Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Some Estonian Songbooks (1860-1900)


I.

I have just written a little treatise about the collection and publication of Volkslieder - national songs - of the Estonians and Latvians from circa 1770 until the late 19th century (see the previous blogpost). Texts were published in considerable numbers, first by Baltic-German scholars and then by the first generation of Estonian intellectuals. But tunes only played a minor role. Very few were made available until the 1860s. Only since then - during the era of what is called the national awakening - they began to appear, not in academic anthologies but in songbooks for choral singing. 

The first one to publish two rahwawiis was Carl Robert Jakobson in 1869 in a small anthology with the title Wanemuine Kandle Healed (at digar). The first collection of Estonian Volkslieder only appeared in 1890: Karl August Hermann's Eesti rahwalaulud (at the Internet Archive). This was very late. For example in Finland - also a nation trying to find its own voice - the very first anthology of national songs was already made available in 1831 and more would follow soon (see in this blog: The Collection and Publication of National Airs in Finland 1795-1900).

Even the neighbouring Latvians were a little bit faster in this respect. Some original Latvian traditional tunes had already been published in 1859 by the pastor Juris Caunītis and the teacher Jānis Kaktiņš in their songbook 100 dseesmas un singes ar nohtem (see Karnes, p. 205, p. 219, n. 64, see Das Inland 25, 1860, p. 151). In 1869 a conference of Latvian teachers called for a more systematic collection of traditional tunes (Apkalns, pp. 151). The key figure here was Jānis Cimze (1814-1881; see Wikipedia) from the teacher seminary in Valka who in 1872 published the very first anthology of Latvian Volkslieder arranged for choirs: Dseesmu rohta jaunekļeem un wihreem (see Karnes 2015; Apkalns, pp. 148-53). 

Here I will attempt a select bibliography of Estonian songbooks published since 1860. I am foremost interested in the publication of rahwalaulud. Why did traditional tunes play a comparatively small role? How many were published? Why took it so long until the first anthology appeared? But it is equally important to see the wider context: the development of a national repertoire for choral singing. This was what Estonian teachers and musicians were interested in. At first this repertoire consisted nearly solely of translated German songs and only slowly Estonian songs - both new works and rahwalaulud - were added. 

Today - in the digital era - a bibliography is not only list of books. Thankfully most of the publications needed here have been digitized and are therefore quick at hand. This is a great progress. These are all rare books that are available in only a very few libraries. Back in the old days it would have been necessary to travel to these libraries to see them. Now they can be checked online and the reader has also direct access to these primary sources. 

In Estonia the digital libraries are well-organized. For a systematic approach we should start with Eesti rahvusbibliograafia (erb), the Estonian National Bibliography that is available online. A look for example at the entry for Jakobson's Wanemuine kandle healed (erb) shows that one can find here all relevant bibliographical data as well as other helpful information. Usually both the number of copies printed, the price and the content - here all the songs included - are included. It is also possible to get a chronological list of all the publications a particular writer - in this case Jakobson - was involved in (erb). 

Thankfully there is also a link to a digital copy if one exists as well as a link to a book's record in ester, the National Library Catalogue that also offers the link to the digital copy. The most important digital libraries are digar - Estonian National Library - , etera - University of Tallinn - and the one of the University of Tartu. Jakobson's songbook is available at digar. The online readers of etera and digar - here only for a part of the books - are usable but not as flexible as I would wish. But all digitized books can also be downloaded as pdf-files and I have taken the liberty to upload some of those I needed to the the Internet Archive where they are much easier to use. 

The number of books already digitized by the Estonian libraries is impressive but there are of course still some that haven't been scanned yet. Thankfully it is also possible to order the digitization of a book, but only if it is available at one of the libraries in Tallinn and - apparently - if it was printed before 1900. In this case there is a link in ester that leads to EOD, the well-known network of libraries. Therefore digital copies of five more relevant songbooks can now be accessed online.

Most of the editors, composers and writers mentioned here are not exactly household names outside of Estonia. Therefore some basic information is needed and here the German wikipedia proved to be very helpful. Links to the relevant articles are added but they can only serve as a short introduction. For some of the more obscure names I found only Estonian sources, either Wikipedia or another encyclopedia. 

Otherwise I can recommend some books. Estonian music history in the second half of the 19th century is more or less identical to the history of the national singing movement, therefore I found Arro's Geschichte der estnischen Musik (1933) very helpful. He is good at describing the context and also discusses nearly everyone mentioned here. But it is better to ignore his stern judgments about most Estonian song composers. Nearly all of these editors were also busy in other fields, as writers, poets, teachers, journalists and cultural activists. For that reason a good history of Estonian literature is also useful. Hasselblatt's (2006) is the best so far. 


II. 

The new choral singing movement from Germany and Switzerland (good overview: Klenke 1998) was quickly adopted by the Baltic-Germans (see Loos, p. 226). They had their own choirs: in 1833 the first Liedertafel was founded in Riga, in 1849 a choral society in Reval and the year 1857 saw the the first great German song festival. They also had their own songbooks where we can find the popular German repertoire: 
  • Baltisches Liederbuch, Plates, Riga, 1861, at UofTartu & the Internet Archive 
  • Vierundzwanzig Volkslieder mit ihren Singweisen für Sopran und Alt 1. Heft, Laakmann, Dorpat, 1871, at digar 
  • Liederbuch für Knaben- und Mädchenschulen, von A. W. Schönberg, Gesanglehrer am Gymnasium zu Arensburg, 1876 [erb], at digar 
  • Joh. Reinfeldt, Baltischer Liederkranz. Ausgewälte Lieder zum Gebrauch für den Gesangsunterricht, 2. vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage, 1. & 2. Teil, Kluge, Reval, 1886 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Joh. Reinfeldt, Baltischer Liederkranz. Ausgewälte Lieder zum Gebrauch für den Gesangsunterricht, 3. vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage, 1. Teil, Kluge, Reval, 1898 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 

The Estonians - just freed from the shackles of serfdom - also started singing in choirs and at first they were of course taught by their German pastors. What should they sing? For centuries they had been treated to imported hymns translated into Estonian and these religious songs made up the greatest part of their repertoire. More collections appeared during these years, for example: 
  • [Johann August Hagen], Choralbuch zum Gebrauche für die Orgel und das Pianoforte. Enthaltend Kirchen-Melodien für Deutsche und Ehstnische Kirchen-Gesangbücher, so wie auch für Dr. K. C. Ulmanns geistliche Liedersammlung. Tallinna ja Tarto lauloramatute täis wisi ramat Reval, n. d. [1844] [erb], at digar  
  • Tallinna- ja Tarto-ma Kirriko laulo ramato laulo wisid, Jacoby & Co., Pärnu & Viljandi, n. d. [1860] [erb], at digar 
What was missing were secular songs. The pastors didn't like the Estonians' traditional song culture which was under perpetual cultural pressure. Instead some of them also promoted modern German songs that were translated into Estonian. An early pioneer was Emil Hörschelmann (1810-1854, see Arro 1933, pp. 28-51) who - besides writing and publishing hymns - also put out a small collection of German songs, Mönned armsad laulud (1847, erb, at digar). It seems this booklet was quite popular. New editions appeared in 1852 and 1862. 

During these years the first generation of Estonian writers and teachers came to the fore and they would single-handedly begin to create what they regarded as their national culture. But most of them still preferred the adoption of German singing culture. The key figure here was Johann Voldemar Jannsen (1819-1890; see Wikipedia; Hasselblatt, pp. 175-7, 184-8, 203; Arro, pp. 89-97; see erb), teacher, writer, journalist, translator, choirmaster and activist. In 1850 he was "barred from full membership in a German choir because of his ethnicity" (Ŝmidchens, p. 70) and felt it necessary to start his own. 

