Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Des Sommers letzte Rose" - Thomas Moore's "'Tis The Last Rose Of Summer" in Germany

At the moment I mostly interested in British songs that became popular in Germany during the 19th century. There were five of them that seem to have been particularly widespread. We can find them - as "Volkslieder" - in numerous songbooks of all kinds, with different sets of German words and also sometimes with different tunes. There was "Robin Adair" - I have already written at length about it (see my text on JustAnotherTune) -, Robert Burns' "My Heart's In The Highlands" - see a couple of texts in this blog -, "Long, Long Ago" (see now the text on JustAnotherTune), "Home, Sweet Home" and - perhaps the most successful of them all - Thomas Moore's "'Tis The Last Rose Of Summer". 

A look into Hofmeisters Monatsberichte (via Hofmeister XIX) shows that German versions of the latter - usually called "Irisches Volkslied" - with titles like "Letzte Rose" or "Des Sommers letzte Rose" were published numerous times as sheet music since the late 1840s. A nice early example is an edition by Schott from c. 1849 (available at the Internet Archive):

But it also appeared in many songbooks, for example in a choral arrangement in Ludwig Stark's Stimmen der Heimat (1868, here No. 19, pp. 34-5 in the 2nd edition, 1878), with piano accompaniment in Ludwig Erk's Volkslieder-Album (1872, No. 43, p. 43 ) as well as in song collections for schools like Volckmar's & Zanger's Deutsche [sic!] Lieder für Schule, Haus und Leben (1880, Heft 3, No. 88, pp. 87-8) or Liederbuch für preußische Volkschulen (5th ed., 1882, No. 60, p. 36, all at the Internet Archive):

In fact in 1899 it was noted that "today even the farmhand and the peasant girl knows" this song (Fleischer 1899, p. 6, at the Internet Archive). How and when did "The Last Rose of Summer" migrate to Germany? That was a longer, somehow complex process that took some time. In this case it needed three attempts before it became established as a standard. 

Moore's song was first published in 1813 in the 5th Number of his Selection of Irish Melodies (pp. 16-21, at the Internet Archive):

'Tis the last rose of summer, left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes or give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping, go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow, when friendships decay,
And from Love's shining circle the gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered, and fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit this bleak world alone?
In Britain it was surely the "most well-known" song of this collection (see Scott 2001, Ch. 1c, at The Victorian Web). But Thomas Moore became also very popular in Germany early on - unlike Burns who was only rediscovered since the mid-30s - and therefore tune and text of "The Last Rose of Summer" found its way here very quickly.

Beethoven wrote variations (Six Themes Varies, op. 105, 1819, No. 4, at Beethoven-Haus, Bonn) but for some reason here it was called Air Ecossais, "Scottish tune". Translations were also published, for example by Friedrich Johann Jacobsen in 1820 in his influentual Briefe an eine deutsche Edelfrau über die neuesten englischen Dichter (p. 536) and by an unknown author in Iris. Unterhaltungsblatt für Kunst, Literatur und Poesie (No. 69, 1.9.1822, p. 269). Another translation by Sophie Gräfin von Steinhardt was set to music by composer Emilie Zumsteeg in 1829 (in 6 Lieder mit Pianoforte, op. 5, see Hofmeister, September, October 1929, p. 83 and the text at LiederNet).

But it took more than two decades before it was adapted as a "Volkslied", at first by Friedrich Silcher in his Ausländische Volksmelodien in 1835 ("Des Sommers letzte Rose", in: Heft 1, No. 2, p. 3):

 Silcher, Musikdirektor at the university in Tübingen and one of the most successful promoters of the "Volkslied"-genre, was fascinated with songs from other countries and his collection with altogether 41 pieces in four booklets first published between 1835 and 1841 seems to have been particularly popular. It was reprinted and republished several times (see for example a later edition, ca. 1870, at the Internet Archive; see also Bopp 1915, p. 101-104).

