Lieder, Love Songs & Lullabies: Music that Takes Us Home

Leon Robbin Gallery



Singing has been a part of domestic culture for centuries. This exhibition, drawn from the extensive music holdings of the Georgetown University Library’s Special Collections Research Center, features music that has been performed at home, created at home, or enjoyed at home via televised performances.

The great age of the Lied (song) in Germany came in the 19th century when the flowering of German literature inspired composers to write musical works with high literary aspirations. Felix Mendelssohn composed a number of Lieder. Like the poet Goethe, he believed the poetry of a Lied held precedence over the music. Clara and Robert Schumann saw things differently; their Lieder often contain complex piano accompaniments that intensify the emotions of the poetry. Sometimes Lieder are gathered in a Liederkreis (song cycle) – a series of songs linked by a single narrative or theme.

Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of music publishers and songwriters who set up shop in New York City and dominated American popular music in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies. Tin Pan Alley was originally a specific place in New York City, West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. Today, one might say that it is a state of mind. The examples here show the range of musical topics, from patriotic tunes to comedy routines and love songs.

 Items in the Exhibition: