Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/634

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


322

��SONG.

��the Palatinate, cannot have been favourable to it. But no political or social troubles could affect its existence so deeply as an invasion upon its own ground by the Kunstlied. As long as the artistic song dwelt apart, among learned musicians, the Volkslied had little to fear. But when once it had become simple and melodious enough to be easily caught by the people, the Volkslied was supplanted: its raison d'etre was gone. In churches and schools, at concerts and theatres, the public grew habituated to the artistic song, and the old Volkslieder faded from memory. The few that retained any popularity were in the modern tonal system. The volksthiiinliches Lied is, in short, a combination of the Volkslied and the Kunstlied, and its area of capacity is a very wide one. In the hands of a true master it rises to a high level of poetic beauty, and in the hands of a bad workman it can descend to any depths of stupidity or vulgarity, without ceasing to be volksthiimlich. Songs there were, undoubtedly, before the time of J. A. Hiller, to which this epithet could properly be applied; but he was the first to secure for them a thoroughly popular recognition. He belonged to the second half of the 1 8th century, and was really an operatic com- poser. It was the songs in his ' Singspiele ' which took so strong a hold of the public. [See HILLER, J. A. ; SINGSPIEL.] A favourite tune from his Singspiel 'Die Jagd' will serve as a specimen of his style :

, Commodetto.

-I ! M

��I

��1

��Als ich auf mei-ne Dakamausdemge-

�� ��Blei - che ein Stflckchen Garn be - goss I Das sprach, ach habt er- strfiu-che ein Mad - chen a - them - los.

��-p- -*rr

bar - men, steht mel - nem Vater bet. j Dort schlug eln Fall dem

��m

��r r

Ar - men das llnke Beln ent zrreL

��Another, Ohne Lieb und ohne Wein,' taken from his Singspiel ' Der Teufel ist los,' and still eung in Germany with much zest, was one of the first of the Kunstlieder to be received into the ranks of the Volkslieder. J. Andre, the author of the ' Rheinweinlied/ was a contem-

��SOXG.

porary of Killer's ; and so was J. A. P. Schulz, who did much for the volksthumliches Lied. He was careful above others of his time to select poetic words for his music ; and the composer was now provided with a store of fresh and natu- ral poems of the Volkslied type by Burger, Clau- dius, Holty, the Stolbergs, Voss, and other poets of the Gottingen school. So long as Schulz kept to a simple form, he was always successful, and many of his songs are still the delight of Ger- man school children. In his more ambitious but less happy efforts, when he tried to give full expression to the words by the music, he aban- doned the volksthumlich form, as his song ' Die Spinnerin ' will show :

���Starting from Hiller and Schulz the volks- thumliches Lied pursued two different roads. Its composers in the Hiller school, such as Ferdinand Kauer, Wenzel Mtiller, and Himmel, were shallow and imperfectly cultivated musi- cians. Their sentimental melodies had a certain superficial elegance which gave them for a time an undeserved repute. A few of Himmel's songs for example, 'Vater ich rufe Dich' and ' An Alexis send' ich Dich ' are still in vogue among some classes of the Geiinan population, but, measured by any good standard, their value is inconsiderable. The dramatic composers, Winter and Jos. Weigl, may be reckoned to

�� �