....Just Another Tune

Songs & Their History



"La Suissesse Au Bord Du Lac" (1811) -
A French song in England, USA and Germany



Today we are used to the quick dissemination of popular songs around the world. But this is not new. It already happened in the early 19th century when songs from one country also became popular in others even though at that time this process was of course sometimes a little bit slower. One interesting example is a French song with the title "La Suissesse au bord du lac":

1. Text and tune from: Journal d'Àpollon et des Muses des Provinces Unies, No. 5: La Suissesse Au Bord Du Lac. Romance. Musique de M. Goulé, J. B. Nolting, Amsterdam, n. d. [c. 1815]

    L'encens des fleurs embaume cet azile
    La nuit descend á pas silencieux,
    Le lac est pur, l'air est frais et tranquille,
    La paix du soir se repand dans ces lieux.
    O ma patrie, O mon bonheur,
    Toujours cherie, tu rempliras mon cœur.

    Venir jouir o mes jeunes compagnes,
    Du plus beau soir après le plus beau jour,
    Faisons redire aux echos des montagnes,
    Ces traits si purs de tendresse et d'amour.
    O ma patrie, O mon bonheur,
    Toujours cherie, tu rempliras mon cœur.

    Phoebe perçant à travers le feuillage,
    De mon ami m'annonce le retour,
    Dejà j'entends au lointain du rivage,
    Sa douce voix répéter à son tour,
    O ma patrie, O mon bonheur,
    Toujours cherie, tu rempliras mon cœur.

The song was first published as sheet music around 1810 or 1811:

  • La Suissesse au bord du lac. Romance Mise en Musique avec Accompag.t de Piano ou Harpe et Dédiée à Mlle Rosine Guttinguer. Par Goulé. Chez Mme. Duhan, Paris, n. d. [1811] (from the catalogue of the library in Lyon).

It can't have been much later because an instrumental version for flute came out in 1813 (see Bibliographie de L'Empire Français 3, p. 281, No. 184). I haven't seen Mme. Duhan's original sheet music edition but there was also a version  with accompaniment for guitar and lyre instead of piano and harp that must have been published a little bit later:

  • La Suissesse Au Bord Du Lac. Romance. Musique de M. Goulé. Accompagt. de Lyre ou Guitarre par Lami, artiste de l'opéra Buffa, Chez Mme. Duhan, Paris, n. d. (available at BStB-DS, 4 Mus.pr. 2012.1293; the date in the catalog is wrong).

Already in 1815 a Dutch publisher offered a reprint:

  • Journal d'Àpollon et des Muses des Provinces Unies, No. 5: La Suissesse Au Bord Du Lac. Romance. Musique de M. Goulé, J. B. Nolting, Amsterdam, n. d. [c. 1815] (available at the Internet Archive)


The Journal d'Àpollon was a series published by Weygand in Den Haag in 1814/15 - first as Journal des Muses des Pays-Bas - that included mostly reprints of popular French songs. This here is No. 5 of the year 1815 (see Periodica Musicalia, pp. 391-3) and interestingly on this particular copy  the name of the original publisher was pasted over with the one of Nolting of Amsterdam. We can see that already at that time - only 4 years after its original publication - the song was not only available in different versions but also known outside of France.

Only the composer's name is given on these sheet music editions. Jacques Nicolas Goulé (1774-1818) from Rouen was a friend and contemporary of Boieldieu but unlike him he never made it to Paris. He was particularly well known for his romances of which he wrote about half a dozen  (see Favre 1944, pp. 57-60; another one,  "Suite De L'Amandier" can also be found at BStB-DS, 4 Mus.pr. 66650). The lyrics were written by Ulric Guttinguer (1785-1866), a poet and writer, also from Rouen, who apparently preferred to remain unnamed. He is barely known today but was - as an early romantic - quite popular during his lifetime. His most important work would be the novel Arthur (1836; for more about him see Sante-Beuve 1839, pp. 329-352, at Google Books; see also Wikipedia).

