July, 2000 Edition
European Popular Music Traditions - page 2
Ein Wiener Walzer
Music & Lyrics by: Ralph Benatzky
Cover artist: unknown
Of course another form of music that has its origins in Germany (&
Austria) is the Waltz. The waltz was brought to its pinnacle of development
and popularity during the mid to late 19th century by the Strauss family
whose music is still very much in the common repertoire.
On 1-Aug-1914, the Great Powers of Europe were at war as a result of
the assassination of the heir to the Hapsburg throne, Archduke Franz
Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28th, St. Vitus Day, a Serbian holiday.
By the time this song was written, the great war was already well in
progress and death and destruction was touching the lives of the people
of Europe. Though it may be my own imagination at work, it seems to
me that this waltz has a darker tone to it, as though the pall of war
is affecting the composer and coming through in his music. At the same
time, the lyrics speak of better times and memories as well as a chance
encounter, quickly consummated and just as quickly ended. Certainly,
not an uncommon human theme during wartime.
Again, we have a rather lengthy work, at 4:20. Enjoy this romantic
Austrian waltz. It is a beautifully romantic work.
Er sas auf der Te-ras-se vom Caf-fee L'Eu-rope,
die Früh-lings-nacht war vol-ler Klin-gen
und-er sah auf dem Tur-m vom Ste-fans-dom,
ob die leuch-ten-den Zif-ferl'n sprin-gen,
a-m Ne-ben-tisch a-ber saß Wieß in Weiß en blon-des
Mä-del und löf-felt Eis u-nd las schein-bar voll
In-t'res-se den Leit-ar-ti-kel der Pres-se,
n'ur ab und zu traf ihm wie son-der-bar
ein leuch-ten-der Blick aus dem
Aug-gen-paar Da nahm er lä-chelnd ein Stück Pa-pier
und schrieb die-se wer-ben-den Zei-len ihr
Ich weiß auf der Wie-den ein klei-nes Ho-tel,
in ei-nem ver-schweige-nen Gäß--chen.
die Nacht ist so kurz und der Tag kommt so schnell,
komm mit mir du klei-nes Com-teß-chen
was machst du dir Sor-gen was mor--gen ist,
die Welt hat nur Son-ne und Lie-der,
und hast du ein-mal ei-ne Nac-ht ver-küßt,
so tust du es im-mer wie-der!
Und der! Ich ging heut mor-gen mit mei-nem Schatz
ganz sitt-sam ü-ber den Ste-phans-platz,
Da la-g zu mei-nen Fü-s-sen mir ein kle-nes Stück Papier,
I-ch hob es auf und hab ge-lacht
es war das Ge-dicht das der Jun-ge
ge macht die gan-ze Welt vol Früh-lings-duft
ein Wal-zer-klin-gen lag in der Luft
und Al-les war so leicht so frei, im Mai!
So se-lig war mir, und es schein
als summ-te heim-lich ganz Wien
Ich weis auf der Wie-den ein klei-nes Hö-tel,
in ei-nem ver-schie-ge-nem Gäß-chen,
die Nacht ist so kurz und der Tag kommt so schnell,
komm mit mir, du klei-nes Com-teß-chen,
was machst du dir Sor-gen was mo-r-gen ist
die Welt hat nur Son-ne und Lie-der
und hast du ein-mal ei-ne Ni-cht ver-küßt
so tust du es im-mer wie--der.
He sits on the terrace of the Cafe L'Europe
The spring night was full of sound
And he saw the tower of Stephansdom
and wanted to see if the lit up numbers were moving
On the next table sat a blonde girl in white
As she spooned ice cream
it seemed she was fully interested in a newspaper article
Now and then she looked over with a light in her eyes
Then he laughingly took a piece of paper
He wrote these lines to her:
I know of a little hotel in a quiet lane.
The night is so short and the day comes too quick,
Come with me you little Countess
Why worry about tomorrow
The world has only sunshine and songs
And if you had one night of kissing
Then you would do it over and over again
Then that day's morning
I went with my sweetheart
Very modestly to the Stephans Platz
There lay under my foot a small piece of paper
I picked it up and I laughed
It was that poem about a young boy
Who had made the whole world full of springtime smells
A waltz tune in the air
And everything was so light so free in May
So blissful was I
It seemed as if the whole of Vienna secretly hummed
I know of a meadow a small hotel In a quiet lane
The night is so short and the day comes so quick
Come with me my little Countess.
