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Baumanis, Karlis (1835 - 1905)

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Kārlis Baumanis
Kārlis Baumanis
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A pioneer of Latvian songs for choir and solo voice. He has to his credit almost three hundred vocal compositions and arrangements, of which about fifty are choral works. Baumanis was one of the most ardent participators in the movement for Latvian National Awakening. He was also a journalist, a satiric poet and a playwright, and frequently wrote the words for his own songs. His simple and laconic song, God, Bless Latvia, with his own lyrics, was in due course to become the Latvian national anthem. Central to his songs is the expression of passionate patriotism, but neither this, nor a natural literary and musical talent could always make up for his lack of adequate education in composition, so that only some of his songs have stood the test of time. Nevertheless a number of his melodies have become almost a part of Latvian folklore. In addition, his polemic articles on folk songs, published in the Latvian and German press in Riga (1874, 1875), led to the emergence of ethnomusicology in Latvia.

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