I can't say how he was related to the Mlle Rosine Guttinguer to whom the original sheet music was dedicated nor do I know at the moment why a poet from Rouen wrote a song about a "Swiss girl at the shore of the sea".  But it seems to me that at first he didn't think much about this particular text. He only published it under his own name  in 1824 in his Mélanges Poétiques (pp. 107-8 at Google Books) as a tribute to the late composer:

"Cette romance n'auriat point trouvé place parmi mes poèsies; mais la charmante musique de M. Goulé l'a rendue si populaire, que j'ai cru devoir cet hommage à la  mèmoire du compositeur".

But he clearly was a little bit too modest about his own achievement and ascribed the song's success only to Goulé's tune. In fact he had created an early example for a home song, a genre that would become immensely popular during the 19th century. For me this piece looks like a prototype or inspiration for two of the most successful home songs, both the English "Home, Sweet Home" by Henry Rowley Bishop and Howard Payne (1823, see an early sheet music edition at IMSLP) and Frédéric Bérat's great French hit  "Ma Normandie" (1835, see sheet music, Paris, n. d., at the Internet Archive and Bruxelles, n. d., at BStB-DS, 2 Mus.pr. 2548):

    Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
    Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
    A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
    Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere.
    Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home!
    There's no place like home
    There's no place like home!
    Quand tout renaît à l'espérance,
    Et que l'hiver fuit loin de nous,
    Sous le beau ciel de notre France,
    Quand le soleil revient plus doux,
    Quand la nature est reverdie,
    Quand l'hirondelle est de retour,
    J'aime à revoir ma Normandie,
    C'est le pays qui m'a donné le jour.

There is no reason to doubt that both Payne and Bérat were familiar with "La Suissesse au bord du lac". The latter even mentions the "champs de l'Helvétie, et ses chalets et ses glaciers [...]" in the second verse.

Guttinguer's and Goulé's song  remained available in France for some decades. As late as 1834 publisher Schonenberger in Paris brought out a new edition of the original sheet music (see Bibliographie de la France 23, 1834, p. 392). Interestingly at that time the tune had already been adapted for religious songs, both in French and Latin  (see Überlieferungen  1823, p. 21, New Monthly Magazine 10, 1824, p. 407, Nouveau Recueil, 1825, pp. 384-5, at Google Books):

Naturally the song was soon available in French-speaking Switzerland. Sheet music was published by Wanaz in Bern in the early '20s (see catalog NB Bern, Mbq 13717). Sante-Beuve (1839, p. 330)  noted that the song had become popular in and around Lausanne: "il y a quinze ans toutes les demoiselles vaudoises la chantaient dans sa primeur". It also appeared in songbooks,  for example in these two:

  • Recueil de six Airs Suisses Choisis, Composé de Trois Ranz des Vaches et Trois Airs Nationaux. Avec Accompagnement de Piano, Genève & Lausanne, n. d. [1825?] (at NB Bern Digital), No. 6, pp. 25-27
  • Hymnes Et Chansons Pour La Jeunesse. Recueil Nouveau comprant 189 morceaux A Deux, A Trois Ou A Quatre Voix Égales Ou Mèlées, George Bridel, Lausanne, 1854, No. 152, pp. 328-9 (at Google Books)

For some reason in both editions the name of the composer is not given and only in the latter poet Guttinguer is credited. One gets the impression that it was quickly regarded as an original Swiss piece. In the '30s the song was also published with a German translation by one J. B. Glück ("Schon naht die Nacht") in:

  • Les Délices De La Suisse ou Choix des Ranz des Vaches (Kuhreihen) et autres chants nationaux suisses, avec accompagnement de piano ou guitarre, Knop, Basel, 1835, No. 66  (info from Jäggin, Repertorium: Sco-Sta, p. 1332)



