July, 2000 Edition

European Popular Music Traditions - page 2

Sheet Music Cover
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.

German Lyrics
English Translation
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

Enjoy this romantic waltz

Download KAR version (German lyrics, right click for "save as")

Sheet Music Cover
La Kraquette
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 musical trends.

Hear this great original French dance. (Mid only, no lyrics)

Sheet Music Cover
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 great popularity.

      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)

German Lyrics
English Translation
br> 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.
Hear this great German popular song

Download KAR version (German lyrics, right click for "save as")

Sheet Music Cover
Ah! Suzanne
ca. 1900
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 this 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.

French Lyrics
English Translation
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,
Car-ell' s'i-ma-gi-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)

Hear this naughty, humorous French song

Download KAR version (French lyrics, right click for "save as")

There are more songs to be heard! If you have not already visited our essay 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 Ouellet, Montreal Canada
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."

Patricia Bridewell, 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."

Claus Kucher, 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.

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