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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A cool find: the original Mack the Knife (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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stoneunhinged
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Over in another forum there was some talk about the song, and I found one of the coolest clips ever on youtube:

The ORIGINAL version of the song, sung by Brecht himself around 1928. It's the best version I've ever heard by far. The accompanying music is chilling in this context. Brecht trills his "r"s, as most serial killers do.

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=DE&hl=de&v=_QXJ3OXWaOY

I've listened to it ten times already.
Kjellstrom
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Long time ago...
I like old music and this is very special, Brecht was a great song writer.
I will add it to my favourites.
airship
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Quote:
Brecht trills his "r"s, as most serial killers do.

What?!? Are you trying to imply that most serial killers are Scots, or what? :O
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daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2009-03-26 11:30, stoneunhinged wrote:
Over in another forum there was some talk about the song, and I found one of the coolest clips ever on youtube:

The ORIGINAL version of the song, sung by Brecht himself around 1928. It's the best version I've ever heard by far. The accompanying music is chilling in this context. Brecht trills his "r"s, as most serial killers do.

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=DE&hl=de&v=_QXJ3OXWaOY

I've listened to it ten times already.


Cool! But somehow, I don't think the original had a much of a shot at being a hit!
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stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On 2009-03-26 12:11, airship wrote:
Quote:
Brecht trills his "r"s, as most serial killers do.

What?!? Are you trying to imply that most serial killers are Scots, or what? :O


No.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Wow. This take is considerably more sinister than the more jokey jazz versions. The spare accompaniment makes the whole performance feel just slightly outside of "normal" society. Thanks for the link.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Jonathan Townsend
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Distance. Also context if you know who's singing it and where. One of the authors was very much into exploring the distance between the audience and the story.
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Magnus Eisengrim
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Distance. Good word.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
balducci
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Some of the others down the right side of the page are also good ... I like Sting's German version.
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thorndyke
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Check out September Song; the music of Kurt Whiel. (SNC) A production made some ten years ago featuring Nick Cave singing mack, as well as Lou Reed playing September song. I wish someone would release it on dvd as I can't find my video of the show.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Neat! Is the English version a pretty faithful translation of this?

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Rupert Bair
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Why do I get the image of a pencil necked man with big goofy teeth, over sized hornrimmed glasses and a silly hat sharpening a knife whilst looking at his "too kill list"
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On 2009-03-27 11:27, mandarin wrote:
Neat! Is the English version a pretty faithful translation of this?

Jim


The Wikipedia article has some interesting information about different translations and how they differ.

I suppose that for fun I could produce a very literal (i.e., non-rhyming) translation so you can understand what he's singing. Sounds like a fun project. But I've already had my first beer, and my translations aren't particularly literal when I'm on beer. So tomorrow maybe.
stoneunhinged
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OK, I changed my mind and decided to work up a very quick but very literal translation. There is a word I need to look up, and there is at least one interpretive question, but this is a fairly accurate and literal translation.

The copyright belongs to Steve Brooks. As does everything here at the Café.

Here it is. Listen to the text and read along. Everybody have fun.



And the shark, he has teeth
and he carries them in his face
and Macheath, he has a knife
but you don't see his knife

Ah, it's the shark's fins
(that are) red, when blood flows
Mackie Messer* wears gloves
on which you can't read any misdeed

On a beautiful blue Sunday
a dead man is laying on the beach
and someone is going around the corner
that is called Mackie Messer

And "Schmul"** Meier, remains missing
like many a rich man
and Mackie Messer has his money
so you can't prove anything***

Jenny Towler was found
with a knife in the breast
and Mackie Messer goes along the waterfront
unknown by everybody

And the big fire in Soho
Seven children and and old man
Mackie Messer is in the crowd
no one asks and he knows nothing

And the underaged widow
whose name everyone knows
woke up and had been violated
Mackie, what was your price?****
woke up, and had been violated
Mackie, what was your price?




*"messer" is German for knife
** Schmul is something I've never heard before. I asked my wife and she doesn't know either. I'll look it up later.
***kind of a loose translation here.
****the German word is "Preis", which could mean "price",

"reward", "cost"? It's an interpretation question here, rather than one of translation.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Thanks, Stone.

Interesting that the very Jewish-sounding Schmul Meier became Louie Miller in the Bobby Darin version. It's an interesting move.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
stoneunhinged
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Also very interesting that you find "Schmul Meier" Jewish-sounding. Since I posted my translation I found out two things:

1. I wasted my time, because there are a lot of "literal" translations on the net. OK, I only spent five minutes. Still...a penny saved is time for another beer.

2. I still cannot find what "Schmul" means. It's not in any of the online dictionaries, and if you type something like "translation schmul meier" into Google you...uh...find out what I found out what I just said in #1. Smile

Obviously "Schmul" is some kind of title, like "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Professor" or ... I dunno.

Maybe some German Café member can help us.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Actually, I went at first just by sound. Since I wasn't so sure of my intuition, I asked a native German speaker, who happens to work right beside me. She immediate guessed was that it was a Hebrew or Yiddish name. I looked in online name collections but couldn't find it as a first name, but I did find it as a surname. My completely uneducated guess is that it is related to some form or another of Samuel (Shemuel, Shemulke, Shmiel, Shmil, Shmuel,...)

It'd be great if anyone who actually knows something about this jumps in.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On 2009-03-27 12:17, Rupert Bair wrote:
Why do I get the image of a pencil necked man with big goofy teeth, over sized hornrimmed glasses and a silly hat sharpening a knife whilst looking at his "too kill list"


Because...ah...uh...you know something about serial killers...uh...ah...wait...looking for the right word here....

Forget about it. My English is waning as I grow older. I know Matt has a sickness, but I don't know how to put it in English.

In German, Matt is "Schmücklessäfluchtichkeitgmässig."

But I can't translate it.

Sorry.
Rupert Bair
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I hope its not sudden death syndrome...
Magnus Eisengrim
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I just remembered a second native German speaker in my office, so I asked her. She said that she didn't think that it was a name, but that it was a slang term for an unusual person. She did the "open hand rotating back and forth" thing as she said this.

Hmm. The plot thickens. Am I wrong yet again?

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
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