The text used here by Silcher was written by his friend Hermann Kurtz, a Swabian poet and a relative of his wife who supplied him with more translations - not only of Moore's works - for this project. It was then also published the following year in Kurtz's own collection Gedichte (Stuttgart 1836, p. 199, at the Internet Archive):
Des Sommers letzte Rose blüht hier noch allein:
Verwelkt sind der Gespielen holdlächelnde Reih’n.
Ach es blieb keine Schwester, keine Knospe zurück,
Mit erwiederndem Seufzer, mit erröthendem Blick.

Ich will nicht, Verlassne, so einsam dich seh’n:
Wo die Lieblichen schlummern, darfst auch du schlafen geh’n.
Und freundlich zerstreu’ ich deine Blätter über’s Beet,
Wo die Düfte, wo die Blätter deiner Lieben sind verweht.

So schnell möcht’ ich folgen, wenn Freundschaft sich trübt,
Und der Kranz süsser Liebe seine Perlen verstiebt.
Wenn Theure verschwinden, manch treues Herz zerfällt,
Wer möcht’ allein bewohnen diese nächtliche Welt?
In 1837 famous English soprano Clara Novello came to Germany and performed here with great success. A part of her repertoire were English, Scottish and Irish National Airs - what was called "Volkslieder" in Germany - and those were especially popular with her audiences (see f. ex. AMZ 40, 17.1.1838, p. 49, NZM 8, 27.2.1838, pp. 66-68, NZM 8, 19.1.1838, p. 24). She also sang "'Tis The Last Rose of Summer" and it was published as sheet music together with other songs of this type she had performed:
  • No. 1: Die Letzte Rose, in: Irische Volkslieder, gesungen von Miss Clara Novello, und ihr verehrungsvoll gewidmet, Wunder, Leipzig, n. d. (see Hofmeister XIX, März 1838, p. 46)
It is not clear if she sang it in German or in English but in this publication another German translation - different from the one by Kurtz - was used:
Letzte Rose, die einsam im Sommer noch glüht,
Deine duftenden Schwestern sind alle verblüht.
Kein Knöspchen mehr strahlet den glühenden Blick,
Keine Blüthe hauchzt Seufzer um Seufzer zurück. [...]
Publisher Schlesinger from Berlin followed suit and also offered his own editions of sheet music of her repertoire (see Hofmeister, Dezember 1838, p. 188, Februar, März 1839, p. 30).

At this time two different versions of "The Last Rose of Summer" were available on the German market. But for some reason they didn't inspire more reprints. I haven't found any other sheet music editions of this "Volkslied" for the next 10 years. And much to my surprise it wasn't included in any songbooks from this era even though Silcher's work used to be plundered - much to his chagrin - by rival publishers and editors. In fact it took a decade until its real breakthrough and then only because it was part of a highly successful opera.

In 1847 another German version of Moore's song was used by composer Friedrich von Flotow in Martha oder Der Markt zu Richmond (see the short overview in Wikipedia), here with a new translation by his librettist Friedrich Wilhelm Riese as well as some minor but characteristic melodic variations (2. Akt, No. 9, here p. 121 in a piano score, Cranz, Leipzig, n. d., at the Internet Archive):

Letzte Rose, wie magst du so einsam hier blühn?
Deine freundlichen Schwestern sind längst, schon längst dahin.
Keine Blüte haucht Balsam mit labendem, labendem Duft,
Keine Blätter mehr flattern in stürmischer Luft.

