from India played a bigger role. William Hamilton Bird's Oriental Miscellany, an anthology of Indian melodies arranged for piano that was printed in Calcutta in 1789 (at the Internet Archive), had inspired a fashion for so-called "Hindustannie Airs" (see f. ex. Farrell, pp. 31-44; Woodfield, pp. 292-95; see also here in my blog, ch. 2) and since the late 1790s several collections with new arrangements of these tunes appeared in London. 

Composer E. S. Biggs published two volumes of Twelve Hindoo Airs with English words by poet Amelia Opie (c. 1800, at the Internet Archive). Thomas Williamson offered Twelve Original Hindostanee Airs (c.1800, see Copac). In 1802 M. P. King added Three Indian Rondos for the Piano-forte. The Subjects Taken from Some of the Most Favorite Airs of Hindostan (see Copac; see Monthly Magazine 13, 1802, p. 155) to the available repertoire. We can see that Mr. Butler was also among the first to join this new musical fashion. 

But his "Persian" rondo was more unusual. In fact until that time only two tunes supposedly from Persia had been published in Europe. The first one was the "petit Air Persan" in Jean Chardin's Voyage de Perse (1711, Vol. 2, pl. 26) that later also appeared in Rousseau's Dictionnaire de Musique (here in the Engl. ed., 1779, p. 265). The other one - of unkown and surely dubious origin - can be found in Domenico Corri's Select Collection of the Most Admired Songs (c.1782/3, Vol. 3, p. 44). 

Of course it is not clear if the tune used by Butler really was genuine. On the title page he only claimed to have arranged it. Perhaps he had received the melody from an unknown informant, someone who was in Persia and then had brought it to England. This was not unusual at that time. If it was in fact an original melody it would have been a notable achievement, no matter how much edited or even mutilated it may have been. But of course it is also possible that he had written it himself and then passed it off as a foreign tune. 

After all these Indian airs one from Persia surely had a real novelty value. At least the reviewer in the Monthly Magazine (14, 1803, p. 441) was impressed by this "beautiful" air and Mr. Butler's arrangement. After these two publications Mr. Butler returned to the usual repertoire. There were no more "exotic" tunes for a while until the Egyptian Rondo. But in the meantime some other composers and editors offered more music of this kind to a - hopefully - curious musical public. 

Feliks Yaniewicz (1762-1848, see Wikipedia), a Polish composer and musician who lived in Liverpool and later in Edinburgh, also wrote rondos based on Scots airs and European tunes (see Copac). The Indian War Hoop, A Rondo for the Piano Forte (1804, at Google Books) was his contribution to the "exotic" repertoire. He even performed this piece in concerts (see CM No. 12876, 19.3.1804, BNCN). Henry Dixon Tylee from Bath arranged Eight Indian Airs Selected by A Lady (c. 1805, at Google Books). This was published by Goulding in London who was also responsible for King's Indian Airs, the second volume of Williamson's Hindostanee Airs and of course for Butler's series of Slow Movements. It seems this publisher was particularly interested in foreign national airs. We will meet him more often in the next decade. 

Then there were the earliest anthologies of international national airs. Welsh bard Edward Jones published his Lyric Airs with "Greek, Albanian, Walachian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese, and Moorish National Songs and Melodies" in 1805 (at the Internet Archive). He had received the "Persian Air" included here from an informant who had heard it in East India (p. 25). More collections of this kind would follow (see here in my blog). William Crotch's, Specimens of Various Styles of Music (1808) was a systematic presentation of national airs from Britain and from all over the world with a generous number of non-European tunes (pp. 145-65, at the Internet Archive). These were no academic treatises even though the editors included notes and an introduction. Crotch's Specimens even grew out of lectures in Oxford and London. But they were intended for practical use. All tunes were arranged for piano and they could be played by curious musicians. 

Otherwise not much more appeared on commercial sheet music at that time. There were some "Turkish" pieces, for example one by Joseph Woelfl (1773-1812, see Wikipedia), an Austrian composer who had relocated to London in 1805. There he also began to write rondos for the British market (see Copac). But his Turkish March and Rondo (1809, see Copac; see Morning Chronicle No. 12373, 6.1.1809, BNCN) may have to do more with the traditional alla Turca style than with original Turkish music. Nonetheless it surely fit well with the new interest in "exotic" national airs. 

The same can be said about a Persian Dance, a great hit in 1810 that was played on dances of the high society (see Cooper, Examples). Welsh bard John Parry, a composer and multi-instrumentalist who at that time had already made a name for himself himself as "the composer of several ballads, and agreeable exercises for young piano-forte practitioners" (Monthly Magazine 29, 1810, p. 483) published it as The Persian Dance. A Favorite Air Composed and Arranged as a Familiar Rondo for the Piano Forte (Bland & Weller, London, 1810; see cat. BL; Copac). There were also many other editions both as sheet music, for example one by Joseph Dale (at Google Books), and in dance anthologies like Nathaniel Gow's Favorite Dances of 1812 (p. 2). 

It is unlikely that this dance is really based on an original Persian tune. At least one newspaper reported that it was "composed in compliment to his Excellency Mirza Abul Hassan" (quoted by Cooper, Examples), the Persian ambassador who was in London at that time. So it seems it was a new tune, probably written by Parry himself to whom it was credited in some contemporary newspaper reports. But three decades later this "Persian Dance" was included in Parry's own anthology Two Thousand Melodies, arranged for All Instruments forming an Encyclopedia of Melody (D'Almaine & Co., London, 1841, p. 155) and there he didn't claim authorship. In fact we really don't know who wrote this tune and where it was from. But at least Parry added a touch of authenticity. In his arrangement he "introduced an imitation of a small pipe used by the shepherds in Persia, somewhat resembling the English flageolet, and described to Mr. Parry by his Excellency the Persian Ambassador" (Monthly Magazine 29, 1810, p. 483). 


V

Here I can return to Butler's Egyptian Rondo, that little piece of music that served as the initial inspiration for this work. We can see that it fit well into this music historical context. And again - as with the other "exotic" rondos - we don't know if it was genuine. Of course it is possible that he had received the melody from an anonymous informant, perhaps someone who had heard and noted it in Egypt. But we have no way of knowing. 

At that time Egypt was no terra incognita, at least not since Bonaparte's invasion 1798, the Battle of Abukir and the landing of British troops. Since 1799 a few songs and tunes referring to Egypt had appeared. Edward Jones included an "Egyptian Love Song" in one of his earliest collections, The Musical Bouquet; or Popular Songs, and Ballads (1799, p. 4). Broderip & Wilkinson offered an Egyptian March by the Lord Viscount Galway (Times No. 5280, 12.4.1801; Morning Chronicle No. 10143, 12.4.1801). Another Egyptian March, for a Military Band, also adapted for the Piano Forte was published by Cahusac in London (see Copac). Butler himself wrote The Landing of the Brave 42nd in Egypt. A Military Rondo for the Piano Forte (1802; see Kassler, p. 492; Copac). 

