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The Liederkranz Society is the American equivalent of the German Liedertafel. Liederkranz means "wreath of songs". Both societies consist of several choirs with a dominant male membership. In Germany, most bigger towns had such a choir up until today. Both societies are dedicated to preserving German folk songs, chorals, classical music (e.g. Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mozart), and German traditions and customs. The Liedertafel dates back as far as the middle of the 19th century, probably even longer. During the lifetime of the German poet and author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a famous Berlin musician and composer (Zelter) established the Sing Akademie (a musical college) in Berlin. The academy aimed at spreading and sponsoring the arts and the music of the German people. The Liederkranz and Liedertafel movement was connected with it. They were also associated with the rise of German nationalism under the Prussian leadership (1870s). The Liedertafel continued to be quite popular up to the 1970s. Nowadays, there are problems recruiting new people, due to changed interests and other cultural trends.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|