Moon of Alabama

Kurt Weill (1900 - 1950): Alabama Song su testo di Bertolt Brecht (1898 - 1956), da Mahagonny (1927). Robyn Archer, voce solista; London Sinfonietta, dir. Dominic Muldowney.
Il testo originale, in tedesco, fu pubblicato nella raccolta di poesie Hauspostille (1927); non è chiaro se la traduzione inglese sia opera dello stesso Brecht oppure di Elisabeth Hauptmann (1897 - 1973), allora collaboratrice del drammaturgo tedesco.
La musica fu composta dallo stesso Brecht insieme con Franz Servatius Bruinier (1905 - 1928); venne poi modificata da Kurt Weill per essere inserita in due lavori nati dalla collaborazione con Brecht: il «Songspiel» Mahagonny (1927) e l’opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1930).

Show me the way to the next whisky bar,
Oh, don’t ask why,
For if we don’t find the next whisky bar
I tell you we must die.

Oh, Moon of Alabama,
We now must say good-bye.
We’ve lost our good old mama
And must have whisky,
Oh, you know why.

Show me the way to the next pretty girl,
Oh, don’t ask why,
For if we don’t find the next pretty girl
I tell you we must die.

Oh, Moon of Alabama,
We now must say good-bye.
We’ve lost our good old mama
And must have a girl,
Oh, you know why.

Show me the way to the next little dollar,
Oh, don’t ask why,
For if we don’t find the next little dollar
I tell you we must die.

Oh, Moon of Alabama,
We now must say good-bye.
We’ve lost our good old mama
And must have dollars,
Oh, you know why.


Kurt Weill

Harvest Moon

Shine on, shine on, Harvest Moon
Up in the sky;
I ain’t had no lovin’
Since January, April, June or July.
Snow time, ain’t no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
Shine on, shine on, Harvest Moon,
For me and my gal.

(Song attribuito a Nora Bayes e Jack Norworth, autori dell’epoca d’oro di Tin Pan Alley; la composizione risale ai primi anni del 1900.)

Laurel & Hardy

Folksongs: Bushes and Briars

Per Paola (buon compleanno!) e Carole.

Anonimo: Bushes and Briars, canto tradizionale inglese. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.
La «scoperta» di questo brano si deve a Ralph Vaughan Williams, che l’udì cantare da un pastore nell’Essex e ne pubblicò un arrangiamento per coro maschile a 4 voci a cappella nel 1908.

Through bushes and through briars,
I lately took my way;
All for to hear the small birds sing,
And the lambs to skip and play.

I overheard my own true love,
Her voice it was so clear;
Long time I have been waiting
For the coming of my dear.

Sometimes I am uneasy
And troubled in my mind;
Sometimes I think I’ll go to my love
And tell to him my mind.

And if I should go to my love,
My love he will say «Nay»;
If I show to him my boldness,
He’ll ne’er love me again.

L’arrangiamento di Vaughan Williams eseguito da The Gentlemen of St. John’s.

RVW, Bushes and briars

Folksongs: She Moved through the Fair

Anonimo: She Moved through the Fair, canzone tradizionale irlandese. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.
La melodia, diffusa in Irlanda e in Scozia, risale probabilmente al basso Medioevo. Il testo è stato pubblicato per la prima volta nella raccolta Irish Country Songs (1909), curata da Herbert Hughes.

My young love said to me: My mother won’t mind,
And my father won’t slight you for your lack of kine.
And she stepped away from me and this she did say:
It will not be long, love, ‘til our wedding day.

She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her move here and move there,
And then she went homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

Last night she came to me, she came softly in.
So softly she came that her feet made no din,
And she laid her hand on me, and this she did say:
It will not be long, love, ‘til our wedding day.


Folksongs: Cold and Raw

Anonimo (sec. XVII): Cold and Raw ovvero The Maid who Sold her Barley o anche The Farmer’s Daughter, ballad di probabile origine scozzese. The Baltimore Consort.