He at first translated religious songs, for example Krummacher's Zionsharfe (here f. ex. 1827, at Google Books). The first part of the Estonian version appeared in 1845 with the title Sioni-Laulo-Kannel ehk 333 uut waimolikko laulo (erb). More parts would follow as well as other similar collections. But he also tried to take care of the secular repertoire and in 1860 he published an anthology with the title Eesti laulik - "The Estonian Singer" - with 125 texts. 
  • [Johann Voldemar Jannsen], Eesti Laulik. 125 uut lauo neile, kes hea melega laulwad ehk laulo kuulwad. Esiminne jaggo, Laakmann, Tartu, 1860 [erb], at digar; at BSB [= Google Books]; at the Internet Archive [= GB-Oxford]
    -, 2. Trük, Laakmann, Tartu, 1865 [erb], at Google Books [= BL] 
Jannsen was no Herderian and no friend of Estonian rahwalaulud (see Arro 1933, pp. 90-1; Ŝmidchens, pp. 77-8). In fact he didn't like them and preferred German songs. All texts in this songster were translations from the German and he completely avoided any original Estonian pieces. But nonetheless his anthology became very popular and was reprinted several times. He also compiled a tune-book with only the melodies because he couldn't afford to publish complete arrangements for choirs: 
  • [Johann Voldemar Jannsen], Eesti Lauliko wisi-ramat. 120 uut laulo-wisi , Laakmann, Tartu, 1862 [erb], at the Internet Archive 

Other early pioneers also relied completely on German songs. Martin Körber (1817-1893; see Arro, pp. 112-9; Wikipedia), a German pastor in a little village on the isle of Saremaa did a lot for the musical culture of his flock, not at least because he didn't want them to sing their traditional drinking songs. He himself wrote new songs and taught them the people, he had them sing in choirs and also organized the earliest local song festivals. One collection of his songs was published with music: 
  • Laulud Sörwemaalt, mitme healaga. Lieder aus der Schworbe, mehrstimmig, Laakmann, Tartu, 1864 & 1867, 2 Vols. [erb: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2], at Uof Tartu 
Friedrich Brandt (1830-1890; Wikipedia), teacher and writer, also put together a songster with the title Eestima öpik (1864, erb at digar) - "The Estonian Nightingale" - that included both translations from the German as well as his own works. This collection was reprinted several times and apparently sold in great numbers. He for example included the popular German ballad "Es waren zwei Königskinder" ("Kuningatte lapsed", p. 28). Folklorist Walter Anderson (1932, pp. 23-48) has shown that nearly all variants collected from oral tradition are derived - directly or indirectly - from this anthology. Brandt also published a little songbook with music, Pisukene laulu- ja mängimees (1869, erb, at digar). Just like Jannsen he avoided all references to his sources. But it seems that these songs were mostly his own. 

Friedrich Kuhlbars (1841-1924; see Wikipedia; Hasselblatt, p. 267), teacher, writer and poet, compiled the first songbook for schools and he only used songs imported from Germany: 
  • Laulik koolis ja kodus. Ued laulud ühe, kahe, kolme ja nelja healega ja kaanonid. Noorele ja wanale, iseäranis Eesti koolidelle wäljaanud Friedrich Kuhlbars, Gläser, Tartu, 1868 [erb], at digar 
Here we can find pieces by Schulz, Silcher, Gersbach and Julius Mayer as well as many that are only described as "Deutsche Volksweise". Interestingly there is also an version of Thomas Moore's "Last Rose of Summer" ("Õue viimne roosikene", No. 15, pp. 13-4). But he didn't feel it necessary to include even a single original Estonian song. 

In the meantime Jannsen had launched Wanemuine, a society for choral singing and other convivial activities (see Arro, pp. 98-101). It was named after a mythological character in Kreutzwaldt's Kalevipoeg, the god of music with the harp ("Laena mulle kannelt, Vanemuine!"). This society played a major role during the next decades and Wanemuine himself appeared on the covers of some songbooks. Jannsen also organized the first Grand Song Festival in 1869 in Tartu (see Arro, pp. 102-8). This was of course modeled after the German song festivals but it set the start of a long-running tradition (see Wikipedia). The repertoire performed at these festivals shows the development of the national Estonian singing culture: 
  • [Johann Voldemar Jannsen], Eestirahwa 50-aastase Jubelipiddo-Laulud. Tartu Wanemuine seltsit wäljaantud, Laakmann, Tartu, 1869 [erb]; at digar & the Internet Archive 

This is the songbook for the first festival. Here we can find for the most part religious songs - that's what the local choirs sang at home - and only a few of secular character. Nearly all of them were by German composers, for example Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Abt and Kreutzer. Finland was the other major source. There is one song by Finnish composer Karl Collan (No. 22, p. 71) and Jannsen himself wrote a new text for the tune Frederik Pacius had composed for Runeberg's "Vårt land", the future Finnish national anthem. His "Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm" (No. 21, p. 70) would then become - after independence in 1918 - the Estonian anthem. 

Then there were two more Estonian patriotic songs: "Mo isama on minno arm" and "Sind surmani" (No. 25-6, pp. 76-9). These are poems by Jannsen's daughter Lydia Koidula (1843-1886; see Wikipedia; see Hasselblatt, pp. 249-59) that were set to music by Alexander Kunileid (-Säbelmann; 1845-1875, see Wikipedia; see Arro, pp. 115-20), a graduate of Cimze's teacher seminary and an aspiring young composer. These two pieces may count as the first published original Estonian songs but - as musicologist Arro has shown - Kunileid had borrowed the tunes from a Finnish songbook.

The first one who took efforts to promote a more original Estonian repertoire was Carl Robert Jakobson (1841-1882; see Wikipedia; Arro, pp. 109-115; Hasselblatt, pp. 261-4), a teacher - also a graduate of Cimze's seminary -, journalist and a very productive writer, particularly of school-books (see erb). He criticized the predominance of the German songs at the festival and published a little booklet with five Estonian songs, all arranged for male choir. The title translates as "The Sounds of Wanemuine's Harp" and the god of music himself appeared on the cover:
  • Wanemuine Kandle Healed. Neljähealega meeste koorid. Eesti Laulupühaks 1869. Wälja annud C. R. Jakobson, Transchel, St. Petersburg, 1869 [erb], at digar 
The words of all five songs were by Lydia Koidula. Three of them - including the two published in the songbook for the festival - were set to music by Kunileid. But the melodies for the other two are described as "Eesti rahwawiis" (Estonian popular tunes): "Miks sa nuttad" & "Meil aia äärne tänawas". The source of these two is not clear but - as mentioned above - it was the first time that Estonian "folk-tunes" were used in a songbook for choirs. Unlike Jannsen Jakobson - who was very critical of the German cultural and economic dominance - had no problems with traditional songs and he saw them as a source for a future national repertoire. Two more anthologies appeared only shortly later and here he showed again that he had different ideas than Jannsen of what the Estonians should sing: 
  • Wanemuine Kandle Healed. Nelja healega meeste koorid. Wälja annud C. R. Jakobson. Toine jagu, W. Gläser, Tartu, 1871 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
  • Rõõmus Laulja. Kooli lugemise raamatu Wiisid. Wälja annud C. R. Jakobson. Esimene jagu: Kahe, kolme ja nelja healega laulud, laste ja segatud kooridele, Laakmann, Tartu, 1872 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
In the second volume of Wanemuine Kandle Healed the tunes of four of the 15 songs were described as "Eesti rahwawiis", collected by Jakobson himself or by Johannes Eglon (1836-1908; see Eesti Entsüklopeedia), another graduate of Cimze's seminary. Jakobson - C. R. Linnutaja was his pseudonym - also wrote new words for three of them and the fourth was combined with a text by Kreutzwald. Besides these there were also some pieces with tunes by Kunileid as well as songs from Finland and Hungary, two linguistically related peoples. 


Rõõmus Laulja was a songbook for schools and it looks a little bit different from Kuhlbars' earlier anthology. Of course Jakobson couldn't avoid at least some German songs. But there were five original Estonian pieces, four with "Eesti rahwawiis" and one written by Kunileid. He also again included a considerable amount of Finnish songs. All in all this looked like a deliberate attempt to push back the German repertoire and to promote his videas for the future development of Estonian national music. 

But one may say that Jakobson was at that time some steps ahead of what was possible. Other anthologies published at that time were still much more conservative in this respect: 
  • Friedrich Kuhlbars, Wanemuine ehk Neljakordne Laulu-Lõng. Laulud meestekoorile, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
  • Adelbert Hugo Willigerode, Laulo-salgokenne. Korilaulud Jummala nimmel Keisrile auuks rahwale roömuks soprano, alto, tenore ning basso heältest laulda. Essimenne jaggo, 24 kolilaste-pühha laulu, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb], at digar
    Adelbert Hugo Willigerode, Laulo-salgokenne. Korilaulud Jummala nimmel Keisrile auuks rahwale roömuks soprano, alto, tenore ning basso heältest laulda. Tölne jaggo: 24 kewwade aea laulo, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb; not yet digitized] 
  • Jaan Nebokat, Ilmalikud meestekoorid. Seminaride, kihelkonnakoolide ja lauluseltside tarwis wäljaantud. Saksakeelest ümberpandud, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb; not yet digitized] 
  • [Jaan Jung], Laulud kolme heälega. Keige laulu armastajatele, isseärranis Eesti kolidele ja lastele wäljawallitsetud, seatud ja üllespantud J. Jung, Laakmann, Tartu, 1871 [erb], at digar, at UofTartu
    [Jaan Jung] Laulud kahe ja kolme häälega ja kaanonid. Kõigile laulu armastajatele wälja annud J. Jung, 2. jagu, Laakmann, Tartu, 1876 [erb], at digar; at Uof Tartu 
All these collections offered a germanized repertoire and only very few or none Estonian songs. This was no wonder with Willigerode (1818-1893; see Wikipedia; Arro, pp. 79-80), a German clergyman with a lot of sympathy for the Estonian singing movement. He even was a honorary member of Wanemuine and Jannsen had asked him to be the chairman of the committee for the first song festival. But even younger Estonian teachers like Nebokat (1844-1908; see Wikipedia) and Jung (1835-1900; see Wikipedia) followed in Jannsen's footsteps and preferred songs from Germany. 