Warum blühst du so traurig im Garten allein?
Sollst im Tod mit den Schwestern, mit den Schwestern vereinigt sein.
Drum pflück ich, o Rose vom Stamme, vom Stamme dich ab,
Sollst ruhen mir am Herzen und mit mir, ja mit mir im Grab.
The opera was set in 18th century England. Of course the song in this form didn't exist at that time. But a National Air or "Volkslied" in an opera was surely a good idea. 20 years ago "Robin Adair" had become immensely popular in Germany mostly because of its inclusion in Boieldieu's La Dame Blanche. And here this idea also paid off. Flotow's version of "The Last Rose of Summer" became a great hit. The original publisher, Müller in Vienna, tried to squeeze out as much revenue as possible from this success. We find the song published again in sheet music editions like Sechs Lieblingsmelodien aus der Oper Martha. Für eine Singstimme mit Guitarrebegleitung (1848, No. 2, p. 4, at ÖNB, Wien, MS87148-4°). Other publishers of course also jumped on the bandwagon. I have already mentioned Schott's edition. Here are two by Aibl in München:
  • Erato. Auswahl beliebter Gesänge mit leichter Begleitung der Guitarre. No. 1: Letzte Rose. Irländisches Volkslied, Aibl, München, 1850 (available at BStB, 2 1726-1/30 & the Internet Archive)
  • Aurora. Sammlung auserlesener Gesänge mit Begleitung des Pianoforte. No. 1, Irländisches Volkslied: Letzte Rose, Aibl, München, 1851 (available at BStB, 2 1717-1/25)
The song remained on the market until the end of the century and a great number of sheet music editions were made available. After Flotow's success "Die Letzte Rose" also appeared in songbooks, at first apparently in Thomas Täglichsbeck's Buch der Lieder (1851, Bd. 2, No. 92, p. 108, at the Internet Archive). Interestingly this was not the version from Martha but a different translation. The very first songbook for the use in schools with this song may have been the Liedersammlung für die Schule by Weeber & Krauß in 1852 (Heft 3, No. 33, p. 29, here in the 3rd ed., 1854). They used still another translation:

In later years Flotow's version seems to have been the one published most often in books (see the list at, although Silcher's was also used occasionally. The song became part of the repertoire of Männergesangvereine , was included in numerous collections of "Volkslieder" and not at least until the 1920s apparently nearly every child sang it in school. 

  • August Bopp, Friedrich Silcher, Stuttgart 1916
  • Oskar Fleischer, Ein Kapitel vergleichender Musikwissenschaft, in: Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft 1, 1899-1900, pp. 1-53 (available at the Internet Archive)
  • Derek B. Scott, The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlor, 2nd Edition, Aldershot, 2001 (online available at The Victorian Web)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (1745-1769) - What Is Available Online?

One of the most important and influential Scottish tune collections of the 18th century was James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, published in 12 volumes since circa 1745. Oswald (1710 - 1769), the "most prolific and successful composer of 18th-century Scotland", but also a publisher, music teacher, arranger, editor, cellist and not at least a very astute businessman, worked at first in Dunfermline and Edinburgh and then moved to London in 1741. Six years later he set up his own music shop and publishing house and in 1761 he even became chamber composer to King George III. (quote from Johnson/Melvill, James Oswald, in: New Grove, 2nd ed., Vol. 18, pp. 790-1, see also Kidson, British Music Publishers, pp. 84-87).

The Caledonian Pocket Companion surely was the most popular of Oswald's numerous publications. These were handy and relatively inexpensive booklets with only the melody line, "noteworthy for [their] somewhat spartan appearance [...], to be available to the average punter rather than the gentleman amateur [...] an exercise in musical democracy" (Purser 1997, p. 327). In fact even the less affluent music fans could afford a tune collection like this one. The real problem with this work is that Oswald never gave the sources of the tunes. So in many cases we don't know if he had written them himself, if he had collected them somewhere or borrowed from another publication. 

But nonetheless this was a historically important and influential repository of tunes known at that time. It was regularly reprinted and remained in use even long after Oswald's death. Robert Burns owned a copy (see Purser 1997, p. 327) and editors of subsequent collections of Scottish songs used it as a source, for example James Johnson, Joseph Ritson and James Hogg (see McAulay, pp. 57, 68, 162). I have encountered Oswald's collection nearly every time I set out to research the history of particular tunes. In case of "Farewell to Tarwathie" I found altogether five different tune variants (see Ch. 1 of this work, at Most recently I was surprised to find out that he was also responsible for the earliest documented precursor of the tune used by Thomas Moore for "'Tis The last Rose of Summer" ("St. Martin's Church Yard", in Vol. 3, p. 25, according to SITM 1175, p. 223). 

