Old folk at lunch

Monday, September 1, 2008

Piano and singers



Joe's music teacher put on a concert of her students at 4pm yesterday. Joe was the last on the program and played an unusual piece of Mozart's (Fantasy in C minor) very well. I have been paying for music lessons for him for 17 years now -- since he was 4 -- so I am pleased that it has all paid off.

I have just got to thinking what a diverse lot my favourite singers are: Josef Schmidt, Peter Dawson and Paul Robeson -- a Romanian Jewish tenor, an Australian bass baritone and a black American bass.

I absolutely love "Heut' ist der schoenste Tag in meinem Leben", a joyous love song by Schmidt. And for Dawson, of course, THE song is "Floral dance". There is an unusual history behind Floral dance. It was actually written by a woman for a woman and it makes slightly more sense in that form. Yet it was Dawson who revised it for a male voice and made it famous.

For the incredibly versatile Paul Robeson a favourite song is harder to pick but Ol' Man River is hard to beat.

So what do they have in common? Nothing as far as I can see. I just like their voices but don't ask me why. Though one thing that they have in common, sadly, is that they are all dead.

Since the Schmidt song is in German, I thought I might translate it -- so others can appreciate what it is all about. It is a literal translation rather than a poetic one. I have been doing poetic translations from German since I was 15 but they take more time and work::

Heut Ist Der Schoenste Tag In Meinem Leben

Refrein:

Heut ist der schoenste Tag in meinem Leben, ]
Today is the most beautiful day in my life
Ich fuehl zum ersten Mal, ich bin verliebt.
I feel for the first time, I am in love
Ich moechte diesen Tag fuer keinen geben
I would not swap this day for any other
Es ist ein Wunder, dass es sowas gibt.
It is a wonder that such a thing could exist
Heut will ich mit keinem tauschen
Today would I exchange with no other
Wer's auch ist und wer's auch immer sei,
Who ever else is like that may it ever be
Heut will ich mich berauschen,
Today I wish to intoxicate myself
Morgen ist's vielleicht vorbei.
Tomorrow it may be gone
Heut ist der schoensten Tag in meinem Leben
Today is the most beautiful day in my life
Heut ist der schoenste Tag im Monat Mai.
Today is the most beautiful day in the month of May

Wo ich bin und wo ich gehe,
Where I am and where I go
Ist das Glueck in meiner Naehe,
Isd the luck of what surrounds me
Heute singen alle Geiqen,
Today all fiddles sing
Fuer Dich und fuer mich.
For you and for me
Heute denk ich nicht an Morgen,
Today I don't think of tomorrow
Heute gibt es keine Sorgen,
Today there are no worries
Heut ist alle Tage Sonntag,
Today is an eternal Sunday
Fuer dich und fuer mich.
For you and for me

Refrein

Auf die Woche folgt der Sonntag
After the week Sunday follows
Auf den Sonntaq folgt der Montag,
After Sunday comes Monday
Auf die Sonne folgt der Regen,
After the sun comes the rain
So ist das zumeist.
So it is in general
Auf die Trauer folgt die Freude,
After sadness comes joy
Und die Liebe fuer uns beide,
And love for us two
Und wer so wie wir verliebt ist,
And so for anybody in love like us
Der weiss was das heisst.
Who knows what that is

Refrein


Update:

I have done a bit more work on the translation and the version below should be just barely singable

Refrain:

Now is the best time in all my life
I feel for the first time I am in love
I wouldn't give this day for any other
It is a wonder that such a thing could be
I won't swap this day with anyone else
Who ever it is or whoever it may be
Today I want to be drunk with it
For tomorrow it may be gone
Now is the best time in all my life
Now is the best time in the month of May

Verse 1

Where I am and where I go
Luck is in my neighbourhood
Today all fiddles are singing
For you and for me
Today there is no tomorrow
Today there are no worries
Today all days are Sunday
For you and for me

Verse 2

After the week comes Sunday
After Sunday comes Monday
After the sun comes the rain
So it mostly is
After sadness comes joy
And love for us two
And anyone else in love
Knows what that means

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