Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sheet Music: Carl Krebs, "Die süsse Bell", 1841 (Burns in Germany)

  • "Die süsse Bell". Gedichtet von dem Schotten Robert Burns. In Musik gesetzt Für eine Singstimme mit obligater Pianoforte-Begleitung und Fräulein Sophie Löwe Kön. Preuss. Kammersängerin zugeeignet von C. Krebs, Kapellmeister, Op. 90, Schuberth & Comp., Hamburg u. Leipzig, n. d. [1841], at the Internet Archive
 I have already mentioned a couple of times the great enthusiasm for Robert Burns in Germany that started in the late 1830s. A considerable amount of translations as well as a great number of new musical settings for these German adaptations were published until the end of the century (see again for the background: Selle 1981). Carl Krebs (1804-1880, see Fürstenau in ADB 17, 1883, pp. 99-100; also Christern 1850), Kapellmeister at the court in Dresden, was among the first composers to turn his attention to the germanized Burns.

It seems he found Wilhelm Gerhard's book of translations (Robert Burns' Gedichte, Leipzig 1840, available at BStB-DS & the Internet Archive) in a bookshop and was so fascinated by these texts that he "immersed himself in it at home at his piano" and then "created a significant series of songs" (this story from Christern 1850, p. 31, at BStB-DS). The first 9 were published in December 1840 (see the advert in the AMZ, Vol. 42, No. 52, p. 1078), among them "Mein Herz ist im Hochland" - translation not by Gerhard but by Ferdinand Freiligrath - which I have already discussed (see here). More would follow during the next couple of years (see Dupont 1971, p. 142-3).

"Die süsse Bell" was first announced in Hofmeisters Monatsberichten in April 1841 (p. 61). It is a German version of "My Bonie Bell" (see Scots Musical Museum, IV, 1792, No. 387, p. 401, at the Internet Archive):
The smiling spring comes in rejoicing,
And surly Winter grimly flies;
Now crystal clear are the falling waters,
And bonny blue are the sunny skies.
Fresh o'er the mountains breaks forth the morning,
The ev'ning gilds the Ocean's swell;
All Creatures joy in the sun's returning,
And I rejoice in my Bonie Bell.

The flowery Spring leads sunny Summer,
The yellow Autumn presses near,
Then in his turn comes gloomy Winter,
Till smiling Spring again appear.
Thus seasons dancing, life advancing,
Old Time and Nature their changes tell;
But never ranging, still unchanging,
I adore my Bonie Bell.
 Krebs used the translation included in Wilhelm Gerhard's book (No. 116, p. 203):
Der Frühling kehret lächelnd wieder;
Der eisig grimme Winter flieht;
Das Bächlein rinnt, und bunt Gefieder
Melodisch froh den Wald durchzieht.
Wie mild die Luft! wie sinkt die Sonne
In Purpurglanz dem Meere zu!
Du, Frühling, schenkst uns solche Wonne:
Mir, süße Bell, den Himmel du!

Der Lenz verblüht, des Sommers Farben
Verweht des Herbstes kühlre Luft,
Und Schnee bedeckt das Feld der Garben,
Bis wiederkehrt der Blume Duft.
So tanzt das Jahr; vorüber schweben
Die Bilder wechselvoller Zeit:
Doch, süße Bell, mit Seel' und Leben
Bleib' ich im Wechsel dir geweiht!
 It is also interesting to have a look at his new tune:

Christern in his little biographical work about Carl Krebs claimed that this was the best of the series (p. 31, at BStB-DS) and it also may have been the most popular because it was published again several times - sometimes in new arrangements - during the coming years (see Hofmeister XIX, October 1841, p. 157, December 1841, p. 182, November 1842, p. 170, December 1844, p. 190, December 1848, p. 189).

