Emilis Melngailis is the most prominent from the folk music collectors of the next generation. He studied music in Dresden and St. Petersburg. In his collecting efforts he travelled Latvia and Lithuania, also writing down the melodies of other ethnic groups (like the Jews (he designates them 'Hebrew'), and the Livonians – the people that once gave the name to the territory that is now known as Latvia). Emilis Melngailis also took photos of his informants and their environment. The material collected by him were published in the three volumes of the book “Latviešu mūzikas folkloras materiāli” (The Materials of Latvian Musical Folklore) : in 1951 Korsa (the western part of Latvia) with 1,326 melodies, in 1952 Maliena (the eastern part) with 1,676 and in 1953 Vidiena (the midlands) with 1,153 melodies, appendix and an endnote with an interesting motto: It is not possible to tell the depth without wading in.
Melngailis has composed music of different genres, including ballet and symphonic poems, but he is most noted for his choir music. It was published in a series under the title "Birzēs i norās" (In Groves and Glades) with the total of ten issued between 1902 and 1957, containing 275 songs, of which 220 are arrangements of Latvian folksongs. E. Melngailis himself has also acted as the chief conductor of several Song Festivals in Latvia.
From February 1930 and until October 1931 Melngailis was a freelance employee of ALF. During this time he submitted a collection of 3,351 melodies, collected together with aides. The manuscript of Melngailis also contains 46 photographs, which is the largest number of photographic images in a single collection in the inter-war period. The collection of Melngailis bears the register number .
Vidrižu pagasts, Limbažu novads
Saint Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast, Russia
LPSR Tautas mākslinieks