This decade also saw the first publications of Karl August Hermann who would become the most important and influential promoter of Estonian choral singing. Hermann (1851-1909; see Wikipedia; see Arro, pp. 155-83), born in a poor family, was at first trained as a teacher and then went to the university of Leipzig to study Mongolian and Slavic languages. There he received his doctorate. Back home in Tartu he made himself a name as a writer and scholar of astonishing productivity (see erb). He was busy as linguist, translator from German, author of books for children and instruction books for Russian, editor and journalist, he wrote a history of Estonian literature (1898, erb) and later even started an encyclopedia. 

But he also was a trained musician and became known as composer, songwriter, arranger, choirmaster, folklorist and popular music writer. Musicologist Arro is not fond of Hermann's abilities as composer but that is not the point. He took great efforts to create a repertoire for mostly rural choirs and singers and what was needed were simple songs in the popular style. That's exactly what he did. 
  • Eesti kannel. Neljä Häälega laulud segakoorile. Komponeerinud ja wälja annud K. A. Hermann, 1. wihk. Laakmann, Tartu, 1875 (= Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi Toimetused 5) [erb], at etera & the Internet Archive 
  • Koori ja kooli kannel. Walja Walitud mitme häälega segakoorilelaulud, kõigile lauluarmastajatele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külakoolidele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külaskoodile on kosku pannud K. A. Hermann. 1. anne, Laakmann, Tartu, 1875 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Karl August Hermann, Kodumaa Laulja. Waimulikud ja ilmulikud neljä häälega laulud meestekoorile. Esimene kogu Komponeerinud ja wälja annud K. A. Hermann, Laakmann, Tartu, 1877 (= Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi toimetused 7) [erb], at etera 
Both Eesti Kannel and Kodumaa Laulja included his own tunes with words - both religious and secular - written by himself and others. In fact at that time these two books presented the greatest number of new original Estonian songs. Nothing comparable had been published before and one may say that Hermann single-handedly created a national repertoire. It seems that at first he was not particularly interested in Estonian Volkslieder. In Eesti Kannel there is only one described as "Eesti rahwawiis" (No. 23, pp. 74-5). Koori ja kooli kannel was - as the title says - intended for schools and choirs and included nearly exclusively German songs. 

Another anthology for schools appeared in 1878. Ado Grenzstein (-Piirikivi; 1849-1916; see Wikipedia), also a teacher trained in Cimze's seminary, compiled this very interesting collection in six parts that was built mostly on European Volkslieder, not only from Germany but also from other countries from Italy to Latvia. 
  • Kooli laulmise raamat. Kuues jaos kirja pannud A. Grenzstein, I.-VI. jagu, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1878 (= Eesti Lirjameste Seltsi toimetused 15) [erb], at etera (in 1 Vol.) & the Internet Archive; at digar 

Here we can even find an Estonian version of "Robin Adair/Eileen Aroon", interestingly not based on any of the popular German versions but instead on the variant used by Boildieu in his La Dame Blanche (VI, No. 14, pp. 17-8). Grenzstein kept the share of German pieces to a minimum and included a considerable number of Estonian songs, both rahwalaulud and new works. This was the closest the school-children came to learn an Estonian national repertoire in an European context.

Grenzstein's collection was way ahead of its time. We can look into the songbooks for the Grand Song Festivals in 1879 and 1880 and see that - even though there is a little more diversity than a decade ago - the German songs still made up the greatest part of the songs performed:
  • Karl August Hermann, Eestirahwa teise Üleüldise Laulu-Pidu Meestekoorid. Tartu Wanemuine Seltsi wälja antud, Laakmann, Tartu, 1877 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Eesti tänu-laulu-pidu laulud. Kaiserliku Majestedi Alekasandri II. 25-aastase walitsuse juubeli-püha mälestuseks wälja annud pidu toimekond, Laakmann, Tartu, 1880 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Laulu-kogu. 1880-ma jubeli aasta mälestuseks. Wälja annud P. Abel ja Dr. M. Weske, J. Erlemanni, F. Säbelmanni ja teiste abiga, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1880 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
Another anthology from this time is a little bit different. Linde (1851-1908; see Wikipedia), also a graduate of Cimze's seminary, offered here mostly Latvian songs with Estonian texts: 
  • Adolf Linde, Lõbus Lõuke. Meeste healtele, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1881 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
During the 1880s Dr. Hermann was even more busy than before: 
  • Koori ja kooli kannel. Walja Walitud mitme häälega segakoorilelaulud, kõigile lauluarmastajatele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külakoolidele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külaskoodile on kosku pannud K. A. Hermann. 2. anne, Laakmann, 1882 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive; at etera 
  • Eesti kannel. Waimulikud ja ilmalikud segakoorilelaulud kirkus, koolis ja kodus laulda. Wälja annud K. A. Hermann. 2. wihk, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1883 [erb], at etera & the Internet Archive; at digar 
  • Eesti kannel. Neljä Häälega laulud segakoorile koolioas ja kodus laulda. 3. wihk. Trükki andnud K. A. Hermann, Laakmann, Tartu, 1884 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
The second volume of Koori ja kooli kannel included mostly German songs as well as a few by Estonian and Finnish composers. In the two volumes of Eesti kannel he was able to add works by some more Estonian composers and songwriters like Grenzstein-Piirikivi, Jung and young Miina Hermann (1864-1941, see Wikipedia) - not related but one of his pupils - who would later become the most important female composer in Estonia. 

Hermann also started a monthly musical periodical that was then published for more than a decade:
  • Laulu ja mängu leht. Kuukiri Eesti muusika edendamiseks. Wastuwaw toimentaja ja wääljandja Dr. K. A. Hermann, 1885-1897, 1908, at digar, at etera;
    Vol. 2, 1886; Vol. 3, 1887; Vol. 4, 1888, also at the Internet Archive  
Here the interested reader could find for example informative articles about composers, musicians, singers. The first four numbers of the second volume included texts about Beethoven, Liszt, Rubinstein, Wagner. And in No. 12 in Volume 4 there was even an article about Dr. Hermann by Dr. Hermann himself. This magazine was a major contribution to the musical education of the Estonians.


He also added a supplement with songs, mostly arranged for choirs. Of course Hermann was plugging his own works but otherwise he selected an interesting national and international repertoire. For example the fourth volume included translated German songs by Bach, Abt, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Gluck, Silcher and others, some pieces by Swedish composer August söderman as well as Russian, Finnish, Estonian and Latvian Volkslieder. He also offered young composers like Miina Hermann the opportunity to make their works available to a wider public. 

At around this time Hermann became more interested in Estonian rahwalaulud. He wrote some articles for the Laulu- ja mänguleht (for ex. in Vol. 3, 1887, pp. 9-10) and then in 1890 published the very first anthology of Estonian Volkslieder
  • Karl August Hermann, Eesti rahwalaulud. Segakoorile. Esimene wihk, Hermann, Tartu, 1890 (Eesti Kirjameeste seltsi tolmetused 89) [erb], at etera & the Internet Archive 


Here we can find a short introduction with some musical examples as well as 40 songs, all arranged for mixed choirs. Most of these tunes had been collected by Hermann himself, the rest by colleagues like Aleksander Thomsen (1845-1917, see Wikipedia), a teacher and composer, also a graduate of Cimze's seminary. The texts of most of these songs were also taken "from the mouth of the people" - "rahwa suust" - but some were combined with new lyrics by Hermann or others. All in all this was a very interesting anthology and also an attempt to reanimate traditional songs and make them usable for modern rural and urban choirs. 

Hermann announced this as the first volume but it took a while for the next booklets of this series to appear. Vols. 2 (see erb) and 3 (see erb; at the Internet Archive) only came out in 1905 respectively 1908. Instead he wrote a little treatise in German about Estonian Volkslieder that was published shortly later. Here he included 27 original melodies, mostly collected by himself: 
  • Karl August Hermann, Ueber estnische Volksweisen. Separat-Abdruck aus den Verhandlungen der gelehrten estnischen Gesellschaft zu Dorpat, Hermann, Dorpat, 1892, at UofTartu,
    -, in: Verhandlungen der gelehrten Estnischen Gesellschaft zu Dorpat 16, 1896, pp. 54-72, at the Internet Archive 
He complained that nobody had yet been interested in the songs of the Estonian people. The few printed in songbooks since 1869 had "vanished among the art songs". Volksmelodien weren't known "weil man das Volk zu wenig kannte". They only sang their songs in family circles but not when strangers, particularly Germans, were present. In recent years the traditional tunes were replaced by modern songs and only "old Estonian women in remote areas" still sing them.

