Moritz Kässmayer

Wer hat die schönsten Schäfschen
Who has the prettiest lamb)


Michel, nimm d'Sichel
(Michael, take the sickle)

Four German Folk Songs for String Quartet, Op.37 (Volume 12)

Moritz Kässmayer (1831-1884) was born in Vienna and spent his entire life there. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory after which he served as a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic and later as Director of Ballet Music for the Austrian Imperial Court Opera. He mostly composed chamber music, the most famous of which are his Humorous and Contrapuntal Volkslieder or Folk Songs for String Quartet, which appeared in 13 separate volumes, each containing four folk songs from different nations or parts of Austria. He also wrote five serious string quartets and a string quintet for 2 violas. The Volkslieder were composed between 1853 and 1880  and range from Op.14 to Op.41.  They were not all published until after the composer’s death in 1885, the first appearing in 1873.


The four German folk songs in Volume 12 are Der Wirtin Töchterlein / The lady innkeeper's little daughter, Wer hat die schönsten Schäfchen? / Who has the prettiest lamb, Michel, nimm d'Sichel / Michael, take the sickle, and Spinn' Lies'chen, Spinn' / Spin little spider.  The words to Der Wirtin Töchterlein are from the famous poem by Goethe and in addition to Kässmayer have been set to music by Carl Reinecke, Johann Reichardt and others. Wer hat die schönsten Schäfchen? is from a famous German nursery rhyme.


Playing Kässmayer's Humorous and Contrapuntal Folksongs reminds us to laugh. When is the last time you heard an audience laugh at a “humorous” finale to a Haydn string quartet? The folksongs are German, Bohemian, Styrian, Hungarian, Norwegian, Austrian and Viennese. These are all fun to play and very finely written. Kässmayer was awarded the Imperial Austrian Medal for Art and Culture which clearly reflects how highly respected he and his music were.


Of course, we offer all 13 volumes separately and at a lower price than you can purchase them elsewhere. But even if you were to purchase all 13 from us separately, you can save 40% by purchasing the entire collection in one volume, and nearly 25% by purchasing the entire German collection.


(A) Volume 12---Four German Folk Songs $12.95
(B) The Entire German Collection of 20 Folk Songs $47.95
(C) The Entire Collection of 52 National Folk Songs $99.95


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