  • [J. W.] Christern, Carl Krebs, als Mensch, Componist und Dirigent. Eine biographisch-musikalische Studie, Hamburg & New York 1850 (available at BStB-DS)
  • Wilhelm Dupont, Werkausgaben Nürnberger Komponisten in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, Nürnberg 1971
  • Moritz Fürstenau, Art. Krebs, Karl August, in ADB 17, 1883, pp. 99-100 (available at BStB-DS)
  • Rosemary Anne Selle, The Parritch and the Partridge: The Reception of Robert Burns in Germany. A History, 2 Vols, Phil. Diss., Heidelberg 1981 (now available as: 2nd Revised and Augmented Edition, Frankfurt/M. 2013)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Old ([this time:] Swiss) Songbooks, No. 13: Ignaz Heim, Sammlung von Volksgesängen für den Männerchor (1863)

  • [Ignaz Heim (ed.)] Sammlung von Volksgesängen für den Männerchor. Herausgegeben von einer Kommission der zürcherischen Schulsynode, unter Redaktion von I. Heim. Zehnte, vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage. Fünfte Stereotyp-Ausgabe, Zürich, Fries & Holzmann, 1863
    Now available at the Internet Archive (my own scan of a book from my collection)
Ignaz Heim (1818-1880; see ADB 50, 1905, pp. 133-5, at BStB-DS; a short summary at Wikipedia) was one of the mainstays of the Swiss music scene for several decades. He made himself a name as a choirmaster, composer and editor of songbooks for choirs. I have already discussed one of his publications, the first volume of Neue Volksgesänge für den Männerchor (1863) (see No. 3 of this series, in this blog). The songbook presented here was another of his immensely popular collections of arrangements for Männergesangvereine. 

I have the 10th edition of this Sammlung von Volksgesängen - "expanded and improved" - that was published in 1863. According to the article in the ADB (p. 134) the first edition of the Sammlung von Volksgesängen had come out the previous year. That means that there were at least 10 editions of this book in the course of one year. This collection remained on the market for several decades. The 119th edition was published in 1897. 

What kind of songs does this book contain? The terms "Volksgesang" and "Volkslied" should not be confused with what we understand today as "folk songs" in the narrow sense. At that time all kinds of "simple" songs for the people, songs to sing at home or in amateur choirs, were regarded as "Volkslieder". Therefore we can find here numerous pieces by popular composers, for example 15 pieces by Friedrich Silcher as well as some by Abt, Nägeli, Mendelssohn, Marschner, Schumann, to name just a few. 

I am particularly interested in foreign songs that became popular in the German speaking countries during the 19th centuries. There are not much of these kind of songs in this volume. But at least the editor included a German version of Robert Burns' "My Heart's In The Highlands" ("Mein Herz ist im Hochland", No. 188, pp. 334-5). He used the well known translation by Ferdinand Freiligrath but the tune is different from all the the other variants of this song published in Germany. It is described as "Volksweise" but Heim didn't name the source. I haven't yet found this melody in any other earlier publication and I would not be surprised if he had simply written it himself and then passed of as a "folk tune". These kind of methods were not uncommon at that time:
  Your browser does not support embedded midi

Saturday, July 5, 2014

German Versions of "Eileen Aroon" (1874/1885)

I have already written quite a lot about the great popularity of the British song "Robin Adair" in 19th- and early 20th-century Germany (see my text on But what I wasn't aware of until recently was that it's partner piece "Eileen Aroon" also was translated into German language and subsequently set to music by at least three composers. I only learned that when reading Ernst Fleischhack's bibliography of musical settings of Ferdinand Freiligrath's poems and translations (Freiligrath's Gedichte in Lied und Ton, Bielefeld 1990, here p. 60). 

The indefatigable Freiligrath (1810-1876) was at that time one of the most important and influential mediators of English language poetry and song lyrics. Composers loved his adaptations - especially those of Robert Burns' and Thomas Moore's songs - and supplied them with new tunes. According to Fleischhack (p. 18) 71 of his translations were set to music a total of 425 times.