But original tunes from Egypt had not yet been made available in print in Western Europe. Neither Jones nor Crotch were able to include one in their respective anthologies. Only in 1809 French musicologist Villoteau - one of the scholars who had accompanied Bonaparte on his expedition - offered a generous amount of musical examples in his De l'État Actuel de l'Art Musical en Égypte, one volume of the famous Description de l'Égypte (pp. 607-846, available at the Internet Archive). But I couldn't find Butler's tune in this book. It is of course not even known if he was familiar with this work. 

The dating of Butler's Egyptian Rondo is also a little bit difficult. It was not entered at Stationer's Hall and I know of no contemporary reviews that would help to determine when this piece was first published. Besides that I only found one advert, strangely not in a London newspaper but in a provincial publication. With an ad in the Staffordshire Advertiser on August 24th (at BNA) publisher Goulding, D'Almaine, Potter & Co. announced a "Second Egyptian Air" by Butler. I have no idea what the first one was but this seems like a reasonable publication date for the well-known Egyptian Rondo that I am discussing here. 

Then we can have a look at the four editions of this piece that are at the moment - thanks to the British Library - available online at Google Books. The tentative dates from the catalog are not really reliable and look more like guesswork. Therefore I have added, with the help of Music Publishing on the British Isles by Humphries & Smith (1970), the time span when the respective publisher had his business at the address given on their edition: 
  • An Egyptian Air. Arranged as a Rondo, or Easy Lesson for the Piano Forte, Goulding & Co., London, n.d. [betw. 1811 & 1816], at Google Books [= BL] 
  • An Egyptian Air. Arranged as a Rondo, or Easy Lesson for the Piano Forte, J. Lawson, London, n.d. [after 1814], at Google Books [= BL] 
  • Butler's Egyptian Rondo, For the Piano-Forte, Preston, London, n.d. [betw. 1810 & 1822], at Google Books [= BL] 
  • An Egyptian Air. Arranged as a Easy Lesson for the Piano Forte, Birchall & Co., London, n.d. [betw. 1824 & 1829], at Google Books [= BL] 
These four were all published after 1810 and the one published by Goulding seems to have been the earliest. That fits well with the advert quoted above. Nearly all other editions listed in British library catalogs (see Copac) also appear to be from after 1810/11. There is only one exception: A Favorite Little Egyptian Air, made an Easy Rondo for the Piano Forte and humbly dedicated to the Right Honorable Lady Isabella Boyle was published by McFadyen in Glasgow and is dated as from "ca. 1800" (see cat. UofGlasgow). This is perhaps a little too early. The publication dates in library catalogs are often unreliable. Publisher McFadyen was active until 1826 (Humphries & Smith, p. 222 ). 

There were also several American editions, for example by Blake in Philadelphia (c.1816, at LoC), Graupner in Boston (c.1810, at LoC), Willig in Philadelphia (c.1810, at LoC) and Willson in New York (c.1812, at Levy Sheet Music). The tentative dates in the catalogs indicate that the Egyptian Rondo was not available there before 1810. All in all it seems reasonable to assume that Butler's rondo first appeared in Britain in 1810 or 1811. If it really had been published much earlier it clearly wasn't successful at first and only became popular after 1810. I even tend to think that the great success of John Parry's Persian Dance perhaps inspired Butler and his publisher to offer something equally "exotic" and therefore this Egyptian Rondo was either composed and published at that time or - if already available earlier - revived and printed anew. 

An "Egyptian" air was as uncommon and rare as a "Persian" dance. And it didn't matter if it really was an original tune or not. The buyers had no way of knowing that. Butler's rondo was clearly a great success. This can be seen from the surprising number of new editions by other publishers. But some other composers also felt inspired to try something similar. John Parry - since his Persian Dance an expert for "exotic" rondos - answered with an "Arabian" air and on the title page he even referred to Butler's piece. This was also published by Goulding: 
  • John Parry, Arabian Rondo, for the Piano Forte. Intended as a Companion to Butler's Egyptian Rondo. Composed and respectfully inscribed to Miss Young, Goulding, D'Almaine, Potter & Co., London, n. d. [betw. 1811 & 1816], at Google Books [= BL]; at Google Books [= BSB
This piece must have also been quite successful. Mr. Parry then produced a whole series of "international" rondos (see Copac). I will only cite one here because the others are listed on the title page: 
  • John Parry, The Hibernian Rondo, For The Piano Forte, Composed to Correspond With The Arabian, Russian, Hanoverian, Swiss, Prussian, Venetian, Spanish, Milanese, Turkish & Cambrian Rondos, No. 11, Goulding D'Almaine, Potter & Co, London, n.d. [betw. 1811 & 1816], at Google Books [= BL] 
Of course most of these rondos' titles refer to European countries and Hanover wasn't really an "exotic" foreign place. But the world outside of Europe was at least additionally represented by the Turkish Rondo of which apparently no copy has survived. Interestingly Parry occasionally identified the origin of the tune he used. In case of the Hanoverian Rondo he informed the buyers that the "subject [was] taken from a German Air" (see BL) and the "subject" of the Hibernian Rondo was borrowed "from a Song in 'High Notions' called Dennis McPhane". But of course it is not clear if the Turkish and Arabian rondos are also based on original tunes. At around the same time Parry wrote an Indian Rondo, Composed in a Familiar Style, for the Piano Forte (Phipps, London, c.1815, see Copac) that was not part of this series

Shortly later one J. P. Wrede jumped on this bandwagon and produced not only an Original Egyptian Rondo but also "celebrated" Indian and Chinese Rondos (1816/17; see Kassler, p. 683 & p. 688; see Copac). This was a pseudonym of John Charles White, a young composer from a music publishing family in Bath, who otherwise was busy writing country dances on assembly-line (see Cooper, White v. Gerock). Then there was Matthias Holst (1767-1845; see Scott, M. H.; see IMSLP), a German musician from Riga who lived in England. He composed piano pieces, many of them on "foreign" subjects (see Copac) and later also arranged Scottish airs. Holst offered Tartarian, Circassian and American rondos and also tried his hand at a Chinese Rondo (c.1817, at Google Books; see YouTube). 

Butler himself also tried to capitalize on his great success and published a New Egyptian Rondo, Composed and Arranged for the Piano Forte or Harp in 1819. A reviewer called it a "pleasing trifle" and "a proper lesson for young pupils" (see Repository of Arts 7, 1819, p. 44). But this new attempt apparently wasn't successful. As far as I know no copy has survived. There was even a parody "on Butler's celebrated Egyptian Air (to which it is intended as a companion)" by one O. H. Normino (Monro & May, London, c. 1825, see Copac). 

But - as mentioned - Butler's original Rondo survived them all. It must have been quite popular among piano players and was regularly reprinted during the 1820s. But at least some critics became more critical. A writer for the Athenaeum (No. 77, 15.04.1829, p. 232) ridiculed it as "the most popular, and, at the same time, most insignificant piece perhaps ever published". That was not very kind. But the pianists kept on playing this piece and the publishers kept it available. There were even new editions several decades later in 1872 and 1880 (see Copac), many years after Butler's death when all his other works were long forgotten. 


VI. 

