Footnotes on a Magic Horn

(Letter to the Editor referring to the previous Wunderhorn-essay, MT 1975)

Last year (July MT) I offered some notes about when and how Des Knaben Wunderhorn had wound its way into music. A further hunt identified Schumann's quartets Schnitter Tod (SATB, op.75 no.1) and Rosmarin (SSAA, op. 91 no. 1), his duet Die Schwalben (SA, op. 79 no. 26) and his unpublished song Die Ammenuhr, all of 1849, as probably emanating from the Wunderhorn; so apparently did a Cornelius song of 1856 (now lost), Ein Musikant wollt' fröhlich sein.

   I also asked for comments and additions. Paul Banks of Oxford, who is researching into Mahler's use of folk material both musical and literary, has kindly let me know that the Franz song Rote Auglein op. 23 no. 6 (also arranged for SATB as op. 45 no.4) is a setting of the Wunderhorn Kinderlieder, p. 94; and he has also identified this same section (p. 69) as the source of Webern's op. 15 no. 2. Mr Banks has further persuaded me that there is a case for including, in a list of major settings, Reger's op. 75 no. 12, Hat gesagt - bleibt's nicht dabei. I could make neither case nor space in my original article for Jelmoli, Kamienski, Knab, Hessenberg, Reutter, Trunk or Vriesländer. I now hear from Paul Griffiths about Karel Boleslav Jiràk, whose 13 Simple Songs op. 13 (1917, orch. 1940) are all on Wunderhorn texts; and from Professor Longyear of Kentucky about Henry F. Gilbert, whose op. 7 no. 1 (1894) sets a translation of Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär.

   I am further indebted to Professor Longyear for drawing my attention to the Silcher settings for solo (notably Zu Strassburg auf der Schanz) and quartet TTBB (details in August Lämmle's Friedrich Silcher, 1956, pp.37-9); and also for the very interesting suggestion that these or similar settings may have had some influence on Mahler, whether directly or by way of parody. On the question of Mahler, I am further fortified by Mr Banks (as by Professor Mitchell's TLS notice, 29 November 1974, of Henry Louis de la Grange s recent book) in the view that on the plainest textual evidence Mahler must have used the Wunderhorn as his source for some lines of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (by 1884). As to the Wunderhorn's own antecedents, I am impressed by a suggestion from Dr Roger Fiske that it was in part inspired by Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Schottish Border,1803. This theory finds striking confirmation in a letter from Arnim to Brentano in July of the same year which mentions the publication of that anthology and describes, it significantly, as consisting partly of traditional material and partly of pastiche.