His "Eileen-A-Roon" - described as "Irisches Volkslied" - was published in Zwischen den Garben. Eine Nachlese älterer Gedichte (Stuttgart & Tübingen 1849, pp. 182-3, at BStB-DS) and the title of this interesting collection of poems and translations suggests that it may have been written earlier.
Stets will ich lieben dich,
Segnen dich ewiglich,
O für dich eilt' ich gern
Irland durch, nah und fern,
Hoffnung mein Licht, mein Stern,

O wie gewinn' ich dich,
Sag', o wie minn' ich dich,
Gern ohne Rast und Ruh'
Zög' ich der Ferne zu,
Würdest mein Hausweib du,

Drum, willst Du ziehn mit mir,
Sag', aber bleibst du hier,
Nein, ich bin dein, bin dein!
Ziehe mit dir allein!
Einzig dein Lieb soll sein

Heil hundertausendmal,
Heil dir ohn' Maß und Zahl,
Heil und Willkommen froh,
Jetzt und für immer so,
Bis Lieb' und Leben floh,
 The original English language text is quite easy to find, even though Freiligrath for some reason preferred not to mention the source. It is poet Thomas Furlong's translation of an Irish text that was published in 1831 by James Hardiman in his Irish Minstrelsy, Or: Bardic Remains Of Ireland With English Poetical Translations (pp. 265-7):
I love thee evermore,
Eileen a Roon!
I'll bless thee o'er and o'er,
Eileen a Roon!
Oh! for thy sake I'll tread,
Where the plains of Mayo spread;
By hope still fondly led,
Eileen a Roon!

Oh! how may I gain thee?
Eileen a roon!
Shall feasting entertain thee?
Eileen a Roon!
I would range the world wide,
With love alone to guide,
To win thee for my bride,
Eileen a Roon!

Then wilt thou come away?
Eileen a roon!
Oh! wilt thou come or stay?
Eileen a Roon!
Oh yes! oh Yes! with thee
I will wander far and free,
And thy only love shall be,
Eileen a Roon!

A hundred thousand welcomes,
Eileen a Roon!
A hundred thousand welcomes,
Eileen a Roon!
Oh! welcome evermore,
With welcomes yet in store,
Till love and life are o'er,
Eileen a Roon!
Hardiman had called this text the "Old Eileen Aroon" and his notes (p. 328) somewhat suggest that "the original and sweetly simple song of Eileen a roon" was at that time already a couple of hundred years old, at least older than the other version in his book (on p. 211) which is described as "the production of a Munster bard, of a seventeenth century" (p. 328). But there is no evidence for these claims and at the moment I still don't know where Hardiman had found the two original Irish texts. 

I wonder if Freiligrath had a copy of Hardiman's book. It is not listed in the Verzeichniss of his library (available at the Internet Archive) that was put together after his death. But as far as I know Furlong's translation hadn't been published anywhere else up to that point. 

Three composers have set Freiligrath's text to music:
  • Heinrich Bellermann, Sechs Lieder für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte : op. 18, No. 5, "Stets will ich lieben dich", Berlin, Trautwein, n. d. [1871, see Hofmeister XIX; only extant copy at Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Universität Hamburg, II Bel-3 G 1.1 ]
  • Carl Banck, 24 Lieder und Gesänge für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte, op. 70, No. 9: Eileen a Roon („Stets will ich lieben dich“), Leipzig, Kistner, n. d. [1874, see Hofmeister XIX; only extant copy at Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, Universität Heidelberg, N 91::9]
  • Eusebius Mandyczewski, Lieder und Gesänge für gemischten Chor, Op. 8, Heft 1, No 1. Eileen-a-Roon. Irisches Volkslied, Wien, Rebay & Robitschek, n. d. [1885, s. Hofmeister XIX, only extant copy at ÖNB, Wien, MS83074-4°]
Unfortunately I couldn't get Bellermann's version but was glad to receive copies of the other two. Carl Banck (1809-1889, see H. A. Lier in ADB 46, Leipzig 1902, pp. 199-202, at BStB-DS; see also Wikipedia), composer, mostly of songs, and music critic, published this collection in 1874. It was one of his late works. These 24 songs are mostly settings of German poems, some of them by Mörike and Heine. But he also included a Lithuanian and a Danish "Volkslied". His tune for "Eileen-a-roon" sounds of course in no way like the original Irish melody: 

