I write here mostly about the genre that is usually called - in Germany - Volkslieder and - in England at that time - national songs and I am particularly interested in their transnational impact. Many of these songs were not only published in their country of origin but also translated into other languages. Anthologies of foreign national airs offered an international perspective on this genre and it is often interesting to see what songs found a place in these kind of collections. Some songs also became very popular and part of the singing tradition in other countries and others did not. Here is an interesting example for the latter case that also led me to the history of the original song.
Once again I can start here with Friedrich Silcher (1789-1860) who during the 19th century was one of the most popular and successful arrangers and editors of Volkslieder in Germany. He published several popular and successful anthologies arranged either for choirs or for singers accompanied by piano and guitar. Among his works was also a collection of foreign national songs, Ausländische Volksmelodien, mit deutschem, zum Theil aus dem Englischen etc. übertragenem Text, gesammelt und für eine oder zwei Singstimmen mit Begleitung des Pianoforte und der Guitarre gesetzt, that was published in four volumes 1835 - 1841 (at the Internet Archive; later ed., at the Internet Archive).
I have already discussed this influential collection (see here in my blog) and at the moment I am busy trying to identify his sources, which is a very interesting task. As already noted this was mostly a kind of unofficial German edition of Thomas Moore's Popular National Airs and Irish Melodies. Nearly half of the songs he used were borrowed from Moore's anthologies. The rest was a rather unsystematic selection of songs from other - mostly European - countries.
Among the Scandinavian Volkslieder he included was one said to be from Denmark that is worth a more detailed discussion (Vol. 2, 1837, No. 3, p. 4):
|1. "Dän'mark, deine grünen Auen", tune and text transcribed from: |
Friedrich Silcher, Ausländische Volksmelodien 2, 1837, No. 3, p. 4
Dän'mark, deine grünen Auen,
Die das Meer umschliesst,
Glücklich ist, wer sie darf schauen,
Wen ihr Segen grüßt;
Ist die Fremde reicher, bunter,
Zeigt sie gleich dem Auge Wunder,
Immer muss das Herz des Dänen
Sich nach Hause sehnen.
Ist's auch kalt in unserm Norden,
Glüht doch unsere Brust;
Und nicht lau sind wir geworden,
Nicht erschlafft in Lust.
Rühmt der welschen Dirnen Schimmer,
Neben ihnen sind noch immer
Dänenmädchen mit den blauen Augen
Schön zu schauen.
Aus dem Norden kam vorzeiten
Siegreich ziehend in die Weiten,
Froh der Schlachtgefahr;
Und noch ist nicht klein geworden
Unserer wackern Kämpfer Orden.
Wieder muss des Nordens Siegen
Einst der Süd' erliegen.
This is a patriotic home-song ("Denmark, your green meadows/Enclosed by the Sea") but the German text is not that good, especially the second and third verses. Here we hear about Nordic heroes fighting against the decadent South and about blue-eyed Danish girls. I assume at that time a liberal nationalist could sing this without bad conscience but today it sounds rather tasteless. No author is given and not even the translator's name is mentioned. But I know that Silcher regularly "forgot" to give appropriate credit to the original writers of the songs he used. This is no exception.
Nonetheless this particular song is easily recognizable from the first verse and the tune. It's "Danmark, deilig vang og vænge", a popular historical ballad and "the most influential patriotic song of the 19th century Denmark" (Kuhn 1990, p. 77-8). At that time it was available in several Danish songbooks in different versions with different numbers of verses, for example as "Thyre Dannebods Vise" in A. P. Berggreen's Sange til Skolebrug, udsatte for tre Stemmer (I, 1834, No. 8, pp. 12-3):
Danmark deilig Vang og Vænge,
Lukt med bølgen blaa,
Hvor de voksne danske Drenge
Kan i Leding gaae
Mod de Saxer, Slaver, Vender,
Hvor man dem paa Tog hensender;
Een Ting mangler for den Have -
Ledet er af Lave!
At dissnarer færdes kunde
Værket med Behør,
Dronning Thyre lod fra Grunde
Reise, hvor man kjør,
Giennem Volden sig en Bure,
Paa det Værk at have kure.
Slet sig noget kun vil føie
Under fremmed øie.