But much much more interesting was the song's history outside the French-speaking countries. It also became very popular in England. For example Belgian composer Dizi offered an arrangement for the harp:

  • "La Suissesse Au Bord Du Lac", in: François-Joseph Dizi, Six French Romances. Arranged for the Harp, & Dedicated to Miss Holden, Book 3, Birchall & Co., London, n. d. [c. 1820], pp. 8-9 (at the Internet Archive)


When we check the holdings of the British libraries we can see that song was mas made available in vocal and instrumental versions during the 1820s by publishers like Falkner, Goulding, D'Almaine, Potter & Co, Chappell, and Wessel & Stodard as well as others (s. Copac). We can find an additional English text in the North Devon Magazine from December 1824 (pp. 212-3, at Google Books) but it is not clear if it was ever used for singing. The Vocal Library, a big collection of song lyrics published the same year - the "Largest Collection of English, Scottish, and Irish Songs, Ever Printed in a Single Volume", with some popular foreign hits -  included only the original words  (p. 698). But around 1830 an English version came out:

For some reason the publisher forgot to acknowledge the original writer and composer. By all accounts this publication was not particularly successful. There were no further reprints of Greene's piece and it seems there are only very few copies in the libraries.  The "admired French air" - with the original text, not the English words -  was reprinted one more time in the Dublin Weekly Journal in 1832 (No. 5, Vol. I, December 1, pp. 36-8) but it seems to me that since the mid-30s it somewhat fell out of fashion. There were only very few new editions in later decades.

The song also crossed the ocean and was published in the USA in the mid-20s with two different English texts:

  • Our Way Across The Sea, adapted to the French Air "La Suissesse au bord du Lac".  Arranged for One or Two Voices, and dedicated to Miss Olivia Donaldson, John Cole, Baltimore, 1825 (at Levy Sheet Music)

  • Home, fare thee well! The oceans storm is over,
    The weary pennon woos the seaward wind;
    Fast speeds the bark, And now the less’ning shore
    Sinks in the wave, with those we leave behind:
    Fare, fare thee well!
    Land of the free;
    No tongue can tell
    The love I bear to thee!

    We wreathe the bowl to drink a gay good bye,
    For tears would fall unbidden in the wine,
    And while reflected was the mournful eye,
    The sparkling surface e’en would cease to shine.
    Then fare, fare well;
    Once more, once more,
    The ocean swell
    Now hides my native shore.

    See where yon star its diamond light displays,
    Now seen, now hid behind the swelling sail,
    Hope rides in gladness on its streaming rays,
    And bids us on, and bribes the fav’ring gale.
    Then hope we bend
    In joy to thee,
    And careless wend
    Our way across the sea.
  • The Friends We Left At Home, a much admired Song adapted to the Beautiful Swiss Air la "Suissesse Au Bord Du Lac", arranged for the Pianoforte, G. Willig, Philadelphia, 1826 (at Levy Sheet Music)

  • When far, o'er distant lands and seas we stray,
    Tho' milder climes, and brighter skies we find,
    Some shades ofr sadness mark the length'ning way,
    For mem'ry binds are dearest wish behind,
    Each joy, each care, wheree'er we roam,
    We wish to share, with friends we left at home.

    While pleasure whirls us on thro' giddy wiles,
    A vacant moment makes our hearts return;
    Or peaceful wand'ring where the landscape smiles,
    For friend behind our warmest wishes burn;
    Then, then we prove, when far we roam,
    How much we love, the friends we left at home.

    When sickness lays our burning temples low,
    And strangers only, stand around our bed
    Far, far from those we love, from those we know
    Would smooth our couch and ease our aching head,
    Oh, then we long, for one to come,
    One from among, the friends we left at home.

Interestingly the piano arrangements are exactly the same as on the original French sheet music. But there is no reference to composer Goulé and at least publisher Willig already called it a "Swiss Air". Of course both of these American adaptations make no mention of the Swiss Alps and the lake. That wouldn't have made too much sense in North America.

