Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sheet Music: "Robin Adair" by Eugen d'Albert (1899)

One of the most popular songs in 19th century Germany was surely "Robin Adair". First and foremost it was known as a so-called "Volkslied" with two different texts, "Treu und herzinniglich" by poet Wilhelm Gerhard and "Heimat, Ade!" by an unknown author. But there were also attempts at new translations and these translations were then set to music anew. 

For example one rather free adaptation was created by John Henry Mackay (1864-1933, see Wikipedia), a German poet of Scottish descent. This text was first published in 1888 in Fortgang. Der "Dichtungen" erste Folge. It can also be found in Gesammelte Dichtungen. Mit der Photogravüre des Dichters (Zürich & Leipzig [n. d.], p. 377, at the Internet Archive): 

Popular piano virtuoso and composer Eugen d'Albert (1864-1932, see Wikipedia), also born in Scotland, then set this poem to music in 1899:
  • Eugen d'Albert, Robin Adair, Gedicht von John Henry Mackay für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte (aus Op. 19 [Sechs Lieder für 1 Singstimme mit Pianoforte, deutsch und englisch, No, 2: Robin Adair: "Leise und wehmuthsvoll"), N. Simrock, Berlin 1899 (see Hofmeister XIX, April 1899, p. 170; September 1899, p. 426; pdf, my own scan)
The tune looks of course quite different from the original: 

   Your browser does not support embedded midi

Not at least the publisher added a new English text, a translation of Mackay's poem:
 Softly yet wearily,
Seeming for nought to care,
Sounded thy song to me,
"Robin Adair."

Softly yet wearily,
Sung by thy lips so so fair,
Echoing o'er the sea,
"Robin Adair."
In effect this has become a completely different song. Only the name "Robin Adair" has been retained but otherwise there was a different text as well as a new tune. But one may say that it has remained part of the song family. The connection to the original is still there.

See also on my website:
  • The code for the midi-player used here is c/o: The problem with midi - Note for webmasters ( Many thanks!

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