Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-07 > 0931435892

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 52B dtd 28 Feb 1999 (edited)
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 08:11:32 EDT

(issued biweekly by )
FEBRUARY 28, 1999
(all rights reserved)

This third section of the three section newsletter contains articles on
Slovenia & Oberkrain Music and Land Holding Terminology.

What makes a study of the Austro/Hungarian Empire so complex and fascinating
is the large mix of ethnic, religious and racial groups encountered. In our
articles concerning the Burgenland, we've mentioned Germans, Croatians,
Hungarians (Magyar), Roman Catholics, Jews, Gypsies, Lutherans, Calvinists
and Croatian Windisch. All of these contributed to that group from which we
stem, "The Burgenlnder". To further confuse things, we find that they were
(are) also influenced by other nearby cultures. We need only take a few more
steps to the south and east of today's border and we encounter the myriad
races of the Balkans. Among the first are the Slovenes, another south Slav
tribe who settled in what became northern Yugoslavia. With the recent
dissolution of Yugoslavia, they formed the independent country now known as
Slovenia. A particular cultural contribution is Slovenian music as explained
in the following interchange:

Frank Teklits writes: "A good accordion piano playing friend of mine from
back home has asked if anyone from the group has any knowledge of a type of
music he described as Oberkreiner. Does this name or description ring any
bells with anyone? "

Fritz Knigshofer responds: "But of course; this question hits close to home
for me. Oberkrainer (I believe that's how it is spelled) is traditional
country music from (or of a type like played in) Oberkrain, the alpine region
of Northern Slovenia. This is the region south of the eastern part of
Carinthia. Since this has been very close to the former region of
Untersteiermark (Lower Styria, now also part of Slovenia), there is a strong
historic bond of this music with music played in Styria. I don't know how it
was historically, but today the music is played by Slovenians and Styrians,
possibly also by Carinthians. It is very popular, always a candidate for
winning country music competitions in Austria. Some music groups carry the
term "Oberkrainer" in their name, and if not, a CD would typically say so in
case it is Oberkrainer music.

Krain (Latin name Carniola) was an Austrian crown land which became the core
of Slovenia after WW I. Its capital was/is Ljubljana. Oberkrain was the
most alpine (northern) region of this crown land.

I respond with: Frank and friends, My mother enjoyed the piano and in her
younger days played with various groups at the old Liederkranz in Allentown,
PA. During the early fifties she was given a hi-fi set (remember that term?)
and began collecting LP records. Naturally she was heavy into polkas,
waltzes, lndler etc. In a well known record shop at 6th & Hamilton Streets,
Allentown she found a lot of ethnic music. Oberkrainer was one type. When she
died I inherited her music, both sheet and records and I've saved much of it,
playing it on occasion. I just dug out 3 records which I am listening to now.
You'll notice the German and Slovenian titles. They are:

Wine & Songs-The Original Oberkrainer Quintet Avsenik-London International
Stereo SW 99500. Songs are Weinfest Polka (Na vinski razstavi), Erinnerung an
Zurich (Spomin na Zurich), Hatschi-Polka (Oh ta gripa), Es war so schn (Lepo
je bilo), Sitzen wir froh beim Wein -Scherben bringen Glck (the Slovene(?)
for this is "Case nalijmo si", Matterhorn Marsch (Pogled na Matterhorn),
Wigel-Wogel-Polka Vigel-vogel-polka), Der Wind bringt dir mein Lied Veter
nosi pesem mojo), Lustiger Nachbar (Pri sosedovih na obisku), Ich wart' auf
dich! (Cakala bom), Frohe Stunden (Vesele urice), Denk mal an mich (Daj mi
roko). While they say quintette it features six(!) men and one woman.

Die znftigen Oberkrainer-RCA Victor Canada International-Recorded in Europe
PCS-1156 Stereo. Songs: Lustig und frhlich, Ein Regenbogen ber'm blauen
See, Heimweh nach Maribor, Herminen-Polka, Erinnerung an die Heimat, Die
Heimat ruft dich in der Ferne, Sirenen-Polka, Weinberg-Polka, Schn ist der
Frhling, Auf der Bergstrasse, Ein Vergissmeinnicht der Liebe, Mein Vater hat
zwei Pferde, Daheim bei Muttern sein, Wenn ich wieder auf die Reise geh'.
Seven men, one woman with accordian, trumpet, clarinet, bass, guiter, Jacket
lists 21 other available Oberkrain records! Leitung: Milan Vitek, Gesang:
Breda Bajc-Sandi Bostjancic.