I have started with Butler's Egyptian Rondo and now I have ended my text with this piece. In between I have tried to find out a little bit more about Mr. Butler who it seems was a quite interesting character even though his numerous works are now completely forgotten and his reputation isn't really that good today. But no matter what we now think of his abilities as a composer and arranger: during his lifetime his musical publications were apparently appreciated both by the buyers - probably mostly amateur pianists - and the music critics. 

Butler was among the first piano composers who not only arranged numerous "Scottish" tunes for amateur pianists but also introduced foreign national airs to the commercial music market. Especially his series of "Slow Movements" with rondos in 1802 offered a new international approach: in addition to many melodies regarded as "Scottish" he also used tunes described as Danish, Russian, Persian and Indian. As far as I can see this was a new concept. I wonder if it was his own idea or his publisher's. The earliest comprehensive anthologies of international national airs - by Edward Jones and William Crotch - would only appear in 1805 respectively 1808. And in some way Butler's series also prepared the ground for later international collections like Thomas Moore's Popular National Airs (1818 etc). 

Of course other piano composers followed Butler's example and wrote similar pieces based on tunes of supposedly exotic origin: until circa 1820 more "Indian", "Chinese", "Persian" and "Arabian" rondos were made available. His own Egyptian Rondo was clearly the most successful piece of this kind and inspired some more arrangers and composers, especially John Parry who even started his own series of "exotic" rondos. This was essentially a reorientation of the traditional musical exoticism in the context of the new interest for "national" music. 

Of course it is not clear if any of the tunes used here were really genuine. I haven't yet found printed precursors. It can not be ruled out that Butler or Parry - or any of the other composers mentioned - have received formerly unpublished melodies from private collectors. But for me this looks more like musical masquerading. That was quite common at that time. To name only one famous example: some years later composer Henry Rowley Bishop claimed that the melody for the song that would later become "Home, Sweet Home" was "Sicilian". But in fact he had borrowed parts of an older German tune (see Underwood 1977). As already noted: for the buyers it surely didn't matter much. They had no way of distinguishing original tunes from imitations. These "Egyptian", "Persian" or "Arabian" rondos were a welcome supplement to the numerous "Scottish" piano pieces and they offered a simulated look at "exotic" musical cultures. 


Literature
  • BBCN = 17th & 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers (Gale - via Nationallizenzen.de) 
  • BNA = The British Newspaper Archive 
  • BNCN = 19th Century British Library Newspapers (Gale - via Nationallizenzen.de) 
  • James Duff Brown, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. With a Bibliography of English Writings on Music, Gardner, London, 1886, at the Internet Archive 
  • Thomas Hamly Butler, Letter to the Editor, in: The Bee, Or Literary Weekly Intelligencer 10, No. 83, 19.7.1792, p. 65, at Google Books 
  • Paul Cooper, White v. Gerock, 1818 (of Country Dances & Copyright) (= Research Paper 14, 3.6.2015), at RegencyDances.org.Your learning resource for the dances of the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Paul Cooper, Example Tunes for Country Dancing (= Research Paper 34, 19.2.2019), at RegencyDances.org. Your learning resource for the dances of the 18th and 19th centuries 
  • Gerry Farrell, Indian Music and the West, Oxford, 1997 
  • Roger Fiske, English Theatre Music In The Eighteenth Century, London, New York & Toronto 1973 Roger Fiske, Art.: Butler, Thomas Hamly, in: Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 3, London, 1980, p. 518 
  • David Golby, Instrumental Teaching in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Abingdon & New York, 2014
  • Charles Humphries & William C.Smith, Music Publishing in the British Isles from the Beginning Until the Middle of the Nineteenth Century, 2nd Ed., Oxford 1970 
  • Michael Kassler, Music Entries at Stationers' Hall 1710-1818. From Lists prepared for William Hawes, D. W. Krummel, and Alan Tyson and from Other Sources, Burlington, 2004 (Online Edition, 2013, partly at Google Books
  • Ralph P. Locke, Musical Exoticism. Images and Reflections, Cambridge, 2011 
  • Ralph P. Locke, Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart, Cambridge, 2015 
  • John W. Moore, Complete Encyclopedia of Music. Elementary, Technical, Historical, Biographical, Vocal, and Instrumental, Jewett & Co., Boston, 1854, at Google Books 
  • Claire M. Nelson, Creating a Notion of 'Britishness'. The Role of Scottish Music in the Negotiation of a Common Culture, with Particular Reference to the 18th Century Accompanied Sonata,Ph.D., Royal College of Music, London, 2003, available at EthOS 
  • Michael V. Pisani, A Chronological Listing of Musical Works on American Indian Subjects, Composed Since 1608, 2006, online at: http://indianmusiclist.vassar.edu/ 
  • Prue Scott, Matthias Holst, in: The Weiss family of Mulhouse (Mulhousien Society), n.d., at weissfamilymulhouse.blogspot.com 
  • Byron Edward Underwood, The German Prototype of the Melody of "Home! Sweet Home!", in: Jahrbuch für Volksliedforschung 22, 1977, pp. 36-48 
  • Ian Woodfield, English Musicians in the Age of Exploration, Stuyvesant NY, 1995 (= Sociology of Music 8) 
  • Bennett Zon, Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Rochester, 2007




Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"My Heart's on the Rhine" (1845) - A German Song In England

I. 

In Königswinter at the Rhine, at the foot of the Siebengebirge, there is - on the main street at the south end of town, right at the river with the famous Drachenfels in sight (see Google Maps) - a nice monument dedicated to "Dem Rheinischen Dichter Wolfgang Müller von Königswinter". Today he is more or less forgotten - this memorial, one of the lesser known historic sites here, didn't help him much in this respect - but in his day Müller (1816-1873; see Heckes, at Rheinische Geschichte; Wikipedia; the biography: Luchtenberg 1959) was a very productive poet, writer, playwright, journalist and cultural networker, highly respected by his peers and the literary public. 

He was born here in this town as the son of a doctor. Early on he began to write poetry and became interested in arts, music and literature. But nonetheless young Müller followed in his father's footsteps, studied medicine and also became a physician. His real name was Wilhelm but as a writer he called himself - so as not to be confused with other Müllers and in honor of Goethe and his town of birth - Wolfgang Müller von Königswinter. His first book of poetry - Junge Lieder (at the Internet Archive) - appeared in 1841 and many other publications would follow (see wikisource). Even though he left Königswinter already as a young boy he remained a Rhinelander and later lived in Düsseldorf and Köln. 

Müller was a popular and industrious exponent of the literary Rheinromantik (see Kiewitz 2003). In many of his works he wrote about the Rhine and the Rhineland: poems, legends, travelogues and more. I will only mention his Rheinfahrt (1846, at BSB), Lorelei. Rheinisches Sagen (1851, at BSB), Das Rheinbuch. Landschaft, Geschichte, Sagen, Volksleben (1855, at UB Düsseldorf) and Sommertage im Siebengebirge (1867). This monument, erected in 1896, two decades after his death when his writings were still well known, has several inscriptions on the pedestal. One one side we can read: 
Wo ich auch gehe, wo ich auch stehe
Mein Herz ist am Rhein 
This sounds strikingly familiar. Of course Robert Burns comes to mind: "My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go". In fact it is a line from Müller's best known and most successful poem which is clearly a pastiche of Burns' famous song. I quote the complete text here from his Junge Lieder (No. XXX, pp. 49-50): 
Mein Herz ist am Rheine, im heimischen Land!
Mein Herz ist am Rhein, wo die Wiege mir stand,
Wo die Jugend mir liegt, wo die Freunde mir blühn,
Wo die Liebste mein denket mit wonnigem Glühn,
O, wo ich geschwelget in Liedern und Wein:
Wo ich bin, wo ich gehe, mein Herz ist am Rhein!

