Filiberts Baltiņš

born 9 October 1878

Filiberts Baltiņš sings Dažu skaistu ziedu, i. e. Schöne Silberblüte (Abt)

Baltiņš is called a "tenor and voice teacher" in all available sources; he was living in Riga. No hints to any kind of singing career can be found, so he was probably only a voice teacher, which is also congruent with his extremely nasal and edgy voice production – his doesn't sound like a voice that was accustomed to singing in public, i.e. in large venues. On the other hand, he was recorded by His Master's Voice, which is relatively uncommon among Baltic singers. About his death, nothing is known.

The song that he sings in the above recording is a fascinating case: "Schöne Silberblüte" (Die weiße Lilie) by Franz Abt. That Abt, the prolific German composer, was very popular in Latvia and Estonia is surprising, but perfectly explicable: Abt was a great favorite with 19th century German amateur singing societies; and both Estonia and Latvia constituted, until 1945, a – though remote – part of the German cultural region, large parts of the upper class being ethnically German. But the fate of "Schöne Silberblüte" is still astounding: all but unknown in the original German version, it became one of the most popular songs in the first independent Latvian Republic after WWI, as "Dažu skaistu ziedu", i.e. with a completely new text (no translation!) by Latvian poet Andrievs Niedra.

Reference 1 and picture source, reference 2
Recording source: National Library of Latvia

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