This sounds reasonable and it should be recalled once again that generations of German pastors fought against their flock's traditional music and also a considerable part of the first generation of Estonian intellectuals and teacher weren't fond of the songs sung by the people. Hermann noted that during his youth 30 years ago he had heard many original folk tunes and he had been busy collecting them for a while. This booklet as well as his anthology were the results of his researches. What he tried was to bring "back" the old rural songs and make them usable for modern choral singing. 

His little treatise is still worth reading, not only because it was the very first attempt at discussing this genre. He tried a description of the different styles, from the eldest to the modern tunes. and also pointed out European influences on the more recent melodies. There are also some fancy speculations about a possible relationship to Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian music but such theories were not uncommon at that time. He simply tried to postulate a connection to the ancient civilizations to place the formerly so often derided music of the Estonians in a wider cultural context: "Es ist jedenfalls ein interessanter Gedanke, dass die alten Aegypter und die klassischen Griechen ebenso gesungen haben, wie die Esten bis auf die gegenwärtige Zeit" (p. 65). 

Later Hermann also tried to expand his operations to Germany. 150 songs from his Laulu- ja mängu leht translated into German were published in a massive anthology in 1893:
  • Karl August Hermann, Völkerlieder für vierstimmige gemischte Chöre. Eine Sammlung von 150 geistlichen und weltlichen volkstümlichen Kompositionen und Volksliedern der Italiener, Franzosen, Spanier; Russen, Tschechen, Serben, Letten; Niederländer, Engländer, Walliser, Schotten, Iren, Amerikaner, Schweden, Dänen, Norwegeer; Armenier; Inder; Esten, Finnen, Lappen, Tscheremissen, Magyaren; Türken; Chinesen; Japaner; Javaner. Für den Chorgebrauch gesammelt, bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Dr. K. H. Hermann, Klinkhardt, Leipzig, 1893, at BBF 
This was a very worthwhile collection of international Volkslieder, and it is clear that Hermann - someone from the European periphery - had a different outlook than those from the cultural centers in Germany or England. His selection was much more varied than what his German or English colleagues at that time had managed to put together. Unfortunately the Estonian part was somewhat disappointing because he preferred to promote his own songs instead of rahwalaulud

Meanwhile in Estonia other songbooks appeared and we can see that repertoire became more diverse. Estonian songs now made up a greater part than before. A good example is this collection for schools. Around a third of the 30 songs included are described as "Eesti rahwawiis" while the share of German songs was brought to a minimum. Instead the pupils get some more modern Estonian songs by Piirikivi and Hermann as well as some European Volkslieder, for example from Scotland and Sicily:
The anthologies produced for the song festivals in the 90s also show a more varied repertoire even though they remained more conservative than for example songbooks for schools. Nonetheless the greater number of Estonian songs - both modern pieces and rahwalaulud - is notable (see also Arro, p. 153): 
  • Neljanda üleüldise ja teise tänu-laulupidu segakoori laulud, Hermann, Tartu, 1891 (Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi toimetused 91) [erb], at digar & etera 
  • Neljanda üleüldise ja teise tänu-laulupidu meestekori laulud, Hermann, Tartu, 1891 (Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi toimetused 92) [erb], at digar 
  • Eesti Rahwa Wabastuse Seitsme-kümne-wiie Aasta Juubeli Tänulaulupidu laulud. Segakoorid, Laulupidu toimetawad seltsid, Jurjewis [Tartu], 1894 [erb], at digar 
  • Eesti Rahwa Wabastuse Seitsme-kümne-wiie Aasta Juubeli Tänulaulupidu laulud. Meestekoorid, Laulupidu toimetawad seltsid, Jurjewis [Tartu], 1894 [erb], at digar 
  • VI. Eesti üleüldise laulupidu meestekoorid. Trükki toimetanud K. Türnpu, Lootuse ja Estonia Selts, Tallin, 1896 [erb], at digar 
  • VI. Eesti üleüldise laulupidu segakoorid. Trükki toimetanud K. Türnpu, Lootuse ja Estonia Selts, Tallin, 1896 [erb], at digar 
I will close this little history of Estonian songbooks with another of Hermann's productions, a comprehensive anthology for all purposes and occasions: for schools, home, concerts and festivals. Here we can find a very diverse repertoire - both religious and secular - that shows how much had changed in this respect since the 1860s. There is still an emphasis on German songs but all in all what is offered here is much more balanced. The original Estonian repertoire consists mostly of Hermann's own songs but a few pieces by others as well as some rahwawiis are also included: 
  • Laulude raamat. Ilu-hääled kooli, kiriku, kodu, konzerdi ja pidu tarwituseks. Kokku seadnud ja wälja andund Dr. K. A. Hermann, Hermann, Jurjewis [Tartu], 1897 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive; at UofTartu 
We can see how a small group of teachers, writers and activists managed to create a kind of national repertoire. Music played a particularly important role for the development of Estonian culture. This was of course a slow process but all the more impressive. The Estonians were stuck between the dominant German culture on one side and the the Czarist government with their attempts at Russification on the other side. All publications were still subjected to censorship. Nonetheless they created a cultural space and used it as good as possible. 

Noteworthy was the lack of interest in traditional Estonian tunes. Here we can see that the longstanding prejudices against the musical culture of the Estonians were even shared by some important protagonists of the first generation of national activists, especially Jannsen. Over the years only a few tunes found its way into popular songbooks. Compared for example to the situation among the Latvians this was somewhat disappointing. And it is also interesting to see that most of the early collectors and popularizers of rahwalaulud - Jakobson, Kunileid, Thomsen, Grenzstein - had been trained in Cimze's seminary. They were clearly influenced by their Latvian colleagues. A more systematic collection of Estonian "folk tunes" only started after the turn of the century and in an European perspective this was really very late. 

Literature 
  • Walter Anderson: Das Lied von den zwei Königskindern in der estnischen Volksüberlieferung, in: Verhandlungen der Gelehrten Estnischen Gesellschaft 26, 1932, pp. 1-130, at UofTartu 
  • Longins Apkalns, Lettische Musik, Wiebaden, 1977 
  • Elmar Arro, Geschichte der Estnischen Musik. Band I, Tartu, 1933 
  • Cornelius Hasselblatt, Geschichte der estnischen Literatur. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Berlin & New York, 2006 
  • Kevin C. Karnes, A Garland of Songs for a Nation of Singers: An Episode in the History of Russia, the Herderian Tradition and the Rise of Baltic Nationalism, in: Journal of the Royal Musical Association 130, 2005, pp. 197-235 (dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrma/fki003
  • Dietmar Klenke: Der singende „deutsche Mann“. Gesangvereine und deutsches Nationalbewußtsein von Napoleon bis Hitler, Münster, 1998 
  • Helmut Loos, Deutsche Männergesangvereine im Ostseeraum und der Anfang der lettischen Singbewegung, in: Martin Loeser & Walter Werbeck, Musikfeste im Ostseeraum im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 2014, pp. 221-36 
  • Heinrich Rosenthal, Kulturbestrebungen des estnischen Volkes während eines Menschenalters (1869-1900). Erinnerungen, Cordes & Schenk, Reval, 1912, at the Internet Archive 
  • Guntis Šmidchens, The Power of Song. Nonviolent National Culture in the Baltic Singing Revolution, Seattle, London & Copenhagen, 2014

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Herder, Hupel and the Discovery of Baltic "Volkslieder" - Pt. 2


Part 1
I. Introduction
II. Pastor Hupel as a Collector of Estonian and Latvian Songs
III. Herder and the Baltic
IV. Herder's Volkslieder
V. Herder & Hupel after 1779 

Part 2
VI. New Perspectives 1780-1830
VII. Baltic Volkslieder since 1830
VIII. Towards Cultural and Political Emancipation
Literature 


VI. New Perspectives 1778 - 1820 

Herder's anthology can be regarded as turning-point for the perception of the culture of the Baltic peasants. It became a "catalyst that reinforced the legacy of folksong study among the German speaking minority of Livland" (Jaremko-Porter 2008a, p. 163). But one can't say that suddenly everybody set out to collect and publish Latvian and Estonian songs. It was more of a very slow process and only very few relevant publications appeared over the next several decades. 

At first one of the old hands, the already legendary pastor Stender, returned to the scene. It is not clear if he knew about Herder's Volkslieder and its new approach. But for a new edition of his Lettische Grammatik in 1783 he expanded the chapter about Latvian poetry and songs and even added some German translations (pp. 272-81). This was a competent and knowledgeable overview. But he still preferred to promote his own Latvian songs, those he wrote for educational purposes like the one "wider die Säufer" where he tried to emulate the "crude taste of the peasants" (p. 279). 

