Folk Song Books in Ernst Krenek’s music library

From the archive

In addition to works by Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Stravinsky, Palestrina, Milhaud and Krenek's students and others, Ernst Krenek's private music library contains two books with folk songs: "Volkslieder und Jodler aus Vorarlberg" (Folks songs and Yodels from Vorarlberg), published in 1926, and "Wulfenia-Blüten. Some fifty songs and yodels from Carinthia", published in 1932 by Universal Edition; the latter named after the pretty Carinthian plantain "Wulfenia carinthiaca" which blossoms in early summer.




Thinking of Krenek's twelve-tone or atonal works, it may at first seem less obvious that there are also numerous references to folk music in his oeuvre. Krenek loved the mountains and his travels through Austria and he was also inspired by folk songs and the folk music of different regions.

Traces of folk music can be found not only in his popular song cycle "Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen", op. 62 but also, for example, in "Vom lieben Augustin", op. 40 for Schrammel ensemble, "Drei lustigen Märschen", op. 44 for winds and percussion, the satire "Kehraus um St. Stephan", op. 66, his choral work "Vier österreichische Volkslieder", op. 77a or his "Echoes from Austria", op. 166 for piano.
Krenek also appeared as an arranger of folk songs: in a "Folk Song Book for Youth" Krenek arranged 16 songs. Paul Hindemith, Hans Gál or Arnold Schönberg are also represented in the same volume, albeit with considerably fewer contributions.

For those who would like to delve deeper into the subject, Volume 3 of the Ernst Krenek Studies „Echoes from Austria. Musik als Heimat. Ernst Krenek und das österreichische Volkslied im 20. Jahrhundert“ (German only), edited by Matthias Schmidt can be recommended.
One will also find two essays by Ernst Krenek in this volume: "Volkslieder in zeitgenössischer Bearbeitung" and "Fragen der Volksmusik".

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