"The Friends We Left At Home" wasn't particularly successful and quickly vanished from the market. At least I found no further reprints or new editions. But "Our Way Across The Sea" seems to have become very popular and  remained available for the rest of the century. There were more sheet music editions, for example by Blake in Philadelphia as "A Favorite Duett" (undated, at Levy Sheet Music) and by Firth & Hall in New York (c. 1832, at UNC, Digital Collections), both, like Willig's publication, including the French original text. This song quickly found its way into songbooks of all kinds. Already in 1832 it was included in one for Sunday schools:

  • Geo. Kingsley, The Sunday School Singing Book: To Which is Added A Few Moral Songs. Approved By The Boston Sunday School Society, Charles Bowen, Boston, 1832, pp. 114-116


The tune was also at least once adopted for a religious song: in 1841 in a collection called Southern Harp, Consisting of Original Sacred And Moral Songs Adapted to the Most Popular Melodies by one Mary S. B. Dana ("My Dear Heavenly Home", pp. 32-5). Otherwise "Our Way Across The Sea" remained available until the end of the century. It could be found in songbooks for domestic music-making, in magazines, even in a Masonic collection and of course in nostalgic compilations of old songs:

  • E. L. White, The Boston Melodeon. A Collection Of Secular Melodies, Consisting Of Songs, Glees, Rounds, Catches, &c. Including Many Of The Most Popular Pieces Of The Day, Arranged And Harmonized For Four Voices, Elias Howe, Boston, 1846, pp. 126-7
  • The Gem of Song. Part First. Containing a Large Collection Of Sentimental & National Songs Set To Music In Two Parts, The First Treble and Bass, By An Amateur, Elias Howe, Boston, 1846, pp. 106-7 (at the Internet Archive)
  • Graham's Magazine, Vol. 41, No. 3, September 1852, pp. 226-7 (at Hathi Trust)
  • Franklin Square Song Collection. Two Hundred Favorite Songs and Hymns for Schools and Homes, Nursery and Fireside. No. 5, Selected by J. P. McCaskey, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1888, p. 73
  • Chester W. Mabie, The Mystic Chord, A Collection Of Masonic Odes and Melodies For The Ceremonies And Festivals Of The Fraternity, To Which Is Added A Choice Selection Of Miscellaneous Music, 11th Edition, Masonic Publishing & Supply Co., New York, 1897,pp. 89-93

This song was surely not such a big hit like as example "Home, Sweet Home" or "Robin Adair" but nonetheless it survived for more than 70 years and it was even performed in concerts. I will close this chapter with a program of a concert in 1863 in Salt Lake City in what would become later the state of Utah:




In Germany this all took a little bit longer. The above-mentioned early  translation by J. B. Glück from Les Délices De La Suisse apparently didn't make it across the border.  The song was only published in Germany - with a different text - in 1839:

  • "Würziger Hauch durchweht (La Suissesse au bord du lac)", in: Friedrich Silcher,  Ausländische Volksmelodien, mit deutschem, zum Theil aus dem Englischen etc. übertragenem Text, gesammelt und für eine oder zwei Singstimmen mit Begleitung des Pianoforte und der Guitarre gesetzt, Heft 3, Op. 30, Fues, Tübingen, n. d. [1839], No. 2, pp. 2-3 (at the Internet Archive)


Now it is surely possible that some copies of the original sheet music had reached Germany, perhaps from France, from the Netherlands or French Switzerland. We can also find the song in some manuscripts, even though it is not clear if they predate this publication (see RISM 225000458, 450012945 [= Don Mus.Ms. 2435], 450014199 [= Don Mus.Ms. 2750]). Famous piano virtuoso Henri Herz had written variations for the tune (No. 2, in: Trois Airs Variés pour le Pianoforte, Op. 39, 1828) and this work was of course also available in Germany. So one or the other may have been familiar with the original song and the melody. But in fact it was Silcher who first published a German version and introduced the song to a wider audience.