Some years later two interesting articles about the Estonians appeared in the Teutsche Merkur, at that time the most important periodical for the German literary intelligentsia (1787, 4, pp. 232-55; 1788, 2, here pp. 425-33; see also Meyer 1896, pp. 268-80). The author was one Christian Schlegel (1757-1842), a young theologian from Jena who had spent some years as a teacher in Estonia. He offered a considerable number of Estonian songs with German translations, some original tunes and also very informative notes. 


The first of these two articles, Volksgedichte der Esthnischen Nation, was also translated into English and appeared in 1795 in the Varieties of Literature (1, pp. 22-44), but without any reference to its source. Instead it was only described as a "Letter from a Friend". Samuel Taylor Coleridge then reprinted two songs as well as some explanatory notes in his Watchman (1, March 1, 1796, pp. 271-3). One of these songs was later borrowed by Maria Edgesworth for her Castle Rackrent and reprinted in the Glossary as "a curious specimen of Esthonian poetry" (1800, pp. xv-xvi; 4th ed., 1804, pp. 195-6): 
This is the cause that the country is ruined
And the straw of the thatch is eaten away;
The gentry are come to live in the land-
Chimneys between the village
[...] 
A decade after Schlegel's articles Garlieb Merkel (1769-1850), pastor, writer and a spirited fighter against serfdom and the political and cultural repression of the Baltic peasants, published his great book about Die Letten in Liefland am Ende des philosophischen Jahrhunderts (1797, here 2nd ed. 1800, at the Internet Archive). Already here he included some notes about the Latvians' songs and music (see pp. 55-7, pp. 61-2). The same year an article Ueber Dichtergeist und Dichtung unter den Letten with translations of several Latvian songs appeared in the Neue Teutsche Merkur, (1797, 2, pp. 29-49). This text was then recycled in his next important book, Die Vorzeit Lieflands. Ein Denkmahl des Pfaffen- und Rittergeistes (I, 1798, pp. 194-202). 

The year 1802 saw the publication of Johann Gottlieb Petri's Ehstland und die Ehsten, a comprehensive treatise about the Estonians in three volumes, a "historisch-geographisch-statistisches Gemälde von Ehstland". The author, another theologian from Germany who had spent 12 years as a teacher in the Baltic and in Russia (see Heeg 1985), also included some remarks about Estonian songs and music (pp. 67-72, at EEVA). But unlike Schlegel and Merkel he didn't offer anything new. This small chapter was mostly derived from Hupel's works. 

Gustav Bergmann, a pastor already involved in Hupel's efforts to collect Latvian songs for Herder, had over the years amassed a great number of texts. He published them in two volumes in 1807 and 1808 and also printed another collection by colleague (see Biezais 1961). It is not clear if he knew about Herder's Volkslieder and if he had assimilated some of his thoughts (see Jaremko-Porter 2012, pp. 143-4; Scholz 1995, pp. 571-2). But it seems he remained an old-fashioned antiquarian collector in the style of Hupel and Stender. This little booklets only included the Latvian texts. Bergmann had printed them himself in only very small numbers and therefore they were barely known outside of his home. But at least Gottfried von Tielemann, teacher, writer and also editor of Livona, a popular anthology for the Baltic provinces, had seen a copy and he wrote a helpful and worthwhile little treatise Über die Volkslieder der Letten (1812, pp. 177-96) and also included some translated texts.


Pastor Bergmann also happened to become acquainted with the Scottish ballad scholar Robert Jamieson who at that time just spent some years as teacher in Riga. He gave him copies of these collections and also translated all the songs for him into German. Parts of two songs - in Latvian with an English translation - were then included in the Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, the great anthology of old Scandinavian and German epic poetry compiled by Jamieson together with Sir Walter Scott and Henry Weber (1814, pp. 469-70; see Biezais, pp. 27-9). As far as I know this was the first time that Latvian songs were made available in Britain. 

Meanwhile in Reval another learned pastor, Johann Heinrich Rosenplänter, had started with his Beiträge zur genaueren Kenntnis der esthnischen Sprache. 20 Volumes were published between 1813 and 1832 (available at BSB, the Internet Archive and EEVA) and some of them offered interesting collections of Estonian songs, texts only of course, as well as informative treatises (see f. ex. 1, 1813, pp. 11-2; 2, 1813, pp. 15-34, pp. 71-4; 4, 1815, pp. 134-65; 7, 1817, pp. 32-87). Translations were only rarely included and therefore most of these articles were only suitable for specialist with a knowledge of the language. 

In 1817 Bavarian diplomat and scholar François Gabriel de Bray's Essai Critique sur l'Histoire de la Livonie was published. In this excellent treatise on the history of Livonia we can find some remarks about music and songs with the old "Jörru, Jörru" from Kelch's Historia as an example (pp. 54-5). He also quoted from an unpublished work by a pastor Masing who had collected this song only recently from oral tradition (pp. 286-8; later in Beiträge 10, 1818, pp. 60-71). 

In 1821 young Estonian poet and scholar Kristian Jaak Peterson (1801-1822; see Wikipedia & EEVA) published his German translation of Christfried Ganander's Mythologia Fennica (at the Internet Archive & EEVA). He included additional examples from Estonian tradition (see f. ex. pp. 26-7). Two years later a handful of "Nachbildungen Esthnischer Volkslieder" were made available in the St. Petersburgische Zeitschrift (12, 1823, pp. 127-8; pp. 254-6). The author was one Heinrich Neus, (1795-1876, see Wikipedia & EEVA), formerly a student of theology in Dorpat and at that time already school inspector. He will reappear several times again in the course of this story. 

Nearly all of these works were produced by German scholars and writers, mostly theologians. They played the major role in this field. Estonians and Latvians were of course rarely involved. Serfdom would only be abolished in the Baltic provinces between 1816 and 1819. At least some of these writers - particularly Merkel, the truest Herderian among them - showed a less antiquarian and more forward-looking perspective. But at that time there was not yet any kind of systematic collection of songs. Individual scholars - especially Bergmann and Rosenplänter - managed to acquire considerable numbers of songs but they still were not able to discuss them in a wider context. It also appears that barely anyone except Schlegel cared about the music. Otherwise they all collected and published many texts but only rarely the associated tunes. 

Herder may have brought the Estonians and Latvians onto the European literary stage but for a very long time they were still relegated to the background and rarely noted or discussed by intellectuals, scholars and the general readership in the European cultural centers. One should remember that this was a time when poetry and also songs from even the remotest parts of world were already easily available. 

For some reason the Lithuanians fared a little bit better. Already in 1808 a literary adaptation appeared. Popular writer M. G. Lewis, the first one England who borrowed texts from Herder's Volkslieder - in his novel The Monk (1795) and in the Tales of Wonder (1801; see Guthke 1957 & 1958) - also used one of the Lithuanian songs for his ballad "The Dying Bride" in the Romantic Tales (II, p. 115, see I, p. xiii). "Eine littauische Daina (Liebesliedchen)" was discussed in the AMZ in 1812 (pp. 25-28). 

In 1825 the first comprehensive anthology of Lithuanian songs appeared: Rhesa's Dainos oder Litthauische Volkslieder (at the Internet Archive; see Šmidchens, pp. 59-61) offered original texts, translations into German and even some tunes and was well-received in Germany. Jacob Grimm wrote a review for the Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen (1826, St. 104, pp. 1025-1035). Goethe - interested in the Baltic since he had met Herder more than 50 years ago - also put his thoughts to paper. But his review wasn’t published at that time (later in Sämmtliche Werke 33, 1844, pp. 339-41; see also Hennig 1987, pp. 298-90).

Adelbert von Chamisso (1781-1838), poet and scholar, created adaptations of four songs from this book (see Gedichte, 1834, pp. 154-60). One of them, "Lied einer Wittwe" ("Her zogen die Schwäne mit Kriegsgesang"), became very popular and was regularly reprinted in other anthologies, even in books for schools like Wackernagel's Auswahl deutscher Gedichte für höhere Schulen (1836, No. 255, p. 254). 

Thanks to the melodies included by Rhesa some of his songs also found its way into musical anthologies. Zuccalmaglio and Baumstark used one in their Bardale (1829, No. 21, p. 36), the first German collection of international national airs. Five of them were then included in O. L. B. Wolff's Braga, another anthology of this kind in 14 volumes (1835, here Vol. 14, Nos. 1-5, pp. 3-9). Apparently Wolff - who otherwise had an encyclopedic knowledge in this field - wasn't able to find some Estonian or Latvian songs. 