Efter ønske vorte volden,
Som har mangen Tørning holden,
Før den slet forfaldt,
"Ledet", sagde Dronning Thyre,
"Har vi hængt, Gud Vangen hyre,
At den ingen Fremmed bryder,
Eller Hofbud byder!"
Danmark vi nu kand ligne
Ved den frugtbar Vang,
Hegnet trindt omkring, Gud signe
Det i Nød og Trang!
Lad som Korn opvoxe Knægte,
Der kan frisk mod Fienden sægte,
Da om Dannebod end tale,
Naar hun er i Dvale.
This Danish text is - except in the first couple of lines - quite different from the German version. There is nothing about blue-eyed Danish girls or about invading the South. In fact the text in Silcher's anthology is not a translation but a very free adaptation that has not much to do with the original song. "Danmark, deilig vang og vænge" recounts a story from the early middle ages. It is about building fortifications on the Southern border against invasions by the Germans and Slavs. The Thyra Dannebod mentioned here was queen of Denmark in the 10th century.
The original song has a long and very interesting history that is worth reconsidering. It goes back several centuries and is based on some lines from medieval chronicles that served as the starting-point for a long historical ballad. During the 19th century a shortened version of this ballad became immensely popular as a patriotic song with an anti-German tendency. Thankfully there is already an exhaustive and detailed discussion of the song's history that has not been surpassed since its original publication more than 60 years ago (Dumreicher & Madsen 1956). But it is only available in Danish like nearly all relevant literature about this topic (except Kuhn 1990, pp. 77-93, a good summary). As usual I have included links to digital copies of the original sources and in the end I will add some words about this dubious German version that has so far not been discussed in this context.
We can start here with Peder Syv (1631-1703; see Wikipedia; Horn 1878; Lundgreen-Nielsen 2002, pp. 272-365), a Danish clergyman and scholar who made himself a name as a linguist and philologist. Among his works were a Danish grammar, Grammatica or Den Danske Sprog-Kunst (1685, at Google Books) and a collection of proverbs, Aldmindelige Danske Ord-Sproge og korte Lærdomme (1682 & 1688, at NB, Oslo). In 1695 he brought out a new expanded edition of Anders Sørensen Vedel's so-called Hundredvisebog, originally published more than a century ago in 1591.
Historian Vedel (1542-1616; see Wikipedia; Lundgreen-Nielsen 2002, pp. 167-249) had compiled and edited the very first printed anthology of Danish historical and popular ballads, or - as they were later called - kjæmpeviser ("heroic songs"). This was an influential, innovative and often reprinted publication that offered an early glimpse into a genre that would later be defined as folkevise ("national songs" or "Volkslieder"):
- It Hundrede udvaalde Danske Viser om allehaande Merckelige Krigs Bedrifft, oc anden seldsom Eventyr, som sig her udi Riget Ved Gamle Kemper, Naffnkundige Konger oc eller fornemme Personer begiffvet hafver aff Arilds Tid indtil denne nærværendis Dag, Bern, Ribe, 1591 (see later ed.: Kopenhagen 1619, at Google Books & the Internet Archive; Christiania 1664, at the Internet Archive; see also Henningsen 1959)
Syv added one hundred more songs from all kinds of different sources and now it was called 200 Viser om Konger, Kemper og Andre or - even longer than Vedel's title - It Hundrede udvalde Danske Viser [...] Forøgede med det Andet Hundrede Viser om Danske Konger, Kæmper og Andre, Samt hosføyede Antegnelser Til Lyst og Lærdom (Bockenhoffer, Kiøbenhavn, 1695). Unfortunately I have not found a digital copy of this edition but just like Vedel's original work the new version was reprinted several times and I can use the edition published in 1764 (at NB Oslo & the Internet Archive).