His Ausländische Volksmelodien, published in four booklets between 1835 and 1841, may have been the most popular and successful collection of foreign "national airs" in Germany. It was regularly reprinted until well into the 20th century and a considerable number of the songs included here became part of the common repertoire. But one shouldn't expect "Folk songs" or "Volkslieder" in the modern, ethnological sense. What he offered were mostly popular songs that were then "disguised" as anonymous "Volksmelodien". Most of the French songs he used were well-known chansons, like, for example, Bérat's "Ma Normandie", Plantade's "La Nuit or Béranger's "Les Rossignols" (see Heft 2, No. 9, Heft 3, No. 7, Heft 4, No. 4) but he published them without any reference to its writers. This was also the case with "La Suissesse au bord du lac" which he only described as a song "aus der französischen Schweiz" although at that time it couldn't have been too difficult to find out about Goulè and Guttinguer. On the other hand: what we can see here is the same process as in the USA. This song is detached from its original authors and takes on a life of its own.

The source for the tune was surely a copy or reprint of the original sheet music. There are only very few minor changes to make the text fit to the melody. But at least he wrote new accompaniments for the guitar and the piano even though the latter is somewhat similar to the original one. The translation is quite good and close to the original text:

    Würziger Hauch durchweht die Blüthenwipfel,
    Feierlich senkt zur Erde sich die Nacht,
    Still ist der See, der Alpen ferne Gipfel,
    Strahlen verklärt in goldner Abendpracht.
    O meiner Heimath wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt.
    O meiner Heimath wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt.

    Lasst uns den Abend feiern noch im Freien,
    Kommt, in dem Thal zu wandeln Hand in Hand;
    Lasst dem Gesang die letzte Stunde weihen,
    Lieblich ertönt das Echo längs dem Strand.
    O meiner Heimath wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt.
    O meiner Heimath wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt.

    Hell ist der Mond am Himmel aufgestiegen,
    Sendet uns grüßend seine Strahlen zu;
    Nieder vom Berg des Alphorns Hänge wiegen,
    Laden uns ein zur sanften Abendruh'.
    O meiner Heimath wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt.
    O meiner Heimath wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt.

But true to his usual methods he also failed to give the translator's name or his source for this text. My best guess is that he either had found it in some magazine - although I haven't come across it until now - or that one of his Francophile friends or pupils wrote it for him but didn't want to be credited.  This is a general problem with Silcher's collection. For a considerable number of songs the creator of the German text is not known. But at least in one case - Heft 4, No. 1, "Der junge Harfner zog bewehrt", i. e. Thomas Moore's "Minstrel-Boy" - I happened to find out that he simply took the translation from a magazine without giving due credit to its writer. I must admit I find his way of creating anonymous "Volkslieder" by leaving out the original writers', composers' and translators'  names somewhat dubious even if I take into account the generally low regard for copyright law and authors' rights among - especially German - editors of songbooks at that time. This problem has not been properly addressed by the Silcher scholars until now.  

But nonetheless this song became one of the most successful pieces of this collection. "Home songs" - Heimatlieder - were always a safe bet and this was no exception. After some time other editors borrowed it for their songbooks. The first were Johann Christian Weeber and Friedrich Krauss who included the song in their Liedersammlung für die Schule (Heft 3, here 3rd. ed., Stuttgart 1854, No. 28, p. 23), here with the title "Abendfeier":


This was one of the most popular and long-lasting collections for the use in schools. It first appeared 1852 and remained in use for at least 70 years, long after the death of the original publishers. Weeber (1808-1877)  worked as a teacher for music, composer, organist and Musikdirektor in the town of Nürtingen in Swabia (see Schwaebische-orgelromantik.de). We can find some more of Silcher's songs in this booklets, from the Ausländische Volksmelodien for example also "Stumm schläft der Sänger", "Wenn weit in den Landen", "Mein Herz ist im Hochland" and "Das Thal ruht still im Dunkeln". In fact he was amongst the first to modernize the repertoire of songs for schools by adding more recent "Volkslieder", especially those by Silcher whom he knew personally.