Why worry about tomorrow
The world has only sunshine and song
And had you ONCE, a night kissed
So you would do it over and over again
Music by: Justin Clarice
Cover artist: Le Rice
One of the phenomenons of the early 20th
century in America was the introduction of new dances. It seemed everyone
was creating them and the public ate them up.It appears France was no
exception. Here we have a "new dance" created in 1906 and
cited as "Le Grand Succes Parisien", The great Paris sensation.
Interestingly, with this dance, published
in Paris, we see an attempt to cross over to the English speaking market
through a subtitle in English, "New Dancing". From this period
on, we began to see a cross influence in music and where before, American
music was largely influenced by continental tradition, we find that
the sweeping changes in America begin to influence European music.
This publication is very unique in that it also includes a very detailed sheet of instructions (in French only)
on how to perform the dance.
Though I have seen a number of dance introduction sheets, this is the only
one I have seen with the dance instructions included. Of course, I don't
expect you to be able to read the instructions and am providing the
image here to document this curiosity. If any of you want a larger copy
of the image, e-mail me and I will be happy to send you one you can
read. You are on your own though with translating it!
Though again, we have a work with no lyrics,
musically this work is very enjoyable, I found it a delight to listen
to. Though it is still very much a product of the continental musical
tradition, you can hear elements that promise a blend of new an emerging
Ich küsse ihre Hand Madame
Music by: Ralph Erwin
Lyrics by: Fritz Rotter
Cover artist: Deventer
By 1912, the influence of American music
was beginning to make itself felt around the western world. As a result,
Europe began to turn from the pure classical forms of song to forms
that were influenced by trends in America. Ragtime and the blues were
styles that were quickly assimilated into European songs and enjoyed
When you listen to this song, you can close
your eyes and imagine it as a song you would hear on any day in America.
You can hear elements of the blues as well as the very popular Tango
that swept Europe and then America around this time. (See our essay
on German and French popular music for more about the tango and
to hear a great Tango published in France in 1911)
This song was quite popular and was republished in the
twenties. It was sung by the great Marlene Dietrich and interestingly,
there was a SILENT movie made in 1929 using the same title, "I
Kiss Your Hand Madame", available on video. (Thanks
to Robbie Rhodes for finding
this information and sharing it with us)
wir ha-ben manch mal auch da-von ge-spro-chen.
Was nützt das al-les, mein Pech da-bei ist.
daß ach, ihr Herz-chen lei-der nicht mehr frei ist.
Ihr Blick ge-bie-tet mir: "Sei still"
Doch träu-men kann ich, was ich will:
Ich küs-se ih-re Hand, Ma-dame,
und träum', es war ihr Mund.
Ich bin ja so ga-lant Ma-dame,
doch das hat sei-nen Grund.
Hab' ich erst ihr Ver-trau'n, Ma-dame,
und ih-re Sym-pa-thie;
wenn sie erst auf mich bau'n Ma-dame,
ja, dann, sie wer-den schau'n, Ma-dame,
küß ich statt ih-rer Hand, Ma-dame
nur ih-ren ro-ten Mund!
My dear, I've loved you these many weeks,
and oftentimes we've spoken of our love.
But what good is it?
for your sweet heart is no longer free.
Your eyes tell me to be quiet,
But I can dream what ever
I will I kiss your hand, madame,
In my dreams it is your lips.
I seem to be so gallant in my greeting,
but there is a secret reason.
If I can but gain your confidence and sympathy,
If you only learn to trust me,
Then soon when you see me,
Instead of kissing your hand, madame,
I'll kiss your sweet red lips.
Music by: W. Hinsch
Lyrics by: Christine-Christien
Cover artist: unknown
One thing that is often associated with
the French is romance and bawdy behavior. Having visited France and
associated with a number of French "amies", I can vouch
for the fact that the French attitudes towards sex and the body are
much less inhibited than ours in America.