He also plundered Rhesa's collection for his later anthologies of only texts, Halle der Völker. Sammlung der vorzüglichsten Volkslieder der bekanntesten Nationen (1837, II, here pp. 132-9) and Hausschatz der Volkspoesie. Sammlung der vorzüglichsten und eigenthümlichsten Volkslieder aller Länder und Zeiten (1846, here f. ex. pp. 123-4), while missing out the rest of the Baltic except for one Estonian song borrowed from Herder. Other popular anthologies of this kind from this time also preferred Lithuanian texts. One may only look into Die Volksharfe. Sammlung der schönsten Volkslieder aller Nationen published in six volumes in 1838. Here we find three of Chamisso's poems (6, Nos. 57-9, pp. 69-74). Otherwise the Baltic people are - once again - only represented by two of Herder's Estonian songs (1, No. 56, p. 117, 2, No. 6, pp. 9-10). 

In fact Lithuanian songs were generally much better known in Germany and also much easier to find. A second edition of Rhesa's collection appeared in 1843 (at the Internet Archive) and new anthologies followed soon, for example Jordan's Litthauische Volkslieder und Sagen (1844, at the Internet Archive). Meanwhile Latvian and Estonian songs still took a backseat. Much of what had already been published - by Merkel, Schlegel, Hupel and others - seems to have been forgotten. Only the Baltic chapter of Herder's Volkslieder occasionally served as a source. What was made available anew often didn't reach the mainstream. 


VII. Baltic Volkslieder since 1830 

In Britain not much was published. In 1830 William Taylor included in the chapter about Herder in his Historic Survey of German Poetry two of the Estonian songs from the Volkslieder as well as one Lithuanian (pp. 16-8). This was the first time since M. G. Lewis' publications three decades ago that texts from Herder's anthology were published in English translation. The Volkslieder were barely known there. 

But the following year a much more interesting piece appeared in the Foreign Quartely Review ( 8, 1831, pp. 61-78). Pastor Bergmann's anthologies of Latvian dainas, brought to England by Robert Jamieson, also reached - via Sir Walter Scott - the well-known polyglot writer John Bowring (1792-1872; see Wikipedia) who had already published translations of, for example, Finnish, Russian, Serbian, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch and Spanish poetry. He wrote a treatise about "Lettish Popular Poetry" and also tried his hand at translating some of these texts into English. Bowring's linguistic abilities were somewhat controversial. He often seems to have relied on the help native speakers or used German translations as starting-point (see f. ex. Lurcock 1974). It is not clear who helped him with this work. By all accounts he didn't know the manuscript with the German texts that Bergmann had given to Jamieson (see Biezais, pp. 29-30). 

This article quickly reached Germany. A short piece in the Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung (2, 1831, pp. 1379-80) offered "Proben lettischer Volkslieder und Poesie". But the anonymous author simply translated some of Bowring's English texts into German. One may assume that these few examples had not much to do with the original songs as collected by Bergmann. Three years later Baltic-German pastor and scholar Carl Christian Ulmann (1793-1871, see Wikipedia) - at that time already the foremost expert in this field - reviewed Bowring's treatise and criticized him for his bad translations. In fact he accused him of not knowing the language at all, a not unreasonable assumption (in Dorpater Jahrbücher 2, 1834, pp. 393-407). Nonetheless this work was also translated into German and appeared in the Magazin, herausgegeben von der Lettisch-literärischen Gesellschaft (5, 1835, pp. 28-86). 

Meanwhile in Germany Christian Schlegel had returned to the scene. He had made a career in the bureaucracy of the Russian Empire but still had enough time at hand for traveling around (see Paucker 1847; Kallas 1902, pp. 16-18). Schlegel reported about these trips in his Reisen in mehrere russische Gouvernements, published in 10 volumes between 1819 and 1834. He kept on collecting - apparently with the help of local clergymen - songs of all the peoples he visited, especially of the Estonians. A great number of texts - in German translation - as well as some tunes can be found scattered among several volumes of this series (see f. ex. Vol. 5, 1830, pp. 108-63; Tab. I & II). Unlike others he really enjoyed what he heard and took great care to describe it accurately. He also tried to compare the Estonians' songs and performances with what he had read about the national music of other peoples. 


The 10th volume (1834) included a great number of texts - about 100 - but I haven't yet seen a copy. It seems this was a very rare book. For some reason the editors of popular anthologies of international songs like O. L. B. Wolff weren't familiar with Schlegel's highly interesting works and never used any of the songs from his books. But at least it was taken note of by local scholars in the Baltic. Heinrich Neus wrote an extended and informative review (in: Dorpater Jahrbücher 5, 1836, pp. 217-32). 

At that time most of the research into the popular poetry and songs of the Latvians and Estonians was done by German-Baltic scholars. Learned societies had already been founded: the Lettisch-literärische Gesellschaft in 1824 (see Scholz 1990, pp. 121-4) and the Estnische Gelehrte Gesellschaft in 1838. Their periodicals regularly included relevant articles as well as original texts, often with translations (see Kallas 1901, pp. 60-1). Ulmann had already called for the systematic collection of Latvian songs in the Latvian society's Magazin (Vol. 3, p. 282). A very insightful treatise "Über das lettische Volkslied" by Hermann E. Katterfeld can be found in the fifth volume of the Magazin (pp. 1-27; see Scholz 1990, pp. 160-2). 

Neus published Estonian texts in several volumes of Das Inland. Wochenschrift für Liv-, Esth- und Kurland's Geschichte, Geographie, Statistik und Litteratur (see f. ex. Vol. 6, 1841, pp. 671-2, 753-4, 782-9, 811-6, at UofTartu Rep.). F. R. Kreuzwald (1803-1882; see Wikipedia) - not a German but from an Estonian family - also wrote an informative treatise for the Verhandlungen der Gelehrten Estnischen Gesellschaft (f. ex. in Vol. 2.2, 1848, pp. 43-59). But it seems that these works rarely reached Germany or England. Most of these scholars' knowledge as well as the songs they were collecting and publishing remained confined to small Baltic-German circles. 

During the 1840s only very few more relevant publications appeared in Germany. Johann Georg Kohl (1808 - 1878; see Wikipedia; wikisource), librarian and writer from Bremen had spent several years as a teacher in the Baltic and also traveled through parts of the Russian Empire. In 1841 his book Die Deutsch-Russischen Ostseeprovinzen oder Natur- und Völkerleben in Kur-, Liv und Esthland was published. He included chapters about the poetry, songs and music of both the Latvians and Estonians and quoted a great number of texts in German translation (II, pp. 119-186; pp. 223-36; see Viese 1989; Jaremko-Porter 2008a, p. 147, pp. 174-6). 

These were interesting and knowledgeable treatises and it is clear that Kohl - who called the Latvians a "nation of poets" - had done his homework. He was well aware of the history of collecting and criticized the German clergy of earlier times for their attempts to suppress the Baltic peasants' singing culture. Kohl was also able to describe the different genres as well as the performance contexts. All in all this was a competent addition to the literature and also suitable for a wider readership in Germany. Unfortunately he didn't include any tunes. 

Georg Friedrich Daumer (1800-1875; see Wikipedia), philosopher and poet from Nürnberg, was an expert for oriental poetry. But he also tried his hand at Baltic songs. A small collection of translations, "Lieder der Letten und Esthen", can be found in the Kalender auf das Jahr 1843 (München 1842, here pp. 58-62). Four years later Daumer published his Hafis. Eine Sammlung persischer Gedichte. Nebst poetischen Zugaben aus verschiedenen Völkern und Ländern and here he included a long chapter dedicated to "Lettisch-Litthauische Volkspoesie" as well as another one with Estonian songs (pp. 227-280). With these translations the Latvian and Estonian peasants returned onto to the literary stage. 

Compilers of anthologies of literature occasionally used Daumer's text, for example Heinrich Scherr in his popular Bildersaal der Weltliteratur. He not only reprinted some of Rhesa's and Chamisso's texts in a chapter titled "Volkslieder aus Polen und Lithauen" (pp. 1163-5) but also added some of Daumer's pieces under the heading "Lieder der Letten" (pp. 1187-8). Some of his adaptations were also reprinted 12 years later in a curious collection edited by Amara George (i. e. Mathilde Kaufmann): Mythotherpe. Ein Mythen-, Sagen- und Legendenbuch (1858, pp. 106-20). Here the readers could find a lot of exotic poetry not only from Europe but also from around the world and the few Baltic texts were placed here in a chapter including translations of Finnish, Siberian, Polish and Serbian songs and poems. 

The year 1846 also saw the publication of Friedrich Kruse's Ur-Geschichte des Esthnischen Volksstammes und der Kaiserlich Russischen Ostseeprovinzen Liv-, Esth- und Curland überhaupt. Kruse, at that time professor of history in Dorpat , added a short chapter about "Volkslieder der Letten und Esthen" (pp. 169-74, see also p. 47) with several texts as well as two melodies, one Estonian and one Latvian. The latter was particularly important. It was - as far as I can see - the first time since Hupel in 1782 that a Latvian traditional tune was made available in print. 