Four of the these new songs he had received from a friend and colleague of his, one Laurits Kok, whom he described as an "en flittig og vel forfaren Mand in vore gamle sager" (p. 545). Kok (1634-1691; see Dansk Biografisk Lexikon 9, 1895, pp. 324-5, at Projekt Runeberg; Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 14, 2nd Udg., 1923, pp. 261, at Project Runeberg; Dumreicher, pp. 9-120) was a clergyman who spent most of his life as a school principal and then a parish priest. But he was also a respected scholar who had written a Danish grammar - that remained unpublished - and worked on a Danish-Latin dictionary. One of the texts he contributed was a historical ballad in 14 verses, "Om Tyre Danebod" (No. XXXVIII, pp. 545-7; see the - not really successful - Engl. translation in Borrow 1923, pp. 224-6):
Tyre - or "Thyra" - Danebod (+ c. 950; see Wikipedia; Tanderup 2014) was a legendary Danish queen from the 10th century, the wife of King Gorm the Old and mother of Harald Bluetooth. Here is described, "in a consciously folksy, in places even a humorous tone" (Kuhn 1990, p. 81), how she organized and oversaw the the building of the Danevirke (see Wikipedia), the fortifications on the Southern border, to protect the country against the "Tydske, Slaver, Vender". But in reality these fortifications had originally been created several centuries earlier and by all accounts the real Queen Thyra was never involved in this project.
Only more than two centuries after her death this apocryphal story - possibly a popular legend at that time - appeared in some medieval chronicles, at first in Svend Aagesen's Brevis Historia Regum Dacie (c. 1187, ch. 3, in Langebek 1772, pp. 49-50; dan. transl.: Fenger 1842, pp. 16-18) and then in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum (c. 1200, 10.3.1, at KB Kopenhagen; Stephanius 1644, pp. 182-3; dan. transl. in Grundtvig 1819, pp. 281-2). Saxo, who described Thyra as a woman with "a man's heart" ("cum sub specie feminae virilem animum", 10.3.4) - wrote only one sentence about her efforts:
"Post haec Thyra, quo patriam a clandestinis exterorum irruptionibus tutiorem praestaret, quantum a Sleswico ad occidentalem Oceanum patet, vallo fossaque proscindere aggressa est, superque iacto aggere tenacissimi operis terrenum molita est munimentum."
Aggesen lauded her - here in Fenger's Danish translation (p. 13) - as "et Fruentimmer af den fortræffeligste Art" and offered a more detailed account. His text, at that time already available in Stephanius' edition (1642; see Dumreicher, p. 87) - of which I have not yet seen a digital edition - was surely Laurids Kok's source and inspiration. It is also referred to in the note after the poem (p. 547). Kok embellished the story even more and ended up with 14 verses (see the analysis in Dumreicher, pp. 75-102):
Danmark dejligst vang og vænge,
Lukt med bølgen blaa,
Hvor de vakre voxne drenge
Kan i leding gaa
Mod de Tydske, Slaver, Vender,
Hvort man dem paa tog hensender.
En ting mangler for dend have:
ledet er af lave.
This is Queen Tyre speaking. She celebrates Denmark's "lovely fields and meadows" that are enclosed by the "blue waves" of the sea and also their brave men who fight against the "Germans, Slaves and Vends". But she also notes what is missing: a gate at the Southern border to keep these enemies out.
Saa begyndte Dronning Tyre,
Raet kaldt Danebod,
Tale til de, Danmarks Styre
Foresad med mod
Therefore she talks "with courage" to "Danmark's Styre" - the assembly of the chieftains - and proposes the building of a wall. At the end the wall is ready and Denmark's "rich fields" are now protected against foreign attacks:
Dannemark vi nu kand ligne
Ved en frugtbar vang,
Hegnet rund omkring, Gud signe
dend i nød og trang
Lad som korn opvoxe knekte,
Der kand frisk mod fienden fekte
Og om Danebod end tale
Naar hun er i dvale.
Here Kok has created a kind of idealized image of Denmark's early medieval society. Noteworthy is the "the active role of the people [...] with Queen Tyre as the initiator and leader and a community not just following orders but being consulted and freely consenting" (Kuhn 1990, p. 258). It is not clear if he had any political intentions with this piece. But we know of course that a song about the past is also always a song about the present. During the 17th century there had been several invasions from the South. In the last decades the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp had caused a lot of trouble. Not at least the old fortifications were in a very bad shape (see Kuhn 1990, p. 77; Dumreicher, pp. 76, 104-7). Therefore it is easy to understand that he revived this heart-warming and inspiring story of a courageous female leader who rallied all Danes to work together to protect the country.