Cold and raw the North did blow, bleak in a morning early;
All the trees were hid with snow, cover’d with winter fearly.
As I came riding o’er the slough, I met with a farmer’s daughter,
Rosie cheeks, and bonny brow, geud faith, made my mouth to water.

Down I vail’d my bonnet low, meaning to show my breeding,
She return’d a graceful bow, her visage far exceeding:
I ask’d her where she went so soon, and long’d to begin a parley:
She told me to the next market town, a purpose to sell her barley.

«In this purse, sweet soul!» said I, «twenty pound lies fairly,
Seek no farther one to buy, for I’se take all thy barley:
Twenty more shall purchase delight, thy person I love so dearly,
If thou wilt lig by me all night, and gang home in the morning early.»

«If forty pound would buy the globe, this thing I’s not do, sir;
Or were my friends as poor as Job, I’d never raise’em so, sir:
For shou’d you prove to-night my friend, we’se get a young kid together,
And you’d be gone e’r nine months end, & where shall I find the father?»

«Pray what would my parents say, if I should be so silly,
To give my maidenhead away, and lose my true love, Billy!
Oh this would bring me to disgrace, and therefore I say you nay, sir;
And if that you would me embrace, first marry, & then you may, sir!»

I told her I had wedded been, fourteen years and longer,
Else I’d chuse her for my queen, and tye the knot yet stronger.
She bid me then no farther roame, but manage my wedlock fairly,
And keep my purse for poor spouse at home, for some other should have her barley.

Then as swift as any roe, she rode away and left me;
After her I could not go, of joy she quite bereft me:
Thus I my self did disappoint, for she did leave me fairly,
My words knock’d all things out of joint, I lost both the maid and the barley.

Il testo è compreso nella monumentale silloge Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy curata da Thomas D’Urfey, la cui 1a edizione risale al 1698; nel corso degli anni è stato associato a musiche diverse: la versione del Baltimore Consort adotta la melodia di Stingo, or The Oyle of Barley, un jig (danza) tratta dalla raccolta The English dancing master (16511) di John Playford; stingo e oil of barley sono due modi di dire popolari con i quali si indicava all’epoca una birra forte a gradazione elevata.
La melodia doveva essere assai popolare nel primo Settecento, tant’è vero che Pepusch la utilizzò per rivestire di musica l’aria «If any Wench Venus’s Girdle wear», cantata da Mrs Peachum nella 4a scena del I atto della Beggar’s Opera di John Gay (rappresentata per la 1a volta nel 1728).

If any Wench Venus’s Girdle wear,
 Though she be never so ugly;
Lilies and Roses will quickly appear,
 And her Face look wond’rous smugly.

Beneath the left Ear so fit but a Cord,
 (A Rope so charming a Zone is!)
The Youth in his Cart hath the Air of a Lord,
 And we cry, There dies an Adonis!

(Non mi è chiaro perché, nella clip, la musica sia associata a immagini tratte da un ben noto videogioco. Ma tant’è: a volte, si sa, bisogna fare di necessità virtù.)

Playford 1651

Folksongs: Barbara Allen

Anonimo (sec. XVII): Barbara Allen, ballad di origine scozzese. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

In Scarlet town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwellin’,
Made ev’ry youth cry «Well-a-day.»
Her name was Barbara Allen.

All in the merry month of may,
When green buds they were swellin’,
Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay
For love of Barbara Allen.

So slowly, slowly she came up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said when there she came:
«Young man, I think you’re dyin’.»

When he was dead, and laid in grave,
Her heart was struck with sorrow.
«Oh mother, mother, make my bed:
For I shall die tomorrow.»

Farewell, she said, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

Folksongs: Down by the Salley Gardens

Herbert Hughes (1882 - 1937): Down by the Salley Gardens, melodia tradizionale irlandese (Maids of Mourne Shore) adattata a un testo di William Butler Yeats (da The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems, 1889). Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.