Thanks to the digitization efforts of the National Library of Scotland and the University of Western Ontario this collection can easily be accessed at the Internet Archive. But there are different editions and composite volumes available and perhaps it is helpful to point out the most usable digitized versions. 

Most important is a book including what looks like the original versions of the first six volumes. The first two had been published not by Oswald himself but - before he started his own business - by John Simpson: 
Then there are some composite volumes including reprints of Vol. 1 & 2 published by Oswald himself. One is not particularly useful because it consists only of a couple of pages from different booklets: 
Much more helpful is an edition that includes not only the first six booklets - with an alphabetical index - but also Vols. 7 & 8: 
A composite volume of different editions of the first 8 volumes is unfortunately a little bit incomplete. Some pages of Vols. 2 & 4 are missing: 
We now have the first 8 Vols. of this collection. But for the remaining four one must resort to later new editions. One was by publishers Straight & Skillern but the copy available here is incomplete and includes only Vols. 8, 11, 12 
Later music publisher Robert Bremner brought out a new edition in two volumes, the first including the original booklets 1-6 and the second one with original numbers 7 - 12, but with new continuous pagination. The latter has also been digitized and can be found here: 
In fact all individual volumes of the Caledonian Pocket Companion are now available, the original editions of the first 8 and the last four as part of Bremner's later edition. 

  • David Johnson & Heather Melvill, James Oswald, in: The New Grove, 2nd ed., London 2001, Vol. 18, pp. 790-1 (the best short resumé of Oswald's life and work)
  • Frank Kidson, British Music Publishers, Printers And Engravers, London, Provincial, Scottish and Irish. From Queen Elizabeth's Reign to George The Fourth's, London 1900 (available at The Internet Archive)
  • Karen E. McAulay, Our Ancient National Airs. Scottish Song Collecting c. 1760 - 1888, PH. D. thesis, University of Glasgow, 2009 (online available at; now also published by Ashgate with the title: Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era, Farnham 2013, see Google Books)
  • John Purser, 'The Wee Apollo': Burns and Oswald, in: Kenneth Simpson, Love and Liberty. Robert Burns: A Bicentenary Celebration, East Linton 1997, pp. 326-333
  • SITM = Aloys Fleischmann (ed.), Sources Of Irish Traditional Music, C. 1600 - 1855, 2 Vols., New York & London 1998

  • The books digitized by the NLS are also available on their own site and can be used there. They are part of the Glen and Inglis Collections of Printed Music.
  • There is also a facsimile edition of Caledonian Pocket Companion on 2 CD Roms, published in 2006 & 2007 by Nick Parkes, with introduction and notes by John Purser (see the review of Vol. 1 at; the CDs are still available on John Purser's website). I haven't seen this one yet but it looks very promising and I have just ordered a copy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Old German Songbooks, No. 16: Pflüger, Liederbuch für Schule und Leben (1850s); Hesse & Schönlein, Schulliederbuch (1890s); Meyer, Volks-Gesangbuch (1873)

