Franz Abt
Franz Wilhelm Abt, 1819-1885, was the son of a clergyman. Born at Eilenburg in Saxony, he
showed musical skill at a young age and was enrolled in the Thomas School at Leipzig where he
developed a passion for choral conducting. He was kapellmeister at Bernburg in 1841, then moved to
Zürich in the same year. He became musical director at the court theater in Braunschweig from 1852
to 1882. He visited America in 1872, where his songs were very popular, and he was warmly
received and appreciated for his warmth and sense of humor. Abt was one of the most prolific
composers in European history and the most famous choral conductor in Germany, leading every
major choral society in the region at one time or another. Abt wrote over 3,000 choral music
compositions. His most famous song in America was "Wenn die Schwalben heimwärts ziehn" heard
here in a vintage recording.
When the swallows homeward fly,
When the roses scatter'd lie,
When from neither hill nor dale,
Chants the silv'ry Nightingale,
In these words my bleeding heart
Would to thee it's grief impart.
When I thus thy image lose,
Can I, ah! can I ever know repose.

When the white swan southward  roves,
to seek at noon the orange groves,
When the red tints of the West,
Prove the sun is gone to rest,
In these words my bleeding heart
Would to thee it's grief impart.
When I thus thy image lose,
Can I, ah! can I ever know repose.

My poor heart, why do you cry,
Once also you in peace will lie!
All things on this earth must die;
Will then we meet, you and I?
My heart asks with boding pain:
Will faith join us once again?
After today's bitter parting pain