A more systematic collection and publication also started during the 1840s. In 1844 pastor G. F. Büttner published his Latweeschu lauschu dzeesmas un singes (at Google Books & ÖNB), the first comprehensive anthology of Latvian songs. But he only included the original texts and because of the lack of translations this otherwise very valuable collection was not really suitable for a more general readership. But at least the introduction and the notes were in German and an interesting and helpful review in a Baltic-German periodical also offered at least some information to readers not proficient in Latvian (11, No. 13, 26.3.1846, pp. 293-8). 

Much better in this respect was Heinrich Neus' Ehstnische Volkslieder. Urschrift und Übersetzung (1850-52, 3 Vols, at the Internet Archive). This was at that time a definitive anthology of Estonian songs and here the reader could find the original texts, translations into German, a good introduction as well as explanatory notes. Another collection appeared four years later: Mythische und Magische Lieder der Ehsten (1854, at the Internet Archive) by Neus and Friedrich Kreutzwald. The music was missing in all these volumes but most scholars were more interested in the words of the songs than the tunes. 

But nonetheless this was a good start. Scholars of Baltic song culture as well as compilers of literary anthologies now had a little more to select from. One may have a look for example at Wolfgang Menzel's Gesänge der Völker, another collection of the texts of international songs published in 1851. These kind of anthologies - all of course modeled on Herder's Volkslieder - were very popular in Germany. Menzel, a well-known and very productive poet, critic and scholar, did not yet know Neus' Ehstnische Volkslieder - this is understandable because the first part had just been published the year before - but at least he was familiar not only with Herder, Rhesa and Chamisso but also with Schlegel's and Kruse's publications (see pp. 76, 152-6, 290-1, 347, 365-6). Therefore his selection of Baltic songs was a little more varied than what earlier similar anthologies like Wolff's or the Volksharfe had offered. 

But several publications from the 1860s - from England, Germany and Denmark - show that the reception of the works of the Baltic-German scholars and also of the older literature was still somewhat limited. English linguist and ethnologist Robert Gordon Latham included in his Nationalities of Europe (Vol. 1, 1863, here pp. 23-42, pp. 132-45, pp. 148-50) chapters about both the Lithuanians and the Estonians. He also discussed their "poetry" and quoted a considerable number of songs in English translation. For the former he used an anthology published in the meantime, Nesselmann's Littauische Volkslieder (1853, at the Internet Archive). For the Estonians he could rely on Neus' great collection but didn't use anything  else. Strangely there is only a short and not particularly insightful remark about the Latvians (p. 102). Perhaps he wasn't familiar with what was available. 

Johann Georg Kohl, at that time one of the most successful travel writers in Europe, offered another contribution to this field and made again use of his research in the Baltic. Die Völker Europas (1868, pp. 284-303; 2nd ed., 1872, pp. 156-73), a popular ethnography of the peoples of Europe for a wider readership, included a chapter about Latvians and Lithuanians. This was an interesting and informative presentation of their history and he also quoted from several songs.


Latham and Kohl only used texts. More problematic was the music. Not much was available. Carl Engel, a German scholar and musician living in England, was at that time surely one of the greatest experts for international national airs. His Introduction to the Study of National Music (1866) can be regarded as the most comprehensive contemporary discussion of this genre. The bibliography list nearly all relevant anthologies of songs. He was of course familiar with the Lithuanian collections by Rhesa and by Nesselmann (p. 404). The latter also included some tunes. But the Estonians are only represented - besides a book of hymns - by Neus' anthology of texts and the chapter in Latham's Nationalities of Europe (p. 387). Apparently the few older publications with tunes - like Hupel's, Schlegel's and Kruse's - weren't known to him. The Latvians are not even mentioned. 

The largest anthology of international Volkslieder at that time was Danish composer A. P. Berggreen's Folke-sange og Melodier, Faedrelandske og Fremmede, published in 10 volumes during the 1860s. He also included a couple of Lithuanian songs (in Vol. 9, 1869, pp. 3-20) taken from Rhesa and Nesselmann. Latvian and Estonian songs are completely missing. ´

Some original Latvian traditional tunes had already been published in 1859 in 100 dseesmas un singes ar nohtem, a collection of songs for the youth compiled by the pastor Juris Caunītis and the teacher Jānis Kaktiņš (from Karnes, p. 205, p. 219, n. 64, see Das Inland 25, 1860, p. 151). But one may assume that this booklet was barely known outside of the Baltic. The first Latvian anthology including some tunes aimed at an international readership would only be available in the following decade. Lettische Volkslieder übertragen im Versmaass der Originale by Karl Ulmann - son of Carl Christian Ulman - appeared in 1874 (see Karnes 2005, pp. 212-4). Here the interested reader could find German translations of original songs - but no Latvian texts - as well as 11 melodies (see Anhang). This wasn't much and also much too late, nearly a century after Herder and 50 years after the publication of Rhesa's Lithuanian collection. 

It was also during the '70s that Latvian tunes appeared in a musical publication in Germany, in Baltic-German composer Hans Schmidt's Weisen fremder Völker mit hinzugedichtetem Texte (c. 1879, here pp. 12-3). He was from Riga and one may assume that he was familiar with the musical traditions of the Latvians. A more systematic collection and publication of a greater number of Latvian tunes only started in the 1870s (see Biezais, pp. 22-4; Apkalns, pp. 149-52; Boiko 1994; Karnes 2005).

Jānis Cimze (1814-1881; see Wikipedia), a teacher and musician who had studied in Germany, compiled the series Dseesmu rohta jaunekļeem un wihreem (1872-84). Here the songs were offered with arrangements for choirs. But his important and influential anthologies were barely known outside of the Baltic. In 1890 composer Adam Ore's Lettische Volkslieder. Latweeschu Tautas Dseesmas, für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte (at the Internet Archive) was published. This little booklet may have been more suitable for a wider public. German translations of the original texts were included.

Estonian tunes also remained quite rare. Two songs described as "Eesti rahwaviis" can be found in Wanemuine kandle healed (p. 13, p. 16), a small collection of original Estonian songs arranged for four voices that was published by Carl Robert Jakobson (1841-1882; see Wikipedia) in 1869. Some more were included in similar publications. The first anthology - also with arrangements for choirs - only appeared in 1890: Karl August Hermann’s Eesti rahwalaulud (at the Internet Archive). Hermann (1851-1909; see Wikipedia), journalist, linguist and composer, also wrote the first treatise about this topic: Ueber estnische Volksweisen (1892, at UofTartu Rep.; also in: Verhandlungen 16, 1896, pp. 54-72). In fact at that time he did the most for a revival of the old traditional tunes. 


Here we can look into some musical anthologies of national songs from all over the the world that were published around the turn of the century in England and Germany, for example Reimann's Internationales Volksliederbuch (c. 1894, see pp. 2-3) or the Characteristic Songs and Dances of All Nations by Alfred Moffatt and James Duff Brown (c. 1901, see p. 150). At best one can find there some Lithuanian songs. Both the Latvians and the Estonians were still completely ignored. 

But at least Latvian songs would become more visible on the music market after the turn of the century. The works of composer Jāzeps Vītols ([Joseph Wihtol] 1863-1948; see Wikipedia; see Apkalns 1977, pp. 247-64) were particularly important in this respect. His 100 Latweeschu tautas dseesmas. 100 Lettische Volksweisen (1908, at IMSLP), with German texts by poet Rūdolfs Blaumanis, was the most comprehensive anthology so far and the first to offer a greater selection of Latvian Volkslieder for an international audience.


VIII. Towards Cultural and Political Emancipation

This was only a quick review of works including original or translated texts that were published until the 1860s and - to show the negligence of the musical dimension - of songs with tunes that were published until the turn of the century. It is clear to see that the reception of Estonian and Latvian Volkslieder in the West - here in Germany and England - during the 19th century was somewhat limited. It was a very slow and uneven process. As noted before: Herder may have lifted the Baltic peasants out of literary obscurity and placed the on the main stage. But for most of the time they were barely visible. 

As I tried to show only very few writers or scholars in Germany or England showed some interest and offered major contributions: historians like de Bray and Kruse, ethnologists like Latham, travel writers like Schlegel und Kohl, translators of poetry like Bowring and poets like Daumer. At that time poets in Germany produced translations of foreign poetry and songs on assembly line. But Daumer was the only one who offered a greater number of adaptations of Baltic texts. 

