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".

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