Here are some more songbooks I have scanned (and now uploaded to the Internet Archive). All are from the second half of the 19th century:
  • J. G. F. Pflüger, Liederbuch für Schule und Leben, 3 Bde., Friedrich Gutsch, Karlsruhe, 1857/8
    I. Heft, Kinderlieder, 1857
    II. Heft, Volkslieder, 2. Auflage, 1858
    III. Heft, Volksthümliche Lieder, 1858
    Now at the Internet Archive
  • Friedrich Hesse & Adalbert Schönstein, Schulliederbuch. Sammlung auserlesener Lieder für Bürger-, Mittel-, höhere Töchter- und höhere Bürgerschulen, Heft II. Lieder für die Mittelklassen, 3. Auflage, Verlagsbuchhandlung von Paul Baumann, Dessau, 1894
    Now at the Internet Archive
    Friedrich Hesse & Adalbert Schönstein, Schulliederbuch. Sammlung auserlesener Lieder für Bürger-, Mittel-, höhere Töchter- und höhere Bürgerschulen, Heft III. Lieder für die Oberklassen, 5. Auflage, Verlagsbuchhandlung von Paul Baumann, Dessau, 1899
    Now at the Internet Archive
  • Wilhelm Meyer, Volks-Liederbuch. Auserlesene ältere und neuere Volkslieder und Nationalgesänge des In- und Auslandes mit ihren eigenthümlichen Sangweisen. Für den vierstimmigen Männerchor, Hahn, Hannover, 1873
    Now at the Internet Archive
Both Pflüger and Hesse & Schönlein put together song collections for schools. Here we can see the development of the standard repertoire over 30 years. Pflüger already offered many songs that later became common in songbooks for schools and Hesse & Schönlein's is not that different from other publications from that time. In these books we find the usual amount of religious songs as well as many patriotic ditties and the popular "Volkslieder" by Silcher & co. Both books of course include the "Loreley", a song known to nearly everybody even today. Church and Vaterland, Heimat and nature were the most important topics and sometimes I feel really sorry for the poor children who had to sing something like:
Ich hab' mich ergeben mit Herz und mit Hand dir,
Land voll Lieb' und Leben, mein deutsches Vaterland [etc]
(Pflüger II, No. 23)
I am mostly interested in foreign, especially British, songs that were popular at that time in Germany. Therefore I was surprised to find another text for the tune of "Robin Adair/Eileen Aroon" that I hadn't been aware of (Pflüger III, No. 43; Hesse & Schönlein II, No. 73):
Fröhlicher Jugendsinn füllt uns die Brust,
Leicht durch das Leben hin folgt mir die Lust!
Wenn uns die Veilchen blühn
Wenn über frisches Grün wir durch den Frühling ziehn [...]
This is not exactly a masterpiece of poetry and was only very rarely included in songbooks, much less than the popular standard texts ("Treu und herzinniglich" & "Heut' muß geschieden sein"). Nonetheless it is a nice addition for my work about "Robin Adair" in Germany (on Interestingly the tune was taken directly from Boieldieu's La Dame Blanche and not from Silcher's, Erk's or Täglichsbeck's well-known publications. Pflüger even credits Boieldieu as the composer. Someone with the name "Jung" is given as the author of the text in Pflüger's book and I have not able to find out who that was. Hesse & Schönlein - who don't mention Boieldieu but call it "Schottisches Volkslied" - claim it was "J. H. Jung-Stilling (1740-1817)" but that is clearly wrong and misleading. 

Meyer's Volks-Gesangbuch was not intended for schools but includes 4-part arrangements for Männergesangvereine. Interestingly he claims in his preface that most "Volkslieder" are not suitable for school children. That was a quite uncommon opinion at that time. He prefers male choirs as "die Stätte seiner Pflege". But this is a very interesting collection. Meyer included many adaptations of foreign songs from all kinds of countries, particularly from Britain. It seems he especially liked Burns and Moore and we can find here many of their songs. 

This book reflects the German fascination with foreign "Volkslieder" and amusingly he somewhat pats himself and his compatriots on the back for this interest in other people's songs:
"Es kann dem Deutschen nur zur Ehre gereichen, dass er gern sich in das innerste Leben anderer Völker vertieft und ihre Lieder mit Hingabe singt" (p. V).
In fact it is one of the best song collections from that era and the editor clearly tried to avoid much of the standard repertoire. But even he couldn't leave out some of the most popular German classics like the "Loreley" and "Der Mai ist gekommen".