Die Oberkrainer Musikanten (und Alfons Bauer, Zither) -Fass Fr Alle
Schallplatten Sammler-Stereo 1477 WY. Frazwengarisch, G'Fller Marsch,
Glungezer Lndler, Steyerische Polka, D'Schwoagerin, Der Lustige Jager, Im
Taigitschgrab'n, Schenkts Ma No Oane Ei, 'S Gamsgebirg, Zinkenbacher Walzer,
A Lustige Marschi, Da Schindlsepp, Klarinettenmuckl, Maitanz-Walzer, Beim
Bauer in der Au, Aber Schliersee Des Is, Halt a Platzl. Accordian, Bass,
Trumpet, Guitar, clarinette, French horn, zither. Alfons Bauer was a famous
zither player, believe he played in that great Vienese classic with Orson
Wells, the "Third Man".

One thing that strikes me is the obvious use of dialect in all Germanic-Slav
music. I always had trouble translating the titles as well as the songs. Now
I know why. Wonder how many of the above are based on old folk songs?

Fritz has admirably explained about the Oberkrain which is southern Slav,
mostly Slovenian-not quite Croatian in language. I know some people worked
for years for Slovenian autonomy. Don't know how they'll make out , not much
of an economic base but a pretty region for tourists. Still some old Europe
in Croatia-Slovenia when I was there last (pre break up).

Much of the local Lehigh Valley, PA ethnic music favorites seem to be based
on Oberkrain type music. Heavy on accordian. Our Allentown neighbor Charles
Mankos (son of Stephan Mankos who accompanied my grandfather from Burgenland
and who with him and his brother built homes side by side) was also a
bricklayer and musician, playing saxophone and clarinette with various local
Lehigh Valley bands. His favorites were always the Lndler. I believe these
are folk dance music which developed into the polka. Does anyone know for
sure? They have a polka beat but are not as fast.

Brings memories of summer evenings, sitting out back under the grape arbors
talking about ethnic music. Also remember a well known music station in
Allentown which had ethnic music hours. As mentioned previously, one source
of ethnic music of this type from whom I've made satisfactory purchases is
well known Lehigh Valley musician and recent BB member Al Meixner, 5562 Route
145, Laurys Station, PA 18059. In his latest catalog he advertises a Video
called: Rendezvous in Oberkrain, by Slavko Azsenik & his Oberkriners, KV-021
for $30.00 plus $3.00 postage. His CD's and tapes sell for considerably less.
He has a web site at www.almeixner.com and will furnish his catalog at no

LAND HOLDING TERMINOLOGY (Schuch, Knigshofer, Schatz)
(Ed.-In previous newsletters we've discussed the varying "status"
terminologies that we find in old documents mentioning our Burgenland
ancestors. A definition of these terms is necesary for us to understand the
position our ancestors held in their villages as well as an appreciation of
living conditions. The following interchange adds to previous articles. Being
discussed is the amount of land "sessio" (Latin) required to have the status
of full-farmer, "landwirt" (German), "agricola" (Latin), "paraszt",
(Hungarian) or a non-farmer "sollner" (German), "colonus" (Latin)
"napszamosno" (Hungarian-day laborer)-although the latter could own a house
and some land, but not enough land to be considered a landwirt, etc.

Fritz Knigshofer to Albert Schuch: On this useful find (article concernig
definition of "sessio"), I have only one question. Should it mean that a
farmer had to have at least one eigths of a sessio, rather than 8 eights as
in your message? Otherwise, the definition leaves open the status and term
for owners of between one eigths and 8 eights. My other question is whether
one eights was enough to make you a full farmer, or whether you had to have
more than one eights. From the article you cited, it appears that one eighth
or more made you a farmer, and the other categories applied to people with
less than one eighth. I am raising this question as we had the Latin term
octavalista which we translated into "Sllner"... I wonder whether there is a
possibility that it rather was a synonym for a full farmer [owning one eighth
or more].

