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Thread: Horst Wessel Lied

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    Horst Wessel Lied

    Is anyone convinced they know the source melody for the Horst Wessel Lied (“HWL”)?

    It is often said to be the Königsberg Lied from the 1920's. But what is the source melody for the Königsberg Lied?

    One theory advanced and vigorously disputed - which I still quite like for it's controversy and immense political incorrectness - is that the source melody for the HWL is O Store Gud.

    Perhaps a more likely explanation is that the HWL and the Königsberg Lied are both derivatives of an earlier song (“urmelodie) from the turn of the century or before which might even have inspired O Store Gud.

    Candidates for such an urmelodie include (1) a cabaret tune popular in Vienna and another one popular in Berlin from the early 1900’s (both without names); (2) a song by Peter Cornelius based on a Viennese folk tune from the 1850’s; and (3) “Der Arbenteurer” from the opera “Josef von Agypten” by Etienne Mehul(1807).

    I have not been able to source a performance of the Königsberg Lied though I have the text and it matches the HWL melodie. I have not been able to source any cabaret tune from Vienna or Berlin from the early 1900’s which fits the text or approximates the melodie. I have sourced the Peter Cornelius song (“Wenn du mich liebst”) and it seems a forced fit though not impossible. Finally I have sourced the Mehul opera and have found a very similar melody in Act 2 Scene 5 among other places.

    Why is this important? A musicologist would have his answers.

    Personally I came across the HWL as a child and quite liked the tune not appreciating the implications. Recently I completed a short film in which some musical context for the HWL needed to be given.

    Needless to say I took the controversial approach which can be viewed at this link if it is of interest:

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    The melody´s origin is a song called "Azug ins Feld", composed by volunteers of the german Wandervogelbewegung composed in the early beginning of worldwar I and sung when their recruit training in Germany was fulfilled and they were transported to the battle field to face and fight Germany´s enemies. Unfortunately this song even is not on stock at youtube. The song was published within the CD "Fahrt wohl Kam´raden, lebet wohl", produced by GEMA in Germany, BW CD 9604, in 1996. If it can still be found anywhere i recommend to buy it - german soldiersongs in pure beauty and believe.

    HERE SOURCE WHERE THIS CD IS STILL OFFERED:

    http://www.zinnfigur.com/Books/DE_Books_CD_Set.asp

    And they best: you can listen to this song! (for all anglo-americans: its no. 4)

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    It's pretty much the same tune as the Birdie Song - just listen to it all the way through, and you'll see what I mean http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeswZaReE0I

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    Additional Information

    My profound thanks. Fantastic additions to my knowledge base and long awaited but nontheless appreciated.

    Gentlemen and Scholars all!

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