German, French and Italian Song Classics

This is one of a series of posts about books used as source material for Art Song Central.

Book Title: German, French and Italian Song Classics (Volumes 1-4)
Editor: Horatio Parker (1863-1919)
Publisher: The John Church Company
Copyright: 1912, The John Church Company.

The following preface appears in each volume:

Art-Song and Folk-Song both make a well-nigh universal appeal to music lovers irrespective of the people or language to which they owe their birth, and, however rich in each kind the musical literature of any country may be, the songs of other nations are always welcome.

French songs have long gone far beyond the boundaries of France, those of Russia are used everywhere, German songs are indespensible to singers in every country, and English speaking singers are perhaps peculiarly dependent upon songs in other languages if they are to gain the breadth of view and degree of versatility which are expected from true artists.

This collection of the most notable lyrics in German, Italian and French has been prepared to meet the needs of our large and ever increasing class of earnest aspirants to true artistry. The songs are presented always with the original text in order that their full flavor and significance may be preserved and because a poem which does not suffer by translation is a thing hardly conceivable.

It is true that in the Italian opera music which was so widely used for study in Victorian days, the text is frequently unimportant to the point of being practically negligible. To cite a single instance: except for those who know it on the stage, the music of the Mad Scene, from Lucia, is nearly impersonal. The text might be pastoral or amatory without being noticeably inappropriate to the music. But in the best art-lyrics text and music are inextricably interwoven, and of such is this collection.

Knowledge and use of the three languages in which such lyrics are commonest is needful to our singers for a proper knowledge and use of their own native tongue in singing. It is therefore not in response to the fashion of singing in foreign languages but in recognition of every singer’s need of broader culture than singing in English alone can give that the original text is uniformly retained.

German songs are most numerous, as is natural in view of the high development and universal appeal of the German Lied. French songs claim a welcome by virtue of a lightness and grace all their own. Modern Italian songs of artistic importance are not easliy found but the old Italian composers have left models for all time in Pergolesi’s Nina, Lotti’s Pur Dicesti and many similar gems which seem to embody all admirable and lasting qualities which songs may possess.

Students, and teachers as well, should remember that of these noble songs each is an earnest of like treasures which will reward any diligent seeker in the fields represented by the collection now offered for their use and guidance.

Horatio Parker

Volume 1 (soprano) contents:

Volume 2 (Mezzo-Soprano) contents:

Volume 3 (tenor) contents: (The tenor volume appears to be identical in content to the soprano volume)

  • Adam Cantique de NoëlPDF
  • Bach Bist du bei mirPDF
  • Beethoven AdelaidePDF
  • Beethoven Ich liebe dichPDF
  • Bizet Vieille ChansonPDF
  • Brahms Meine Liebe ist grünPDF
  • Brahms MinneliedPDF
  • Brahms Wie bist du meine KöniginPDF
  • Caccini AmarilliPDF
  • Caldara Come raggio di solPDF
  • Carissimi Vittoria, Vittoria!PDF
  • Cesti Interno all’idol mioPDF
  • Chaminade Si j’étais JardinierPDF
  • Delibes Bonjour, Suzon!PDF
  • Dubois Par le SentierPDF
  • Fauré LydiaPDF
  • Franck La ProcessionPDF
  • Franz Für MusikPDF
  • Franz MariePDF
  • Giordani Caro mio benPDF
  • Godard Embarquez-vousPDF
  • Grieg Die PrinzessinPDF
  • Grieg Lauf der WeltPDF
  • Grieg Zur JohannisnachtPDF
  • Handel Frag’ ob die RosePDF
  • Haydn Liebes Mädchen, hör mir zu (Dearest maiden, hear my song) – PDF
  • Haydn Stets barg die Liebe sie (She never told her love) – PDF
  • Jensen Margreth am ThorePDF
  • Legrenzi Che fiero costumePDF
  • Loewe EdwardPDF
  • Lotti Pur dicesti, o bocca bellaPDF
  • Machault Douce dame joliePDF
  • Massenet Ouvre tes yeux bleusPDF
  • Mendelssohn Auf Flügeln des GesangesPDF
  • Mililotti Una StellaPDF
  • Pergolese Tre giorni son che NinaPDF
  • Raff Immer bei dirPDF
  • Saint-Saëns Les Pas d’Armes du Roi JeanPDF
  • Schubert Ständchen (Horch, horch, die Lerch) – PDF
  • Schubert Ständchen (Leise flehen) – PDF
  • Schubert UngeduldPDF
  • Schubert Was ist SylviaPDF
  • Schumann Blondel’s LiedPDF
  • Schumann FrühlingsnachtPDF
  • Schumann WanderliedPDF
  • Strauss StändchenPDF
  • Tosti Ti RapireiPDF
  • Weckerlin Bergère LégèrePDF
  • Weckerlin Jeunes FillettesPDF
  • Wolf Auf ein altes BildPDF
  • Wolf Der FreundPDF

Volume 4 (bass) contents:

This is an unusually good selection for books from this era, and songs in this collection which have fallen out of the mainstream repertoire are worth extra attention. In particular, the songs of Raff and Jensen are quite excellent.

The editorial quality of these volumes is generally high, though there are bound to be some errors.

Songs from these volumes will be uploaded as song posts are created for them. If you would like me to give priority to a song that is not yet posted, please let me know via the contact page.