Dich grüß' ich, du breiter grüngoldiger Strom,
Euch Schlösser und Dörfer, und Städte und Dom,
Ihr goldenen Saaten im schwellenden Tal,
Dich Rebengebirge im sonnigen Strahl,
Euch Wälder und Schluchten, dich Felsengestein:
Wo ich bin, wo ich gehe, mein Herz ist am Rhein!

Dich grüß' ich, o Leben, mit jauchzender Brust,
Beim Liede, beim Weine, beim Tanze die Lust,
Dich grüß' ich, o teures, o wackres Geschlecht,
Die Frauen so wonnig, die Männer so recht,
Eur Streben, eur Leben, o mög es gedeihn:
Wo ich bin, wo ich gehe, mein Herz ist am Rhein!

Mein Herz ist am Rheine, im heimischen Land,
Mein Herz ist am Rhein, wo die Wiege mir stand,
Wo die Jugend mir liegt, wo die Freunde mir blühn:
Wo die Liebste mein denket mit wonnigem Glühn!
O möget ihr immer dieselben mir sein:
Wo ich bin, wo ich gehe, mein Herz ist am Rhein! 
Burns at the Rhine? Of course he was never there. But he had obviously inspired - posthumously - a German Rhine poet. It was surely not unreasonable to transplant the song's idea and its title line to a poem about another place. I really wonder why it was not done more often. In this case it was particularly appropriate. What the "highlands" were to Scotland (see Pittock, II, p. 84) the Rhine was to Germany: a mythological place, a romantic landscape celebrated by artists and poets. 

This looks like an interesting story, another chapter in the history of the reception of Burns' works in Germany. But further research showed that there is even more. Müller's poem was set to music several times and one version - by composer Wilhelm Speyer - became a great success, not only in Germany but also in Britain. There it was introduced to enthusiastic audiences by German singing star J. B. Pischek and then published numerous times as sheet music and in songbooks with English texts. Here we can see how a German pastiche of a song by Burns "returned" to Britain, an interesting example of German-British literary and musical exchange in the 19th century. 


II. 

Robert Burns (1759-1796), the famous Scottish poet and songwriter, was virtually unknown in Germany during his lifetime and for several decades after his death (see Kupper 1979; Selle 1981/2013; Bödeker 1995; Reitmeier 2011 & 2014; MacIntosh 1928). At that time Scotland had already a kind of special reputation in the German literary public. Everybody knew about Ossian, Herder and others had translated Scottish ballads and later Sir Walter Scott's novels became immensely popular. But for some reason Burns was left behind and barely anyone knew about him. For a long time only very few translations were published. This only changed in the 1830s. In 1835 the original texts were made available to German readers with Wagners The Works of Robert Burns. Complete in One Volume (at Google Books). 

Soon more translations began to appear. A pioneer in this respect was Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810 - 1874; see Wikipedia; wikisource), a popular poet, writer and translator who would become one of the most influential mediators of English-language literature in Germany. His translations of poems and songs (see Richter 1899) were widely read and often set to music (see Fleischhack, pp. 18-20 & 59-92). Early on he also tried his hand at Burns. Eight adaptations were published in 1836 in a periodical, the first volume of the Blätter zur Kunde der Literatur des Auslandes (pp. 4-5 & 13-4) and then - with three additional texts - in 1838 in his Gedichte, an anthology of his poetry (pp. 434-46). Some more translations appeared in periodicals (see f. ex. Blätter zur Kunde 5, 1840, pp. 143-4) or added to the later editions of the Gedichte (see 10th ed., 1848, pp. 518-32 & 24th ed., 1868, pp. 345-55) but otherwise Freiligrath confined himself to these few pieces. 

But others followed soon and made available whole books of Burns' songs and poems translated into German. Philipp Kaufmann (1802-1846), another early pioneer, had already started in 1830 but his Gedichte von Robert Burns (at BSB & Internet Archive; see the review in Blätter zur Kunde 5, 1840, pp. 181-4) only appeared in 1839. A year later both Wilhelm Gerhard's Robert Burns' Gedichte, deutsch. Mit des Dichters Leben und erläuternden Bemerkungen (at BSB & Internet Archive; see the review in Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung 1840, No. 38 & 39, pp. 149-50 & 153-5) and Julius Heintze's Lieder und Balladen des Schotten Robert Burns (at BSB & Internet Archive) were published. In the early 1840s Robert Burns had become a household name in Germany and he remained so for the rest of the 19th century. 

Burns was read and Burns was also sung. Many of these translations were set to music, some multiple times. The first one was Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns whose Schottische Lieder und Gesänge came out in 1836 (at the Internet Archive). He used eight of Kaufmann's at that time unpublished translations. Many others would follow (s. f. ex. here in my blog), including Robert Schumann, who noted in a review in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (Vol. 16, 1842, No. 52, p. 207) that Burns was "the favorite poet of the current young composers". 

Burns' most popular and best known song in Germany surely was "My Heart's in the Highlands"or "Mein Herz ist im Hochland". The original version appeared first in 1790 in the third volume of the Scots Musical Museum (No. 259, p. 268). We know that the text is partly based on an obscure older ballad, "The Strong Walls of Derry". Burns once noted that "the first half-stanza of this song is old, the rest is mine" (see Pittock, pp. 83-4; McGuirk, pp. 110-16, Graham III, 1848, pp. 114-5). This means, he didn't even write the key-line himself. But he made it his own and since then this particular phrase has always been connected to him: 
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands, a chasing the deer;
A chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands, a chasing the deer;
A chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go. 
"My Heart's in the Highland" was regularly reprinted and of course we can find the original text in all editions of Burns' works, for example Cromek's Reliques of Robert Burns (1808 , p. 276), Currie's Poetical Works of Robert Burns, The Ayrshire Bard (here New Edition 1826, p. 138) and Cunningham's The Works of Robert Burns. With His Life (IV, 1834, pp. 145-6). Besides that the song appeared in musical anthologies like Napier's Selection of Original Scots Songs (II, 1792, p. 78) and R. A. Smith's Scotish Minstrel (IV, c.1823, p. 4). Copies of some of the early publications may have reached Germany but it took a while until this particular song was taken note of. 



Many German readers must have seen it first in translations of Sir Walter Scott's Waverly where one verse was quoted (see f. ex., 1825, p. 273). The earliest translation of the complete text appeared already in 1826 in Vermischte Gedichte und Übersetzungen (p. 120), an anthology of poetry by orientalist Peter von Bohlen (1796-1840; ; see here in my blog), an admirer of Burns since his youth . But this was a rather obscure publication and his attempt was quickly forgotten. 