Bob Schatz to all: Thank you for this interesting exchange. I would only like
to add that my own research seems to indicate that these terms were used not
so much to designate a rank, but simply the amount of land farmed. My
research is limited to Urbersdorf and a few other villages near Gu"ssing, and
so I can only speak of them. Here in the early 19th century (before 1848 and
then the Kommassierung -land distribution-of the 1860s) the amount of land a
family farmed was dependant on two factors: the entire amount of land
belonging to the village as a commune (its Hattar-Hotter), and the number of
households in the commune. In an urbarium (tax record) which I uncovered for
Urbersdorf from 1840, the Hattar is equally divided among all the farming
households, which left every household farming a 5/8 sessio. I have always
interpreted this to mean that this society was much more communal in nature
than our own, and that it would have been unusual (and anti-social?) for a
farmer to acquire another 1/8 or so on his own.

I guess I mention this so that we avoid applying twentieth century
interpretations to the fact that some farmers were "full" and others were
not. My reading of the data I have at hand is that most farmers had little
private control over how much land they farmed - this was entirely dependant
on the size of the village lands relative to the number of its farming
households. This communal approach to farming seems to be rooted in the
values and practices of the Middle Ages and was quite different from our own
capitalist concepts of private enterprise. Does this interpretation fit with
everyone else's research?

Forgive me if I am belaboring this. I've checked the works of Kiralyi and
Jaszi regarding full and partial sessios. According to the urbarial
regulations enacted under Maria Teresa circa 1764, one sessio was the maximum
amount of acreage a household could farm. A farmer working one full sessio
would have been referred to as a "full" farmer because he farmed the maximum
amount of land possible for a manorial tenant. At the time that the Empress
Queen's regulations were promulgated, one eighth of a sessio was deemed
adequate to support an extended family and allow it to fulfill its
fee/tithe/tax obligations to landlord, church and royal and local governments.

Because this society practiced open-field agriculture, a family's sessio
would actually have been distributed as several strips of land scattered
throughout the village Hotter/Hatar (my relatives in Strem once explained
that this was partly to insure that no one family would farm all the best
soil). A sessio also varied in size depending on the fertility of the soil.
A sessio in the District of Gu"ssing was actually 5 to 10 Joch smaller than a
sessio in the northern Districts because the land was somewhat more fertile
in the south.

What amazes me is that the Bu"nker article which Albert found was written in
1894, almost fifty years after the manorial system had been abolished in
Hungary. The fact that farmers still used the concept of the sessio and the
eighth would seem to imply that ancient traditions and usage did not change
all that drastically after the Kommassierung, even though farmers had the
outright ownership of their land by that time. What also interests me (from a
psychological and idiomatic point of view) is why farming units (the sessio)
were reckoned from the top down, so to speak. Why call the maximum amount of
land a "sessio" and smaller amounts an 8th, 3/8th, etc.? Why not start from
the bottom up, especially since it was rare for any farmer to hold one full

Ed. Summary: From what has been covered in this and previous newsletters, I
believe we can view Burgenland "farming" in the following way. Prior to
1848-1860's when land distribution went into effect, the land surrounding any
particular village was owned by the aristocracy (Herrschaft). It was divided
into portions which would provide subsistence for an average family and allow
them to meet rent and tax obligations. As colonists joined the village they
were assigned a portion as well as a village lot and or a house and rights to
certain communal land like wood lots and pasture (commons). The rights to
"rent" such portions could be inherited. As years went by, intermarriage and
other changes resulted in some villagers acquiring more or less of a portion.
With the redistribution of land (cost born by aristocracy, government and
peasant), further changes took place resulting in a considerable change to
previous arrangements. It was after this period that the ownership of land
achieved a "status" value. Thus certain terms like "landwirt" came into being
after the 1860's. I'd like general consensus to the following "status" terms:

Period before 1848 (Kommassierung)
Tenant farmer-"agricola" (Latin), "paraszt", (Hungarian)
Non-farmer "sollner" (German), "colonus" (Latin) "napszamosno" (Hungarian-day
Period after 1848
Farmer-"landwirt" (German)
Non-farmer "sollner" (German), "colonus" (Latin) "napszamosno" (Hungarian-day

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