Another early example was Albert Vogelmann's Neunzig Lieder und Gesänge, theils mit bekannten, theils mit eigenen Weisen, für den Familienkreis (Regensburg, 1856 , No. 67, p. 159, at Google Books). This was, as the title says, a collection of songs for domestic music making and the editor also recycled a considerable amount of Silcher's pieces. But the song's popularity received a real boost in the 1860s when Ignaz Heim from Zürich in Switzerland included choral arrangements in three of his immensely successful collections:

  • Sammlung von Volksgesängen für den Männerchor. Herausgegeben von einer Kommission der zürcherischen Schulsynode, unter Redaktion von I. Heim. Zehnte, vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage. Fünfte Stereotyp-Ausgabe, Fries & Holzmann, Zürich, 1863  [first published 1862], No. 115, pp. 213-5 (at the Internet Archive)


  • Sammlung von drei- und vierstimmigen Volksgesängen für Knaben, Mädchen und Frauen. Liederbuch für Schule, Haus und Verein, herausgegeben von der Musikkommission der Züricherschen Schulsynode unter Redaktion von I. Heim, 2. Stereotypausgabe, Selbstverlag der Kommission, Zürich, 1869,  No. 90, pp. 156-7 (at BStB-DS)
  • Sammlung von Volksgesängen für den Gemischten Chor. Liederbuch für Schulen und Vereine. Herausgegeben von der Musik-Kommission der zürcherischen Schulsynode unter Redaktion von I. Heim, 30. Auflage, Selbstverlag der Kommission, Zürich, 1883 [first published in the early 1860s], No. 163, pp. 308-10 (at the Internet Archive)

Heim (1818-1880; see ADB 50, 1905, pp. 133-5, at BStB-DS and wikisource; a short summary at Wikipedia) came from the town of Renchen in Baden, worked for some years in Freiburg but in 1852 he moved - not at least for political reasons - to Zürich. There he was busy as a choirmaster but also compiled collections of arrangements for mixed and male choirs that were reprinted and republished numerous times. He of course borrowed songs from Silcher's publications. In the Sammlung von Volksgesängen für den Männerchor we can also find for example "Stumm schläft der Sänger", "Wenn weit in den Landen" and "Mein Herz ist im Hochland", the latter with a different tune. His books were  also available in Germany and - as it was common back in that days - regularly plundered by later editors.

In these books the song is called "O theure Heimat" and there is a slight variation of the words of the refrain:

    O theure Heimat!
    Wonniges Land!
    Innig bleibt immer mein Herz dir zugewandt!

Interestingly here the name of the translator is given as one "O. Welker". This makes it look as if Heim had used the same source as Silcher which is not completely implausible. In fact it is easily possible that someone in the German  speaking Switzerland had taken this song from a French or Swiss edition of the song and created a new translation. But then this translation must have been published before the year 1839, more than 25 years before Heim used it. I must admit I am skeptical and I haven't been able to identify the mysterious "O. Welker". Until now nobody has, to my knowledge. Nor has the actual source been found. But nonetheless this name was later uncritically repeated in many songbooks.  At the moment I have to leave that question open. I only wonder why he didn't use Glück's German text.