The original words of the song were made available in Germany in Wagner's edition in 1835 (p. 207). "Mein Herz ist im Hochland" was among Kaufmann's unpublished texts used by composer Jähns in 1836 in his Schottische Lieder und Gesänge (here Heft 2, No. 1, pp. 2-3). But the most popular and best known German text would be the one by Ferdinand Freilingrath. It was among the translations published in the Blätter zur Kunde der Literatur des Auslandes in February 1836 (here p. 13) and then in 1838 in the first edition of his Gedichte (p. 443): 
Mein Herz ist im Hochland, mein Herz ist nicht hier!
Mein Herz ist im Hochland im wald´gen Revier.
Da jag´ ich das Rothwild, da folg´ ich dem Reh
Mein Herz ist im Hochland, wo immer ich geh'.

Mein Norden, mein Hochland, lebt wohl, ich muss ziehn!
Du Wiege von allem, was stark und was kühn!
Doch wo ich auch wandre und wo ich auch bin,
Nach den Hügeln des Hochlands steht allzeit mein Sinn!

Lebt wohl, ihr Gebirge, mit Häuptern voll Schnee,
Ihr Schluchten, ihr Täler, du schäumender See,
Ihr Wälder, ihr Klippen, so grau und bemoost,
Ihr Ströme, die zornig durch Felsen ihr tost!

Mein Herz ist im Hochland, mein Herz ist nicht hier!
Mein Herz ist im Hochland, im wald'gen Revier.
Da jag' ich das Rothwild, da folg' ich dem Reh,
Mein Herz ist im Hochland, wo immer ich geh'. 
Kaufmann's version was published again in 1839 in his Gedichte von Robert Burns (pp. 5-6) and then both Gerhard (p. 126) and Heintze (p. 118) translated the song for their anthologies. At this point five German texts were available and some more would follow in later years. But to be true they are all not much different from each other. Burns' text more or less translated itself. 

"Mein Herz ist ist im Hochland" was particularly popular as a song. It became a favorite of German composers of Lieder. Jähns was only the first one. Many others set one of the available translations to new music. Until 1842 at least 13 settings followed (see here in my blog), for example by Heinrich Marschner (Lieder nach Robert Burns von F. Freiligrath, op.103, 1839, No. 6, pp. 12-13), Friedrich Kücken (Drei Duette für Gesang mit Begleitung des Pianoforte, op. 30, 1840, No. 2), Robert Schumann (Myrthen, op. 25, 1840, Heft 3, No. 13, pp. 2-3) and Carl Krebs (Mein Herz ist im Hochland. Lied für eine Singstimme mit obligater Pianoforte-Begleitung, op. 73, 1840, at the Internet Archive; see here in my blog). Many more appeared during the following decades. All in all I have counted more than 60 settings published between 1836 and 1899 (with the help of Hofmeister XIX; Fleischhack 1990, pp. 68-73). 

But "Mein Herz ist im Hochland" also became a popular Volkslied but never with the original tune from the Scots Musical Museum. The first one was Friedrich Silcher from Tübingen in 1837. He combined Freiligrath's translation with a melody from Thomas Moore's Popular National Airs. This version was published in his Ausländische Volksmelodien (Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 1). Later others like Ludwig Erk used different tunes (see here in my blog). The song was a standard for choirs and was then also included in many anthologies for schools. In fact even the children in Germany sang Burns' farewell-song to the highlands. At least until the first decades of the 20th century it was among the songs - nearly - everybody knew. 

The song's appeal is not that difficult to understand. It sounded like a nostalgic home song and this genre was immensely popular in Germany at that time. Especially since the 1830s songs of this type were also imported from Britain and France and they were equally successful. One may look for example at Silcher's Ausländische Volksmelodien (1835-41). Here we can also find German versions of "Home, Sweet Home", Bérat's "Ma Normandie", Guttinguer's "La Suissesse au Bord du Lac" and - from Scandinavia - "Danmark, Deilig Vang og Vænge" (II, p. 4 & p. 14; III, p. 2; IV, p. 9). These are all songs celebrating Heimat, to use the German term. Burns' "My Heart's in the Highlands" fit well into this context. 


III

"Mein Herz ist am Rheine" was first printed in December 1840 in a newspaper, the Kölnische Zeitung (s. Luchtenberg I, p. 403, n. 13) and then - as mentioned above - in Junge Lieder, Müller's first anthology of poems that was published in Düsseldorf early in 1840 (No. XXX, pp. 49-50). This collection was dedicated to three of his literary friends: Ferdinand Freiligrath, Christian Matzerath and Karl Simrock. He received a fee of 50 Taler. 



This was a collection of older and more recent pieces. But it is not clear when exactly he wrote this particular poem. In summer 1840 Müller had returned from Berlin where had spent a year to complete his studies and graduate in medicine. Now he did his compulsory military service and worked in Düsseldorf as a surgeon for the Prussian army. But he still had time to cultivate his literary and cultural interests and kept on writing. 

Just like other poets at that time Müller was familiar with Robert Burns' works. Already as a student in Bonn he had begun to learn English, became interested in literature from Britain, sought contact with British families living in Bonn and started translating Burns - his "favourite" -, Moore and others. Freiligrath became a friend of his in 1837. He knew and enjoyed his translations and in a letter offered to send him the tunes of these songs. In fact he had borrowed some volumes of a songbook - "eine köstliche Sammlung ihrer Volkslieder mit Melodien" - from a Scottish family (see Luchtenberg I, pp. 63, 66, 85, 139 157, 184). A few of Müller's own translations would appear in 1842 in his second anthology, the Balladen und Romanzen (here pp. 127-32). 

At that time "Mein Herz ist im Hochland" was something like a song of the day. As mentioned above five translations were already available and at least 8 musical versions had been published until 1840. Therefore his readers would be able to understand the reference to Burns. But interestingly this wasn't a simple copy of the original. Not much was left of Burns' words. The key line remained: "Wo ich bin, wo ich geh', mein Herz ist am Rhein". And of course this also an enthusiastic celebration of a landscape and the people living there. Burns had written a nostalgic farewell-song: someone banished from home who knows there will be no return. Müller's poem sounds like someone who looking forward to coming home soon. It is much more optimistic. 

His words are closer to another Rhine-poem from that time: the "Lied vom Rhein" by his friend Christian Matzerath (see Stendal, pp. 17-20, p. 33): 
Mein Heimatland, o du herrlicher Rhein!
Du Perle des Westens, grüngoldige Flut.
Deine Männer sind stark, deine Frauen sind gut,
O selige Wonne dein Kind zu sein.

Wie blauet der Himmel so tief und so klar,
Wie wallet in goldenen Ähren das Land.
Von den Hügeln zu Tal, an der Ebene Rand,
Wie schwillst du von Segen so wunderbar.

[...] 
Matzerath (1815-1876; see Deutsche Biographie), a jurist and part-time poet, wrote it in 1838 (see the reprint in his Nachgelassene Gedichte, 1877, p. 23). Müller's poem looks as if his older friend's words had served as a kind of template and in some lines he is clearly paraphrasing. But his text reads more like a friendly tribute than a plain copy. In fact it was not only a pastiche of Burns' song. With his references to Matzerath's piece he also acknowledged the long and already time-honored tradition of popular Rhine-poetry. 

