Moritz Kässmayer

Das zerbrochene Ringlein
(The broken little ring


O du lieber Augustin
(It's you dear Augustin)

Four German Folk Songs for String Quartet, Op.16 (Volume 4)

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 German folk songs in Volume 4 are Und ich geh bei der Nacht / And I go by the night, Das zerbrochene Ringlein / The broken little ring, S'Zeiserl is krank / The tiny child is sick, and O du lieber Augustin / Goodness, it's you dear Augustin. You will probably recognize O du lieber Augustin, one of the most famous folk songs in the German language. It tells of the aftermath of the 1679 plague epidemic in Vienna. Augustin, a beloved drunk, who used to go round the city playing his bagpipes, while drunk fell down in the street and passed out. Mistaken for dead, he was thrown in a pit with other dead bodies. The next day he awoke, and finding himself unable to get out of the pit, began to play his bagpipes. The suspicious Viennese thought they were hearing his ghost, but eventually rescued him.


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 4---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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