This was no doubt true at the turn of
the century and was expressed in all art forms, including popular
music. This sweet chansonnette is about a young girl who is concerned
about the development of her body and its attractiveness to young
men. The song is musically enjoyable but it is the lyrics that make
it. I have laughed out loud each time I hear it and read the lyrics
and I hope you will too. At the same time, for those of you with some
inhibitions, perhaps you might want to pass and move on to
months essay .
If not, please don't say you were not warned. I
have verified the translation of this song with three translators
and can assure you, it is accurate. The French word "nichon"
translates to the more common term "tit" as compared to
the word "poitrine" which means breast. In the interest
of accuracy, I have used the literal translation. I trust we can all
approach this with good nature and no offended feelings.
La pe-tit' Su-zan-ne vient d'a-voir seize ans,
Elle est fraiche et ros' comme un jour de prin-temps.
Ell' res-sent deja dans son coeur in-no-cent
L'de-sir trou-blant Qui la ta-qui-ne;
Ell' veut e-tre femme, avoir de beaux ni-ch-ons
Mais il n'ya per-sonne a son pe-tit bal-con.
Et ca la cha-gri-ne,
Qu'ca f'rait la con-que-te d'un jo-li gar-con.
Ah! ma p'tit' Su-zan-ne, Ah! ma p'tit Su-zan-ne
Tes nich-ons n'veul'nt pas gran-dir,
Et com-me soeur An-ne,
Et com-me soeur An-ne
Tu n'vois rien ve-nir, Ah!-- Ah! Su-zan-ne
N'te de-sol' pas, c'est bien plus beau,
Car les p'tits ca s'tient bien mieux qu'les gros!
Little Suzanne(Suzie) just turned sixteen
she is fresh as a rose on a spring day
innocent she already feels in her innoncent heart
the troubling desire that teases her
she wants to be a woman and have nice tits
but there is no one at her balcony (nobody comes to her balcony)
imagine it makes her sad because she feels
that it would conquer a nice boy
oh my little Sazanna ah my little Suzanne
your tits dont want to grow
and like my sister Anne and like my sister Anne
Suzanne you see nothing coming Oh Oh Suzanne
dont feel bad its much nicer
because the small ones can be held better than the bigger ones
( this is a pun in french:1- can be held better
2- they stay in shape better than bigger ones)
There are more songs to be heard!
If you have not already visited our
on French and German popular music
, now is a great time to do so. In it
you will learn much more about the development of European popular music and
how American music influenced its development. You can also hear a classic
Tango, "El Panete", another great German pub song, a WWI German
march, "Gott Mitt Uns" and a beautiful French love song, "Amoureuse".
Don't miss them!
We want to publicly thank the generous and unselfish people who assisted
in the translation of these songs so we could enjoy the lyrics in English
as well as the native languages they were written in. These complete strangers
graciously volunteered to assist us when we posted a request on the Karaoke
mail user group at alt.binaries.karaoke.
Louis-Simon is a classical guitarist and baritone vocalist who simply enjoys
music and Karaoke. "My hobbies include singing and writing songs and
I like to make "Karaoke files" so just say if you want that I'm a music
lover and Karaoke fan."
, Beaver Dam,
KY. Patty enthusiastically volunteered to help us with these songs, her
excellent translations were very poetic and matched the music quite well.
"I love learning new (old) songs and keeping the ones I have already
learned. I try to play a little guitar, but have found it easier to sing
with the music already done."
, Vienna Austria. Claus
is a regular on the alt.binaries.karaoke group and was quick to jump to
our aid. His native language experience was invaluable to us having a clear
understanding of these songs.
George & Margot Butler
Kent, Ramsgate, England. George is a friend of one of my best "net
friends", Bunty Pritchard-Jones. George is retired, 80 years young
and is quite active on the net. He has a wide variety of interests besides
music and maintains a website at http://www.butshack.demon.co.uk/
, visit him, you'll be glad you did.
We hope you have enjoyed this month's feature and we appreciate
your interest in our efforts to bring you the best American popular music
history site on the web. Be sure to tell your friends and family about us.
If you have suggestions for themes or issues you would like to see in the
future, please contact us.