At that time the Rhine had been a favorite subject of of poets and painters for half a century (see Kiewitz 2003). But when Müller wrote and published his contribution to this genre it took on an additional meaning. It was the year of the so-called Rhine-crisis (see Cepl-Kaufmann, pp. 168-180; Wikipedia). The French Government laid claim to the Left Bank of the Rhine and that led to heated reactions in Germany. Many poets felt it necessary to raise their voice (see Kiewitz, pp. 192-202). Nicolaus Becker's wildly successful "Sie sollen ihn nicht haben den freien deutschen Rhein" was sung everywhere and Max Schneckenburger wrote the infamous "Die Wacht am Rhein" ("Es braust ein Ruf wie Donnerhall"). In this context even an apolitical-sounding home song obtained a political overtone. No matter if it was intended or not, both the author and the readers were of course aware of what was happening at that time.

Müller's Junge Lieder was well received by the critics and the reviews were mostly positive. "Mein Herz ist am Rhein" nearly always received special praise and its relationship to Burns' song was also acknowledged (see f. ex. Athenaeum 1, 1841, p. 443; Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung 2, 1842, p. 486). One critic praised it as a "successful emulation of Burns' well-known poem" (Deutsche Jahrbücher für Wissenschaft und Kunst 5, 1842, p. 315). Even in later years Müller's reference to Burns was regularly mentioned by literature historians and anthologists who commented on this poem (s. f. ex. Hub 1874, p. 263).
It was surely the most successful piece from the Junge Lieder and would be reprinted regularly during the next decades: at first in Müller's own publications like the Rheinbuch (1855, bef. p. 1) and his collected works, the Dichtungen eines Rheinischen Poeten (here 4th ed., 1871, Vol. 1, p. 3) but then also in periodicals, for example in the Illustriertes Unterhaltungsblatt (1876, p. 204), in anthologies like Stern's Fünfzig Jahre deutscher Dichtung (1877, p. 885) and in collections of Rhine songs like this little booklet from the turn of the century, a souvenir by a wine tavern in Berlin (at the Internet Archive): 


IV. 

In Germany the 19th century was the era of the Lied. Composers set to music all kinds of poetry, both translations - like Burns' songs - and original German texts. Interesting new anthologies by both major and minor poets were always welcome. This was also the case with Müller's works. His poems sounded mostly quite simple and they had a certain formulaic quality (see Loos 1989, p. 118). A considerable number of them were provided with melodies by contemporary composers (see Luchtenberg I, pp. 158-9; II, pp. 497-507). 

The Junge Lieder were particularly successful in this respect. Müller himself later noted: "Die Musiker fielen wie toll über die sangbaren Lieder her" (Luchtenberg I, p. 159). Heinrich Marschner, for example, seems to have been very fond of these texts: Between 1842 and 1845 he published four volumes with 21 songs taken from Müller's anthology (op. 118, 123, 126 129; see Bibliographie Marschner, at Lied-Portal, GMG). "Mein Herz ist am Rheine" was already included in an earlier publication of seven Lieder, with the texts otherwise mostly by Friedrich Rückert (op. 115, 1842, No. 7, pp. 21-3, at SLUB). 

In fact the Rhine-poem turned out to be the most popular piece from his collection among German composers. This text was set to music at least 15 times since 1842 (s. Luchtenberg I, p. 158; II, p. 499). Interestingly the most successful version would be not Marschner's nor any of the others but the one by Wilhelm Speyer (1790-1878; see Wikipedia; see Speyer 1925), an immensely productive and popular composer of Lieder. It's not clear why he selected this poem. It was the only one of Müller's works that he used and otherwise Speyer himself didn't have much to do with the Rhine. He lived and worked in Frankfurt. Nonetheless he composed a spirited and catchy tune that was singable for amateurs but also - as will be seen - rewarding for professionals: 


His setting (see the ms. at SB Berlin) was first published in December 1842 as "Rhein-Sehnsucht" in Orpheon. Album für Gesang mit Pianoforte (Göpel, Stuttgart, No. 11, pp. 24-5; see Hofmeister 1842, p. 199). This was one of the popular anthologies compiled by composer Thomas Täglichsbeck (1799-1867; see here in my blog) for publisher Göpel. They made available comparatively inexpensive collections of songs of all kinds for the growing number of amateur and home musicians. The series Orpheon offered new and formerly unpublished original contributions by many well-known and popular composers. In this case the publisher struck gold and secured himself a song that would become one of Speyer's most successful. 



In 1846 the "Rhein-Sehnsucht" was also included in an edition of Orpheum with arrangements for guitar (No. 5, pp. 8-9; see Hofmeister 1846, p. 115) and the same year the song appeared as regular sheet music together with two other pieces in Speyer's 3 Lieder für Sopran oder Tenor (op. 42, Göpel, Stuttgart, 1846, see Hofmeister 1846, p. 203). It was also published in Austria (Diabelli, Wien, n. d., see ÖNB) as well as in Switzerland (Hegar, Basel, n. d., at the Internet Archive) and could be found in some anthologies, for example in Phoebus. Auswahl beliebter Opern-Arien und Gesänge mit leichter Guitarre-Begleitung (Niemeyer, Hamburg, 1850, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 2-3). 

By all accounts Speyer's "Rhein-Sehnsucht" became popular very quickly. Already in June 1844 the Allgemeine Wiener Musik-Zeitung (4, No. 74, 22.6.1844 p. 296) noted that it was known throughout Germany. One of the most famous singing stars of that time performed and promoted the song. Johann Baptist Pischek (1814-1873; see Wikipedia; Almanach 1876, pp. 58-64; Gänzl 2018, pp. 543-9) was regarded as one of the best singers in Germany, both on opera stage and even moreso as a performer of Lieder: "Als Liedersänger [...], ist Pischek ohne Nebenbuhler und darf den Rang als ersten der deutschen, vielleicht europäischen Sänger unbedingt beanspruchen" (AMZ 50, 1848, p. 759). He was from Bohemia but worked since 1840 in Frankfurt, Speyer's hometown where the composer had become his "friend and patron" (Almanach, p. 59). 

One newspaper noted - only two years after the song's first publication - that it had "attained immortality" thanks to Pischek (Frankfurter Konversationsblatt, No. 287, 16.10.1844, pp. 1160). The "Rhein-Sehnsucht" would be one of his most beloved standards and he sang it until the end of his career. Poet Müller later reported that he once met the singer who then "fell around his neck on the street and admitted that he had made many thousands with this song" (Luchtenberg I, p. 159) which, by the way, was much more than Müller himself had ever earned with this poem. 

The song remained popular for the next decades. It was sung "everywhere" (AZ München, No. 122, 2.5.1857, Beilage, p. 1 [1952]). Müller claimed that Speyer's setting became a Volkslied and could be "heard in all taverns and on the streets" (Luchtenberg I, p. 159). The text was even occasionally printed on broadsides (see VD Lied Digital, c. 1863). But for some reason it never appeared - as far as I can see - in any of the numerous popular anthologies of Volkslieder for choirs or for schools. I found it a few times with other tunes but not with Speyer's. It would have fit there nicely besides "Mein Herz ist im Hochland" which was included in many of these collections. But perhaps the publisher managed to protect this work from this kind of - mostly illegal - utilization. Nonetheless it is clear that the "Rhein-Sehnsucht" was very popular during the second half of the 19th century (see f. ex. ZfM 93, 1926, p. 28). 


