Morag Josephine Grant

Published On


Page Range

pp. 183-206

Print Length

23 pages

9. Take Leave, Brothers

The German Reception of Auld Lang Syne

Chapter of: Auld Lang Syne: A Song and its Culture(pp. 183–206)
In the first of two chapters on the international and foreign-language reception of the song, this chapter uses Germany as an in-depth case-study. It begins by looking at settings of the song in the German art music tradition, including a choral setting of the text by Robert Schumann, before considering the evidence for the use of the song in other settings. The chapter demonstrates that, despite the great popularity of Burns’s poems and songs in the Romantic period and beyond, there is little evidence for the adoption of the song into German repertoires before the mid-twentieth century. This changes in the second half of twentieth century, for reasons related in part to the post-war cultural history of Germany. A significant role is played here by a further fraternal-type organisation: the Scouts. The chapter looks at the adoption of the song and its traditional use as a song of parting in Scouting, and the impact internationally, including in Germany, of foreign-language versions of the song created primarily for this purpose. This finding thus ultimately provides further evidence for this book’s main thesis: that the song’s popularity and longevity has everything to do with the traditions and rituals with which it has become connected; active rather than passive reception is key.