Lithuanian songs in Europe

Lithuanian songs in Europe

The greatest number of the lyrics of Lithuanian songs in the print of the 18th century was published by J. G. Herder (1744-1803), one of the most influential thinkers of the German Enlightenment. His selection – Volkslieder (1778-1779) (Stimmen der Völker in Liedern, 1813), along with more than one and a half hundred different folk songs, contained eight Lithuanian songs translated into German. However, Herder would not have been able to publish them without J. G. Kreutzfeld (1745-1784), the Professor at the University of Königsberg, from whom he received most of the Lithuanian songs.

Kreutzfeld was preparing the Preussische Blumenlese almanac in Königsberg in 1775. It contained four lyrics of Lithuanian songs and an introductory essay on Prussian poetry. The essay may be regarded as the first disquisition on the nature of Lithuanian songs. Apart from that, the songs of Lithuanians of Prussia were present in Kreutzfeld’s Das preussische Tempe almanac, which was published from 1780 to 1781.

The thoughts and works of J. G. Herder also inspired the songbook of L. Rhesa at the beginning of the 19th century, as well as had a very significant influence on the Lithuanian song collectors and researchers of all time.