Also many composers were busy setting these kind of translations to new music but a look into Hofmeisters Monatsberichte shows that only very few of them tried their hand at Latvian and Estonian songs. The old "Jörru, Jörru" - usually taken from Herder's Volkslieder - was supplied with a new tune a couple of times, for example by Julius Rietz (see Hofmeister, 1841, p. 80). Jakob Rosenhain used one of Daumer's texts ("Sehnlich in die Runde") for his "Esthnisches Volkslied" (here in Album für Gesang, c. 1860, Nr. 17, pp. 62-5). Alexander Winterberger wrote new tunes for two of Daumer's Latvian or Lithuanian adaptations. They can be found in his 20 Gesänge (Op. 10, 1862, here Nos. 5 & 6; see Hofmeister, 1862, p. 182). On the title-page both are called "Lettisches Volkslied". This was - by the way - a very interesting and not untypical collection of Lieder. Besides the two Baltic texts he also set to music both German poems by Uhland und Heine and translations of songs and poems from the Britain by Burns, Moore, Byron and Hemans. 

At that time only very few Volkslied-scholars used collections of Baltic songs for comparative research. Ludwig Uhland referred to a Latvian text in his - posthumously published - Abhandlung über die deutschen Volkslieder (1866, here p. 67). But it seems he only knew Herder and Rhesa's Lithuanian anthology. Alexander Reifferscheid, editor of Westfälische Volkslieder in Wort und Weise (1879, pp. vx-xvi) listed both Neus' and Ulmann's anthologies in his bibliography. 

For some reason most of the great work done by the Baltic-German scholars was often ignored and not taken note of outside of their own small circles. The lack of easily accessible handy anthologies with translations and melodies seems to have been a serious problem. Not at least some of the important older relevant publications were more or less forgotten. For example Schlegel's Reisen, a real treasure trove of Estonian songs and tunes, fell quickly into oblivion. Even in later years much of what was known about Baltic song culture didn't reach a wider readership. 

Here we can look into one more anthology of popular songs, ballads and poetry from around the world. Grabow's Die Lieder aller Völker und Zeiten - "Nach dem Vorbilde von J. G. Herder's 'Stimmen der Völker'" - with around 700 texts on more than 650 pages was published in 1880. The editor - who plundered many earlier collections of this kind - was able to include even Chinese or Persian poems as well as songs of the North American Indians. But his knowledge of the Baltic was rather uneven. Of course he offered a considerable amount of Lithuanian songs - all again from Rhesa's influential anthology - but there are only very Estonian texts - mostly from Herder's Volkslieder - and only one Latvian (pp. 295-6). Apparently he wasn't aware of what was already available at that time. 

In fact the international reception of the research and the publications by the Baltic-German scholars left a lot to be desired. But at home their work was all the more important and influential. Rosenplänter, Ulmann, Neus and Büttner have already been mentioned. I could add for example August Bielenstein (1826-1907, see Wikipedia), another collector and editor of Latvian songs - the two volumes of his Latweeschu tautas dseesmas appeared in 1874/5 (see Biezais, pp. 7-8) - and Ferdinand Wiedemann (1805-1887; see Wikipedia), author of Aus dem innern und äussern Leben der Ehsten (1876, at the Internet Archive), a groundbreaking treatise on Estonian folklore. They all were primarily linguists, they studied the Estonian and Latvian languages. Therefore their emphasis on texts and the negligence of tunes is of course understandable. Most of them had studied theology and they later became pastors and teachers. Ulmann was even appointed bishop. 

It should be remembered that their predecessors during the 17th and 18th centuries, both the rabid fighters against paganism like Einhorn and the well-meaning enlightened pastors like Stender and Hupel, were not really fond of the Latvians' and Estonians' own singing culture. They of course had started to document and describe what they saw and heard. But it would not be too far off to say that their ultimate goal was surely the eradication such unwelcome and dangerous traits of the Baltic peasants' traditional culture. This was exactly what Herder had criticized so harshly. But of course they were never completely successful. The Latvians and Estonians showed considerable resilience against this kind of cultural repression and managed preserve much of what their German teachers and pastors despised or even regarded as a sin. 

This new generation of learned clergymen that was busy during the 19th century showed much more understanding and much more interest for what their flock was singing. Of course they taught them tunes of songs and hymns imported from Germany or simply translated German songs - both secular and religious - into Latvian and Estonian (see f. ex. Karnes, pp. 204-5). But some of them - not all of course - learned to apply a more Herderian perspective and they managed to find some real value in the traditional songs of the Baltic peasants, not only as a source for studying their languages but also as a legitimate testimony of their "national spirit" that was about to die out (see f. ex. Karnes, p. 210-14; also Smidchens, pp. 61-2, Scholz 1995, p. 573). The Baltic-German scholars documented what was left and preserved it for the future. That way they laid an indispensable foundation for the later cultural - and ultimately also - political emancipation of the Latvians and Estonians (see Jürjo 1995). 

The first generation of Latvian and Estonian intellectuals and scholars that came to the fore during the second half of the century - what is called the era of "national awakening" - could seamlessly continue these efforts. "Armed with a Herder-inspired Romantic nationalist ideology mediated through the works of three generations of Baltic German writers and armed with a vast store of cultural artefacts" collected and documented so far (Karnes, p. 215) they set out to define and create their national culture (see also f. ex. Jaremko-Porter 2008a, pp. 176-87; Ŝmidchens, pp. 63-106, Scholz 1990, passim; Apkalns, pp. 148-63; for a wider context: Joachimsthaler 2007). 

This is another story that I can't go into here but at least some names should be mentioned. Friedrich Kreutzwald - the son of an Estonian bondman who studied medicine and became a physician - was a pioneer in this respect. He also created the Kalevipoeg (see Wikipedia), the future Estonian national epic. Jakob Hurt (1839-1906; see Wikipedia; Scholz 1990, pp. 148-50), pastor and teacher, linguist and folklorist, wrote his first treatise about Estonian legends. It was published in 1863 by the Estnische Gelehrte Gesellschaft (at the Internet Archive). He later became the chairman of the Eesti Kirjameeste Selts, the first Estonian literary society (1872, see Scholz 2013, p. 112). His anthology of Estonian songs appeared between 1875 and 1884 (at Google Books, at etera): Vana Kannel. Täieline kogu vanu Eesti rahvalauluzid. Alte Harfe. Vollständige Sammlung alter estnischer Volkslieder. He still included German translations so international scholars could use it. 

Others filled gaps left by the Baltic-German scholars. Choral singing had become immensely popular among Latvians and Estonians but at first their repertoire consisted predominantly of songs translated from German. Jakobson, Herrmann and Cimze published traditional tunes, not for academic purposes but to create a national song repertoire. For centuries Western observers had decried the Baltic peasants' singing. What they heard had been described as "kläglichs Geschrey" and "schreyende Gesänge" or as howling like the wolves. Now they were "transformed into singing nations at national song festivals, which established a distinct public culture to carry the message of nationalism" (Šmidchens, p. 78; see also Karnes, p. 201; Loos 2014). 

Of course I have to mention teacher and writer Krišjānis Barons (1835-1923; see Wikipedia; see Scholz 1990, pp. 164-7) who started in 1878 what would become a life-long project: the collection and systematic review of the Latvian dainas (see Biezais, pp. 8-13). The first volume began to appear in 1894 and this would be the most comprehensive and most important edition even though at first it was only printed in very small numbers. 

For nearly all of them the traditional songs were a part of their national identity. They had in fact become a means of cultural - and in the end also political - emancipation. Herder had laid the foundation and it was his work, his reappraisal of the up to that point more or less despised traditional song culture of the Baltic peasants as their own legitimate national literature that can be seen as one of the starting-points for this process. This development was of course only possible under the right political, economical and cultural circumstances: first the abolishment of serfdom, then the growing literacy and the emergence of a small but influential group of intellectuals who took the chance and set out to define what they regarded as Latvian respectively Estonian national culture.  


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  • [SWS 25 = ] Johann Gottfried Herder, Sämmtliche Werke XXV. Herausgegeben von Bernhard Suphan. Poetische Werke 1. Herausgegeben von Carl Redlich, Weidmann, Berlin, 1885, at the Internet Archive 
  • Karl Wagner, Briefe an Johann Heinrich Merck von Göthe, Herder, Wieland und andern bedeutenden Zeitgenossen. Mit Merck's biographischer Skizze, Diehl, Darmstadt, 1835, at the Internet Archive 
  • Alexander Wegner, Herder und das lettische Volkslied, in: Deutsche Blätter für erziehenden Unterricht 54, 1927, pp. 315-8, 323-6, 331-4 
  • Sabine Wienker-Piepho, Herder and the Development of his Volkslied Concept during his Time in Riga, in: Dace Bula & Sigrid Rieuwerts (eds.), Singing the Nations: Herder's Legacy, Trier, 2008 (= Ballads and Songs - International Studies 4), pp. 30-39 

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