V. 

This song was not only a popular hit in Germany. It England it would be even more successful. It was singer Pischek who brought Speyer's "Rhein-Sehnsucht" to Britain. Just like many other musicians and singers from the continent he was invited to perform in London. The first visit from May to July 1845 (see Gänzl, pp. 545-7) left a deep impression on the the audiences there. Many years later impresario, writer and composer Thomas Willert Beale (1890, p. 186) still remembered his powerful singing: 
"Pischek sang and played [the songs] with a dash and brilliancy that astonished the British concert-goer. He was a good musician, with a mighty voice, knew what he was about on the pianoforte, and his success was genuine. When he first sang to me, 'Mein Herz ist am Rhein,' the sound was deafening. It made the window rattle; the pianoforte trembled with stentorian vibrations. It was the loudest singing I ever heard, before or since. Purely melodious, and thoroughly vocal, the singing was not shouting by any means, yet the volume of the sound produced was overpowering. In a large concert-room, or theatre, where his vocal cords could have full swing, Pischek was wonderfully effective". 
Wilhelm Kuhe, a German pianist who came to England together with Pischek but then stayed there for the rest of his life, noted that "his voice - a baritone - was so beautiful in quality, and the songs he introduced achieved so immediate a popularity, that engagements poured in by every post" (Kuhe 1896, p. 41). In fact this first trip across the channel was very lucrative. He became a "great attraction" (Ganzl, p. 547) and performed numerous times during his stay there. Of course Pischek would return to England during the following years. 

He left such an impression that some composers even wrote potpourris and fantasias of the songs he performed there. One W. Chalmers Masters published Recollections of Pischek. Fantasia for the Piano Forte (see Copac; Morning Chronicle, No. 23676, 15.9.1845, BNCN). Ignaz Moscheles, who lived in London at that time and had accompanied the singer in some concerts, offered Gems á la Pischek. A brilliant fantasia for the Piano Forte in which are introduced "My heart's on the Rhine" (op. 112, see Copac; German ed., Leipzig 1846, at SB Berlin). There where more of this kind (see also Copac) and most of them of course included the "Rhein-Sehnsucht". 

Pischek introduced this song first in a concert in London on May 7th where he appeared as a guest. The reviewer in The Atheneaum (No. 915, 10.5.1845, p. 469) noted that "the freshest and most taking thing of the morning's performance, was a Rhine-song, by Herrn Pischek, the newly arrived baritone" and praised his "superb voice, enthusiasm, and excellent musical feeling". There were reports about his great success even in the German press: 
"Am Schlusse der ersten Abteilung erschien Hr. Pischek,in schlichter Weise, und sang ein einfaches deutsches Lied: die 'Rhein-Sehnsucht' von Speyer, aber - mit welchem Erfolg! Kühn ist das Wort, wenn ich es ausspreche, und doch wahr: er gefiel damit unter Allen am meisten; das Publikum, enthusiasmiert, applaudierte stürmisch jede Strophe, und er - der Einzige von Allen - mußte, auf unablässiges Verlangen, sein Lied da Capo singen. Vortrefflich bei Stimme, wurde der Sänger nach diesem Vortrag [...] mit Lob und Ehre überhäuft" (Didaskalia. Blätter für Geist, Gemüth und Publizität, No. 138, 21.5.1845, [pp. 197-8]). 
Soon the "Rhein-Sehnsucht" was one of the "songs of the day" (Gänzl, p. 546). Pischek sang it regularly, for example at the Duchess of Kent's party on May 16th. The Queen and Prince Albert were present (Morning Chronicle No. 23574, 17.5.1845, BNCN). In July he even performed it at the Queen's own evening party (Morning Chronicle No. 23618, 8.7.1845, BNCN).

From: Morning Chronicle No. 23618, 8.7.1845, BNCN

Moscheles wrote in a letter to Speyer in August that year: "Pischek hat Furore in London gemacht, und mit ihm die 'Rheinsehnsucht'" (Speyer, p. 281). During the following year he kept on performing the song in England with great success (see f. ex. Athenaeum 1846, p. 530; Musical World 22, 1847, p. 231). Even Robert Browning raved about "the marvellous Pischek, with his Rhine songs" (Browning 1846, p. 130). 

One may wonder why a song about a German river became so popular in Britain. The Rhine was of course a special case. English travelers, painters and poets had played a major role in what is now called "Rheinromantik", the invention of the romanticized Rhine (see Discher 1972; see also f. ex. Der Rheinreisende). Lord Byron had written a poem about the Drachenfels, to name only one example. Many British tourists had already visited the Rhine. The most famous "tourist" at that time would be Queen Victoria (see Baur, at Rheinische Geschichte). In summer 1845 she came to Germany and traveled by ship from Bonn to Koblenz and then to Mainz. I should add that Pischek - back from England - was among the musicians and singers who performed for the Queen (see also Gänzl, p. 547). 

Pischeks wildly successful performances of Speier's "Rhein-Sehnsucht" and other German Lieder
From: The Musical World 20, No. 25, 19.6.1845, p. 298 (GB)
also encouraged the British music publishers to make available their own editions of these pieces. Already in June Cramer, Beale & Co. offered five of the "Songs and Arias sung by Herr Pischek, with an English Version" (The Musical World 20, No. 25, 19.6.1845, p. 298, also p. 309). The following month Addison & Hodson announced the publication of three songs from Pischek's repertoire (dto., No. 27, 3.7.1845, p. 324. "My Heart's on the Rhine", as it was usually called here, was of course included (at the Internet Archive):



Many more English editions would follow and every publisher commissioned a new translation of the original text. Addison & Hodson used one by G. F. Willis, that was not particularly good: 
My heart's on the Rhine in my own Fatherland,
Tho' weary I roam on a far distant strand;
There day after day still in happiness flew,
For friends they were faithful, and lovers were true.
I'll praise thee in song, and I'll praise thee in wine
Let me go where I will
My heart's my heart's on the Rhine, on the Rhine.

While slumbering often in fanciful dream,
Me thinks I revisit thy bright golden stream:
Thy towers and thy castles, thy vineyards I see,
Thy daughters so beauteous thy sons brave and free.
May love, joy and happiness ever be thine,
Let me go where I will
My heart's my heart's on the Rhine, on the Rhine. 
The "Rhein-Sehnsucht" also appeared as No. 310 in publisher Wessel's series of German songs (see Copac), as No. 11 in Deutsche Lyra. A Complete Collection of the Classical Songs of Germany by Jullien & Co. (see cover at at Spellman Collection) and also as No. 111 in the popular series Musical Bouquet (see Slatter, Catalogue). This version was of course also reprinted later in bound editions of The Musical Bouquet like Sixty Selected Popular Songs (n.d., pp. 14-5) and Three Hundred and Sixty Popular Songs and Ballads (c. 1875, pp. 14-5). The English text included here had not much to do with Müller's original poem. Instead it looks more like a very free adaptation: 
My heart's on the Rhine, the land I love best,
My heart's on the Rhine, dear to childhood's young breast,
The hours of my boyhood were blithsome and gay.
My heart everlighted by joy's golden ray,
My youth seem'd a vision of pleasure, a dream.
Bright valley, blue mountain,gay flow'ret and stream,
And tho' absent from home, the remembrance is mine,
My heart, my heart, yes, my heart's on the Rhine.

