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The Music of the Fatherland

Das Deutsche Lied ist unser Hort,
Und unser Sprach. Ein Mann, ein Wort.

This peculiarly idiomatic and untranslatable German verse embodies the very essence of all that our German brothers hold highest. The nearest we can approach to it in English is, “German song is our Glory, And our Speech. One man, one Word.” The last line conveys the idea of stability rather than unity of speech. It means that when a man says a thing, he should stand by it to the letter. In these two lines lie the secret of the German’s love for music, and the German’s reputation for thoroughness as well. It is indeed a most fitting sentiment with which to introduce the first of our series of two issues devoted to the music of Germany.

Mr. H. T. Finck, in one of our leading articles, has called attention to the fact that, while Italy is popularly known as “the land of music,” it nevertheless can point to no Beethoven, no Bach, no Wagner and no Strauss. The mountain-high altitude of the German masters and the great number of incomparable composers who have been born on German or upon Austrian soil, or who have worked out their life problems in Germany, must give the Fatherland the undeniable title of “The Home of Music.”

This is the time and place for superlatives, but we know that if we carefully selected all the superlatives in the dictionary and printed them in praise of German musical art, the task would be but barely commenced. Mr. Elson has told something of America’s debt to Germany. Mr. Elson is the undisputed authority upon American musical history, and his article should be read with the greatest interest by all those who realize the necessity for historical study.

This editorial would not be complete if we failed to call the attention of our readers to the fact that Germans everywhere have responded to our call for assistance in preparing articles, securing data, etc., in the most prompt and whole-hearted manner. We thank them, one and all, and we know that our readers will realize that these copies of The Etude (April and May) contain material of such great and permanent value that they, too, will be equally grateful to all of the splendid and earnest writers and musicians who have done so much to assist in making the special German issues what they are.

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