This was a new ballad disguised as an old one, a pastiche and an attempt to simulate the the kjæmpeviser of the first edition. Very interesting is the use of alliterations, but only when Queen Tyre is speaking. They were common in old Norse poetry and it seems he wanted to give her voice an old Norse sound (see Dumreicher, p. 79-80). Later one scholar has called this text a "et vellykket Forsog paa det traeffe den gamle Tone" (Friis 1875, p. 16). In fact it was more an attempt to achieve what the author apparently regarded as the "old" style. It is not necessarily "authentic" but has more of a pseudo-archaic tone.
At first Kok's song about Queen Tyre Danebod was not really successful. Of course it was easily available in the different reprints of Syv's anthology. But there is no evidence that this piece won any kind of popularity in Denmark during the 18th century. In fact its time had not come yet. Strangely it was first reprinted in France in 1780. French musicologist Laborde included the original text as well as a French translation in his great Essai Sur La Musique Ancienne Et Moderne (II, pp. 398-401). In this book he offered a long and interesting chapter about the "Chansons du Danmark, de la Norvege & de l'Islande" (pp. 397-418). Of course Laborde hadn't made a field trip to Scandinavia. His informant was C. F. Jacobi, at that time secretary of the Kongelige Videnskabets Selskab in Copenhagen, who sent him an interesting collection of tunes and texts from these countries. Interestingly Jacobi even tried a find a tune for this particular song. But the peasants he asked didn't know any (see pp. 397-8).
At this time a new era had already begun. "Old Ballads" and the songs of the people - or what was regarded as such - were discovered once again. MacPherson's Ossian (since 1760) and Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) were received with great enthusiasm. In Germany Herder promoted and published what he called Volkslieder (1778/9). This also led scholars and intellectuals in Scandinavia to a reappraisal of their own ballad literature.
Of particular importance was Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg (1737-1823; see Wikipedia; see Gerecke 2002), a German writer and poet living in Denmark. In 1767 he offered the readers of his Briefe über die Merkwürdigkeiten der Litteratur (here No. 8, pp. 108-15; also No. 11, pp. 144-63) a discussion of both Ossian and Percy and then introduced them to Syv's anthology of kjæmpeviser. Even though Gerstenberg was critical of this edition he lauded the beauty and simplicity of these songs - "so schön, so naiv, so simple, und zugleich so heroisch, so voll Sentiment" (p. 109) - and attempted some translations. He also noted that these old songs were unknown to some Danes and misjudged by others. In fact the current generation of Danish writers - like Holberg - was not fond of this genre. Gerstenberg did not only inspire German scholars like Herder, he also had a part in the rediscovery of the kjæmpeviser in Denmark (see Møller 2017a, pp. 86-7).
Soon new anthologies of "old" songs began to appear (see Lundgreen-Nielsen 2002, pp. 368-9), for example Levninger af Middel-Alderens Digtekunst (1780, at Google Books; 1784, at Google Books). Here the reader could find some old Norse poetry as well as songs from manuscripts. Vedel and Syv are mentioned in the introductions. But the ballad about Tyre Danebod wasn't included. Perhaps it wasn't old enough. The second volume, by the way, was edited by Rasmus Nyerup (1759-1829; see Wikipedia), a young scholar and librarian who would later play an important role in this field.
The song's new life would only start in 1810. That year scholar and writer Knut Lyne Rahbek (1760-1830, see Wikipedia). published a little book with the title Danske og Norske Historiske Mindesange. This was an anthology of poems and songs for patriotic purposes, dedicated to King Frederic V. Nearly all of them were modern pieces by contemporary poets, for example Oehlenschläger and Storm as well as Rahbek himself. But as the first text he used here Tyre Danebod's song (pp. 1-6). The author's name is missing but the kjæmpeviser are referred to as the source. A short introduction sketches the historical background and its meaning for the present.
It was the time of the Napoleonic wars. Denmark was also involved, but unfortunately on the wrong aside. The British Navy had attacked Copenhagen two times, in 1801 and 1807 and the prospects weren't good at all. A "new patriotism" (see Dumreicher, p. 124) was necessary and in times of war there was of course always a greater demand for patriotic songs. It is obvious that Rahbek dug out this old song because of its inspirational national message. In his introduction to the song he noted that it proofs "hvaad Folk og Fyrster formaae, naar de eendræktige samvirke til Fædrelandets tarv" (p. 2).