Of course there were also attempts at writing a new tune for this text, for example one by August Härtel in  his  Liederlexikon. Eine Sammlung der besten und beliebtesten  Lieder und Gesänge des deutschen Volkes (1865, No. 953, pp. 748-9, at Google Books) and another one by Karl Greith that can be found in F. X. Rubenbauer's collection Männer-Terzette (1872, No. 17, p. 25, at BStB-DS). But they didn't prove successful. The standard version remained popular and regularly appeared in songbooks of all kinds. Some examples from early 1900s may suffice:

  • Karl Seitz, Vom Fels zum Meer. Liederbuch für deutsche Schulen. Enthaltend: 260 ausgewählte zweistimmige Lieder. Nebst einigen dreistimmigen geistl. Gesängen und einer Anleitung zu Schülerturnfahrten und Turnspielen. Zum Gebrauche in Mittelschulen und Gymnasien, Chr. Friedr. Vieweg, 10. Auflage, 1900, pp. 65
2. "O Teure Heimat!", in: Karl Seitz, Vom Fels zum Meer. Liederbuch für deutsche Schulen. Enthaltend: 260 ausgewählte zweistimmige Lieder. Nebst einigen dreistimmigen geistl. Gesängen und einer Anleitung zu Schülerturnfahrten und Turnspielen. Zum Gebrauche in Mittelschulen und Gymnasien, Chr. Friedr. Vieweg, 10. Auflage, 1900, pp. 65
  • Josef Schiffels, Liederschatz für gemischten Chor. Eine Sammlung vierstimmiger Gesänge für die außerliturgischen Bedürfnisse eines Kirchenchores, Op. 25, Heinr. Schöningh, Münster, n. d. [1901], No. 57, pp. 115 (at ULB Münster)
  • Paul Manderscheid, Frauenchöre für den Gesangsunterricht an Lehrerinnenseminarien und höheren Mädchenschulen, K. Schwann, Düsseldorf, 1902, No. 125, pp. 217-8


  • Liedersammlung. Herausgegeben vom Pädagogischen Verein Altona, 3. Heft, 4. Auflage, Th. Christiansen, Altona-Ottensen, 1903, No. 163, pp. 154-5
  • Adolf König, Karl Küffner & Karl Nüzel, Gute Geister. 4stimmige gemischte Chöre für Gymnasien, Realschulen, Lehrerbildungsanstalten, Heerdeegen-Barbeck (Bruno Hennings), Nürnberg, 1909, No. 95, pp. 209-10


These are collections for schoolchildren as well as for mixed, male and female choirs. But interestingly in all but one case the editors have not used Silcher's original version but the variant from Heim's books and they all give credit to the mysterious O. Welker. In Gute Geister even  Guttinguer is named as the author of the original French text but otherwise the song has lost all connections to its origin and is regarded as a "Volkslied" from Switzerland. In practice it has become a partner piece to the German version of "Home, Sweet Home" - "Wenn weit in den Landen" -  which can also be found  in all these books. As already noted it was not reprinted as often as that famous English song but nonetheless it remained available for some more decades and was still reprinted in songbooks in the 1920s and later (see Liedersuche at DeutschesLied.com).

"La Suissesse au bord du lac" was originally a popular chanson from France, created by a professional composer and a serious poet. But in Germany it became part of the "Volkslied"-genre. Any song - as long as it fit stylistically - could be absorbed by this genre. Nobody knew about Ms. Goulé and Ms. Guttinguer only rarely received credit. Instead it was regarded as an anonymous song "aus der französischen Schweiz". That's the way how "Volkslieder" were made and this song is only one of many examples for this process.


  • August Bopp, Friedrich Silcher, Stuttgart, 1916
  • Georges Favre, Boieldieu. Sa Vie, Son oeuvre. 1: La Vie, Paris, 1944 (reprint: Genève, 1977)
  • Ulric Guttinguer, Mélanges poétiques, Paris, 1824 (at Google Books)
  • Christoph Jäggin, CH-Gitarre - Was es in Schweizer Sammlungen zu entdecken gibt, Repertorium: Sco-Sta, (accessed 19.6.2015)
  • Periodica Musicalia (1789-1830), im Auftrag des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, bearbeitet von Imogen Fellinger, Regensburg, 1986
  • C.A. Sainte-Beuve, Critiques et portraits littéraires IV, Paris, 1839 (at Google Books)


     By Jürgen Kloss

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