The bright orb of day changing mist into morn,
Brought freshly the flowers my cot to adorn;
Whilst the glittering waters of streamlet and rill,
Reflected his rays on the old watermill.
Fond scene of my boyhood, how sadly I pine,
To behold thee again!
My heart, my heart, oh! my heart's on the Rhine.

My heart's on the Rhine, the true land of mirth,
My heart's on the Rhine, the scene of my birth;
Those scenes when reflected so clear to my mind,
Bring nought and regret that I left them behind,
For there with loved faces I wander'd and play'd,
And 'long thy lov'd waters I cheerfully stray'd,
And forever thy banks and thy waters are mine,
My heart, my heart, yes! my heart's on the Rhine.
All in all 17 editions of the song were published in England. At least this was claimed by Speyer's son who did some research (see Speyer 1925, p. 443). One version was even reprinted in the USA by Ditson in Boston (c. 1850, at Hathi Trust), also with Pischek's name on the cover even though he never made it there. The text used here - by an unnamed translator - looks a little bit better than the others I know. 

"My Heart's on the Rhine" can also be found in several songbooks, for example in the Vocalists Companion. A Choice Collection of Popular Songs with Music, Original and Selected (Glasgow, c. 1850, p. 22), an anthology for the use in "Schools and Public Institutions", and in Davidson's Universal Melodist (1853, Vol. 1, p. 4), both again with different translations. And of course it was included in songsters like Diprose's National Song Book ( c.1851 , p. 224) and Miller's New British Songster (1853, p. 214). In the latter the text from Davidson's edition was reprinted. 

The English translations of this song were mostly of very dubious quality. I wonder if poet Wolfgang Müller has seen any of these texts. Interestingly he was not given credit as the author of the original words in any of the British versions I have seen. Speyer as the composer and - on the early sheet music editions - Pischek as the performer were named. It seems that Müller remained more or less unknown in England. But perhaps some music fans knew Baskerville's The Poetry of Germany (1858) where both the German text and a better translation were included (pp. 314-5). 

It is clear that many in Britain were familiar with "My Heart's on the Rhine" and of course the it was also known in Scotland. As noted above the Vocalists Companion was published in Glasgow. But there is also an interesting reference in book with the title Heiress of the Blackburnfoot. A Tale of Rural Scottish Life that was published anonymously in 1865 (pp. 180-1, also p. 182): 
"[...] One tremendously wet night, I heard somebody singing wonderfully sweetly all through the night somewhere outside. It was a song, 'My Heart's on the Rhine,' we all learned long ago at the precentor's class. It brought back old times to me, he sang so sweetly. In the morning I found a poor, delicate-looking foreigner; he had made a bonfire, and was striving to keep himself up. He was the singer, a German". 
This his may serve an indication that the song was in fact even taught in school. Here it appeared as musical memory from the childhood. But what I don't know is if English or Scottish singers and readers were aware of the song's relationship to Burns. Maybe or maybe not. "My Heart's in the Highlands" was of course still well-known and popular in Britain at that time. But I haven't yet seen any references to this in British publications. 

Nonetheless we can close the circle here. This was a musical journey that had started in Scotland with "The Strong Walls of Derry" and Robert Burns' "My Heart's in the Highlands". Half a century later German poet Müller used this idea for a poem about the Rhine that was then set to music by composer Speyer. This song became a great hit in England and at the end it "returned" to Scotland where it was apparently even taught to the children in schools. 

But there is also another angle to this story that I find worth discussing. What do we know about 19th century musical and literary culture in Germany and Britain? Much of what was really popular back then is in many cases more or less forgotten today. Wolfgang Müller was a very popular poet during his lifetime. His many books were widely read. What is left of him today is a neglected memorial at the Rhine that most people wouldn't be able to identify. 

Composer Speyer wrote a considerable number of immensely successful songs but today his name is barely known and his songs are barely sung. "My Heart's on the Rhine" - nearly forgotten today - was clearly among the most popular songs during these years, particularly in England with apparently 17 (!) editions of sheet music. Johann Baptist Pischek happened to be one of the great international singing stars of that era, well-known and highly respected both in Germany and in England. But his name, just like many others from that time with a few exceptions like Jenny Lind's, quickly disappeared from our memory. 

This is even the case with Robert Burns. The "German" Burns from the second half of the 19th century - he was one of the most popular foreign poets in Germany at that time - fell more or less into oblivion after the turn of the century. Today he is only "rediscovered". But hardly anyone is aware of all these numerous translations and songs that were published since the 1830s. His popularity in Germany today is only a pale shadow of what it was back then. 

There is still a lot of work to be done to document what was sung and read during the 19th century and what the people really enjoyed. This is much different from what has survived until the present time or what today is regarded as representative of that era. 


Literature 
  • Almanach der Genossenschaft deutscher Bühnenangehöriger. Herausgegeben von Ernst Hettke, Königlicher Schauspieler und Regisseur in Cassel und dem Central-Bureau der Genossenschaft deutscher Bühnenangehöriger. 4. Jahrgang, Selbstverlag, Berlin, 1876, at Google Books 
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  • BNCN = 19th Century British Library Newspapers (Gale) 
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  • Kurt Gänzl, Victorian Vocalists, London & New York, 2018 
  • Gisela Discher, Ursprünge der Rheinromantik in England. Zur Geschichte der romantischen Ästhetik, Klostermann, Frankfurt/M., 1972 
  • G. F. Graham, The Songs of Scotland Adapted To Their Appropriate Melodies Arranged With Pianoforte Accompaniments By G. F. Graham, T. M. Muddle, J. T. Surenne, H. E. Dibdin, Finlay Dun, &c. Illustrated with Historical, Biographical, and Critical Notices, 3 Vols, Edinburgh, 1848-9, at the Internet Archive 
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  • Ignaz Hub, Deutschlands Balladen-Dichter und Lyriker der Gegenwart. Ein Hülfsbuch zur Wissenschaft der neuesten Literatur. Mit den Lebensabrissen und Charakteristiken der Dichter, auch einer Auswahl des Schönsten und Eigenthümlichsten aus ihren Werken, Bd. 4, Würzburg & Karlsruhe, 1874, at Google Books 
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  • Cecelia Hopkins Porter, The "Rheinlieder" Critics. A Case of Musical Nationalism, in: Musical Quarterly 63, 1977, pp. 77-98 
  • Frauke Reitmeier, "Nature's Poet" and Socialist Model: The Reception of Robert Burns in Germany, in: Murray Pittock (ed.), Robert Burns in Global Culture, Lanham & Plymouth, 2011, pp. 73-89 
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