   Your browser does not support embedded midi 

Eusebius Mandyczewski (1857-1929; see M. Handlos in: NDB 16, Berlin 1990, pp. 20, at BStB-DS; see also Wikipedia), a composer and scholar from Romania living in Vienna, included his setting of Freiligrath's "Eileen-a-roon" in one of his earliest works. This collection is not that dissimilar from Banck's. He also used mostly German language poems - here for example by Körner, Geibel and Rückert - but also two translations of foreign songs, in this case both by Burns. All of them were arranged for a mixed choir. Here is the soprano voice of his arrangement:
  Your browser does not support embedded midi

  • I wish to thank the Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, Universität Heidelberg for sending me a copy of Banck's work. And I also wish to thank the professional scanning service of the ÖNB, Wien, for supplying me with a copy of Mandyczewski's collection.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Old German Songbooks, No. 12: English and French Songs for Schools (1911/12)

What kind of songs did the German children sing in school in the early 20th century? Mostly so-called "Volkslieder", of course a lot of patriotic ditties as well as some religious songs. But besides these they also learned a number of foreign songs, especially from Britain and even the USA, with German texts. We can take for example a look at one popular collection:
  • Simon Breu, Deutsches Jugendliederbuch für Gymnasien, Oberrealschulen, Realschulen und andere höhere Lehranstalten, 2. Auflage, Essen & Würzburg 1909
    Available at the Internet Archive
Here we can find German language versions of "Robin Adair", "My Heart's In The Highlands", "Home, Sweet Home", "The Blue Bells of Scotland" and "Long, Long Ago" (pp. 52, 60, 63, 64 , 74). These are the common standards - mostly British popular hits - that had been adapted in the German speaking countries during the 19th century, in case of Burns' "My Heart's in the Highlands" even with a new tune. They can be found in numerous songbooks of all kinds and one may say that they had become an integral part of German musical culture.
But at some point teachers came up with the obvious idea that the pupils could also sing original British songs to help them learn the language. A nice example is an instruction book for English first published in 1894 and then in use at least until 1921 (see DNB 573880719):
  • Schmidt, Ferdinand: Lehrbuch der englischen Sprache auf Grundlage der Anschauung, 4. Auflage, Bielefeld & Leipzig 1899, pp. 309-327 (available at ULB Münster, Digitale Sammlungen, urn:nbn:de:hbz:6:1-80447)
A chapter of nearly 20 pages includes a handful of popular songs from the British Isles like "Robin Adair", "The Last Rose Of Summer", "Home, Sweet Home" and "John Anderson My Jo". But there were also complete books of foreign songs for educational purposes. Here are two of them, both first published between 1909 and 1912:
  • Karl Irmer, Sammlung französischer und englischer Lieder für den Schulgebrauch. Zweite Auflage (3.-5. Tausend), N. G. Elwertsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Marburg 1911 (first published 1909)
    Available at the Internet Archive
  • F. Simon & J. Stockhaus, Französische und Englische Volkslieder für den Schulgebrauch. Ergänzung zu Stockhaus "Der Schulgesang", Verlag von Moritz Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main 1912
    Available at the Internet Archive
Irmer noted in his preface that "the idea to use foreign folk tunes for the teaching of modern languages is getting more and more popular among experts" (p. 4). He was the co-author of an instructional book for French (see Google Books) and - according to the title page of his collection - the headmaster of a school in Silesia. Julius Stockhaus had already published a music book for schools and his Französische und Englische Volkslieder were intended als supplement to that work. He and Simon claimed in their introductory notes that only the real folk songs ["das echte, im Volke lebende Lied"] should be used in school "weil es allein geeignet ist, in den Geist und die Gefühlswelt des fremden Volkes einzuführen".

I can't say anything about the French songs in these collections. But the selection of British "folk tunes" is quite interesting. Both offered of course partly the same pieces, among them most of the popular standards from the 19th century like "The Last Rose of Summer", "Home, Sweet Home", "My Heart's in The Highlands", "Auld Lang Syne", "The Minstrel Boy", "Rule Britannia" and "Ye Mariners of England". Simon and Stockhaus also included "Robin Adair", "Long, Long Ago" and even the "Roastbeef of Old England".