Soon afterwards the first comprehensive modern collection of old Danish songs - based on Vedel's and Syv's editions - was published:
- Werner H. Abrahamson, Rasmus Nyerup & K. L. Rahbek, Udvalgte Danske Viser fra Middelalderen; efter A. S. Vedels og P. Syvs trykte Udgaver og efter handskrevne Samlingar undgivne paa ny, 5 Vols., Schultz, København, 1812-1814 (at BSB, Vol. 5 also at the Internet Archive; at NB, Oslo)
Here of course Kok's song about Tyre Danebod was included (Vol. 2, No. 56, pp. 3-7). In the notes (pp. 338-9) the editors identified the author and discussed the possible sources. More important for the song's future was the fact that they even published a tune (Vol. 5, p. 74, at NB, Oslo; at BSB). It was printed here without any information about its source. But it was a new melody, composed only a few years earlier:
|2. Tune of "Danmark deilig vang og vænge", in: Abrahamson, Nyerup & Rahbek, |
Udvalgte Danske Viser fra Middelalderen 5, 1814, p. 74, from digital copy available at BSB
The composer was one Paul Edvard Rasmussen, one of their informants. Rasmussen (1776-1860; see Wikipedia; see DBL; Dumreicher, pp. 123-49 ), a jurist in the Danish Navy who left his job early on and moved back to the countryside to live there from his small pension, collected "folk tunes" and helped out the editors of with some melodies he had found. Later he worked with Nyerup on another anthology of old Danish songs. He had written this tune soon after he had bought a copy of Rahbek's Historiske Mindesange so he could sing the song with his family. But he then also sent it to editor Nyerup together with the other melodies he had collected. Even though Rasmussen admitted in his letter to the editor that he had written it himself only recently it was included as an anonymous "folk tune".
This story was only made public nearly three decades later, when Danish composer A. P. Berggreen did some research about the tune's origin and received this information from Berggreen himself who was still alive (see Berggreen 1840, p. IX, Berggreen 1870, p. 80; Dumreicher, pp. 137-8). Interestingly Rasmussen also told Berggreen that had used a song by German composer J. A. P. Schulz as a model for his simple tune: "Freund, ich achte nicht des Mahles", first published in the famous Lieder im Volkston (Vol. 1, 1782, p.34; here in a later anthology, p. 108). Of course it is not identical to Rasmussen's melody but the relationship is obvious and not that difficult to see.
We can see that at this point this old text was not only part of the contemporary patriotic discourse but now also had folkloristic credentials and - with this tune - it was also singable. The first one to use it anew would be N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783-1872; see Wikipedia), pastor, writer, poet, scholar and one of the most influential intellectuals of that time. In 1816 he had started a periodical named Danne-Virke, named after the legendary fortifications. In the second volume he printed a slightly edited version of "Thyre Dannebods Vise", but still all 14 verses (1817, pp. 1-6; see Pedersen 2019). But for a more common use the song was still too long. This problem was solved several years later by Adam Oehlenschläger (1779-1850), Denmark's most popular poet and playwright.
Oehlenschläger regularly used motives of Nordic mythology and history in his works, particularly his plays. In 1820 he published the tragedy Erik og Abel (at NB, Oslo; at the Internet Archive). It was set in the year 1250 and depicted the conflict between two brothers, the Danish king and the Duke of Schleswig. At the start of the first act - with the Dannevirke in the background - a blind harpist performs this ballad, but only 4 edited verses, the first one and the last three of the original text (pp. 3-4):
The debut performance was on April 26th, 1821 in Copenhagen and here the audience could actually hear the song. Of course this was an anachronism. The text didn't exist in the year 1250 and the tune was only written less than a decade earlier. But nonetheless it seemed to work. From then on this song became much better known and "ubbredte [...] sig mere og mere i Folket" (Berggreen 1840, p. IX).
Oehlenschläger was also very popular in Germany where he was regarded as "a literary luminary of the highest order" (Rühling, p. 89). In fact he had a kind of parallel career there. His works were immediately published in Germany, usually translated by himself. This was also the case with Erik og Abel. The German edition appeared a year after the original version and here the song - of course only the four verses he had selected - was for the first time translated into German (Cotta, Stuttgart & Tübingen 1821, pp. 2-3, at Google Books & BSB):
Dänmark du schöner Garten
Grün in blauem Meer,
Dein dich treu die Söhne warten,
Mit dem Heldenheer.
Kräftig sind sie aufgewachsen
Gegen Slawen, Wenden, Sachsen;
Eins doch mangelt Jütlands Wiesen:
Nur ein Zaun zum Schließen.
Seeland, Fyhnen treu im Bunde
Fürchten nicht Gefahr
Die mit Belten Sand und Sunde
Zäunen sich fürwahr.
Jede Insel abgeschnitten
Von den Deutschen, von den Britten;
Jütland nur muß sich verwahren
Stets mit Streiterschaaren.
Um zu schützen Ritter, Bauer,
Thyra, Fürstin fein,
Baut einst eine hohe Mauer
Hoch von Erd' und Stein.
Um den Leuten zuzusehen,
That sie selbst im Turme stehen.
Stark im weitesten Bezirke
Wuchs die Danne wirke.
Dännemark kann sich jetzt wehren
Hinter seinem Zaun,
Schönes Feld mit goldnen Aehren,
Schöne Mädchen, Fraun!
Helden können den Verwegenen
An der Brustwehr keck begegnen,
Und ein Loblied Thyra singen,
Während Schwerter klingen.
Interestingly Ohlenschläger didn't even tone down the song's anti-German tendency. In the first verse the "Saxer, Slaver, Vender" are now named as potential enemies instead of the "Tydske, Slaver, Vender" in the original text. But in the second the Germans are mentioned once again. This play apparently wasn't a big success in Germany and the reviews were somewhat disappointing (see f. ex. Literarisches Conversationsblatt, No. 214, 17.9.1821, pp. 853-4; Archiv für Geographie [...] 13, 1822, pp. 91-6). This may also be the reason that the song at that time didn't make any particular impression on the German audience. At least it was not reprinted anywhere else.
Meanwhile in Denmark this patriotic ballad began to appear in songbooks, at first in those intended for students and schools. In 1822 Ohlenschläger's four verses were reprinted in Sange for Studenterforeningen (pp. 1-2). Some years later complete versions with all 14 verses were included in Flor's Dansk Laesebog til Brug i de laerde Skoler (1831, pp. 556-60), in Fabricius' Samling af fædrelandshistoriske Digte. Udgivet af Selskabet for Trykkefrihedens rette Brug (1836, pp. 1-7) and in Barfood's Poetisk Læsebog for Børn og barnlige Sjæle, til Brug saavel i Skolen som i Huset (1835/6, No. 191, pp. 311-15). The latter also noted that probably all Danes already know this song (p. 487).
But it was Oehlenschläger's foreshortened text that would become most popular (see Kuhn, p. 81). It can be found for example in Regentsens Visebog (1833, pp. 55-6) and again in the second edition of Sange for Studenterforeningen (1833, No. 1, pp. 2-3), here for the first time with Rasmussen's tune in an arrangement for three voices. The following year young composer A. P. Berggreen included text and tune in the first volume of his influential Sange til Skolebrug, udsatte for tre Stemmer (1834, No. 8, pp. 12-3). Here he still thought it was an "old Danish melody". Only some years later, when he compiled the tunes for Fabricius's Samling af fædrelandshistoriske Digte he did some research and learned from Rasmussen himself that it was not an "old" tune (1840, p. IX).
Over the next decades the song developed into one of the most popular patriotic standards, especially at the time of the First Schleswig War 1848-1851 and the German-Danish War in 1864. Here Denmark was in fact "threatened from the very direction in which Dannevirke was situated" (see Kuhn 1990, pp. 85-92; quote p. 89). But that is another story and I will stop here in 1837, the year this song was published by Silcher in his Ausländische Volksmelodien.
At that time Danish songs were already easily available in Germany. Gerstenberg and Herder had introduced kjaempeviser in the 1760s and 1770s to their readers. Some decades later Wilhelm Grimm translated about one hundred of them for his anthology Altdänische Heldenlieder, Balladen und Märchen (1811, at Google Books). Folkeviser with tunes were also published. Friedrich Kunzen's, Auswahl der vorzüglichsten altdänischen Volksmelodien und Heldenlieder mit Begleitung des Pianoforte appeared in 1818 (at the Internet Archive). In Heidelberg Professor Thibaut translated foreign Volkslieder and arranged them for his choir, including some from Denmark. They can be found in his manuscript Alte Nationalgesänge (1820-40, see RISM). He of course knew Kunzen's booklet but was also familiar with Nyerup's and Rahbek's Udvalgte Danske Viser fra Middelalderen (see Verzeichnis, p. 41; Thibaut, Reinheit, p. 89).
Baumstark and Zuccalmaglio included one Danish song in their Bardale, the first German anthology of foreign Volkslieder (1829, Nr. 34, p. 59). In 1835 O.L.B. Wolff published Braga, a massive collection of international songs in 14 volumes. One booklet was dedicated to Danish folkeviser (Vol. 11, at Google Books). Interestingly none of them - except Thibaut (see RISM), whose version remained unpublished - used Syv's song about Tyre Danebod. One may assume that German editors and translators avoided this piece because of its anti-German tendency. Some in Germany may have known it from Oehlenschläger's Erik og Abel, but, as mentioned, that play was not really successful on German stages.
Silcher was the first one to publish this song with the tune and with a German text. It is not clear where he had got it from. Perhaps he had seen it in one of the few Danish songbooks available at that time or had heard a performance of Oehlenschläger's version. But I think it is more likely that he had received it from one of his students or friends who regularly helped him out with songs at that time. At least one of them was interested in Danish songs (see Bopp, pp. 100 & 103).
There is no evidence that Silcher did systematic research to find additional songs for his anthology. At first he relied nearly exclusively on Moore's publications which he obviously had at hand. For the first volume 8 of the 9 songs were borrowed from the Popular National Airs and the Irish Melodies. In the second volume four songs songs and one more tune can be traced to Moore. The rest was scraped together from all kinds of different sources: two French chansons recently published on sheet music (No. 8 & 9); a Norwegian tune he most likely knew from an arrangement by Carl Maria von Weber; a Persian song from a 20 year old book by Hammer-Purgstall (No. 10). There is no evidence that he had access to other foreign songbooks besides Moore's works.
Who wrote the German words? This is also not known. But whoever it was solved the problem of the song's anti-German tendency by simply deleting it. As already mentioned most of the text - except the first few lines - has next to nothing to do with the original version. The anonymous "translator" added some unpleasant Germanic chauvinism that doesn't represent the message of Syv's text. It was no longer about protecting the country from invasions from the South. Instead it celebrates the "heroes" from the North that have invaded the "decadent" South.
But on the other hand - if we only look at the first verse - the song fits well into Silcher's collection as another patriotic home-song. In the same volume he also included German versions of Burns' "My Heart's in the Highlands" (No. 1) and Berat's "Ma Normandie"(No. 9). In the following volumes we can find Guttinguer's "La Suissesse au bord du Lac" (III, No. 2) and, from England, "Home, Sweet Home" (IV, No. 9). These were all songs celebrating home. "Dän'mark, deine grünen Auen" looks in this context like one more variant of this topic. In Germany these kind of home-songs from other countries were very popular and often received very well, for example "My Heart's in the Highlands" and "Home, Sweet Home".
But this Danish song wasn't successful. It was very rarely reprinted in German songbooks. Silcher's version can only be found in a collection with the title Ausländischer Liederschatz (1886, p. 81). Victorie Gervinus included a piano arrangement in her Naturgemässe Ausbildung in Gesang und Klavierspiel (1892, No. 59, p. 253). Otherwise all other editors and arrangers avoided the song. As far as I know there were no further attempts at a new German version of this song and I am not aware of more translations.
For some reason it didn't look much different in Britain. Even though several books with translated Danish poetry and songs appeared during the 19th century this particular text was never included. George Borrow's adaptation remained unpublished at first and only came to light in 1923 (see Borrow 1923, pp. 224-6). The only other version I know of can be found in Granville Bantock's Sixty Patriotic Songs of All Nations (1913, No. 31, pp. 82-3). Here it was called "Denmark's Verdant Meadows (Thyra Dannebod)". But Bantock only used two verses, the first and second of Ohlenschläger's shortened variant. That doesn't make much sense. His English text is based on the first two verses of Silcher's German version. This makes even less sense and whoever read or sang this song may have wondered what it had to do with Thyra Dannebod.
During the 19th century a considerable number of songs crossed national borders and were adapted in other countries. There was certainly a great interest in what was regarded as foreign national music. But of course not every song was received well. This particular Danish piece never really achieved any kind of popular success outside of Denmark, neither as a historical ballad nor as a patriotic home-song.
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