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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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Very interesting. "Schmul" sounds a lot like "Schwul", which is German for gay. Today, in 2009.

It could very well be that the term "Schmul" is somehow lost to history. But now I'm interested. Gotta find out what it means. Might take a while. I've had one or two beers since my last post. Smile
Mr. Mystoffelees
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"Stone", if I may be so boldly familiar...

1. From my perspective you didn't waste your time. That is some of the best reading I have done in a long time, copied to my archive file for sure. Thank you muchly.

2. Are you saying you DIDN'T have a beer while you did this? If yes, what were you thinking?

Thanks again, really neat!

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Magnus Eisengrim
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Oh yes, thanks for all your work, Stone. The link is fascinating, and so is your translation, especially the parts you are uncertain about.

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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Glad y'all appreciated it.

I was able to find out that "Schmul" is a short form of "Samuel". I was unable to find out if the short form was used pejoratively or not.

And Jim, of course you can call me Stone...or Stoney or even Jeff.

Have a beer:

:stout:

I think I'll have one myself.

:stout:
Todd Robbins
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When the song was brought to Louis Armstrong to record, he passed on it. It didn't do anything for him and he didn't thing he could get much out of it. When the context of the song was explained to him, he realized that Mack was very much like some of the toughs he knew when he was growing up in New Orleans. It gave him a hook, he recorded it and it became a hit for him.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2009-03-28 13:42, stoneunhinged wrote:
Glad y'all appreciated it.

I was able to find out that "Schmul" is a short form of "Samuel".


Am I allowed to feel clever at this point Smile

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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Yes, you are allowed to feel clever.

But then, we all knew you were clever.

This gives you an "extra clever" notch on your hat!

I find the last lines particularly interesting. "Woke up and had been violated" is extremely provocative. Violated how? If murdered, how did she wake up? And perhaps the better translation here is "reward" She woke up and had been violated, Mackie, what was your reward?

Also provocative is that such a contextual song became a jazz hit. But then, Todd has already given us a line of thought on that.

Truth be told, I've been singing this song in my head for two days now. I hope that doesn't make me a monster.
Magnus Eisengrim
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"Violated" is such an interesting word. Is it the only English word that the German text evokes?

Do you think "reward" is better than price? Does "Preis" have Biblical overtones? Like maybe with Judas?

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
ed rhodes
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While Brecht certainly wrote Mack The Knife, I think the original artist to perform it was Lotte Lenya. (I have trouble equating one of the main bad guys in "From Russia With Love" with musical theater, but there it is.

Here's Ms. Lenya, who has a lovely voice also singing it in German.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPG9GcykPIY
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Mr. Mystoffelees
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So, is Macheath a typical german name or does it have some other significance?

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
boynextdoor
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Have you guys seen the Sammy Davis Jr. version?!?
Trapeze above the Grand Canyon. Be impressed.
boynextdoor
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I really don't like Lotte Lenya's voice. I don't know if it's some kind of time period specific style of singing or maybe that mixed with a cultural thing, but I really LOVE Ute Lemper's version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiAhizgRtjY
Trapeze above the Grand Canyon. Be impressed.
landmark
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Yes, I really like the Ute Lemper version too. The correct Url for that is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yddNtR5zfaU&feature=related

but the ALabama Song is great too.

Lotte Lenya was the wife of the Moritat's composer, Kurt Weill.

BTW, can anyone confirm that that was really Brecht's voice? I just have a feeling that that maybe mistaken.
boynextdoor
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*slaps forehead*

Yes.

What he said.
Trapeze above the Grand Canyon. Be impressed.
stoneunhinged
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In answer to the questions:

MacHeath is not a particularly German name. Smile I suppose, without looking it up, that MacHeath was a real murderer that Brecht based the text on.

"Violated" is, once again, an interpretive choice. Defiled, disgraced, raped. I think the English "violate" is suitably vague, just like the German. I was thinking it's just another way of saying she had been murdered, but I guess if she had been murdered she wouldn't have woken up.

What a strange song to have become a jazz classic!
stoneunhinged
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And John, I forgot the question about "Preis". That goes way beyond my German ability. I did, however, do a quick online check of the Luther translation of the passage in the Bible about Judas and the word is not used there.

In today's German--which might be quite different from Brecht's in this regard--no one asks about "price" when talking about goods and services; rather, they talk about what something "costs". "Preis" (sounds just like the English "price") is usually used in the sense of "prize", as in "award". That's why I thought maybe "reward" is better. But I'm unsure.

Now, was that really Brecht? I think so. The same recording is used in documentaries and such. That doesn't prove anything, of course, but it's the best one can do.

This is so fun and interesting I'm tempted to try translating the song for real...with rhyming and everything.

What I find MOST fascinating is the Bobby Darin version, which is almost perverse:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dDs_N3kGQk

He could be singing "New York, New York" or something. Very strange. I think the text is the same as what Louis Armstrong used.

Lastly, I found some interesting reading about the song, here:

http://mobydicks.com/lecture/Brechthall/messages/70.html
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2009-03-28 21:39, mandarin wrote:
So, is Macheath a typical german name or does it have some other significance?

Jim


Brecht based his text on the 18th century play The Beggar's Opera by John Gay. Gay set the play in London (as did Brecht) so the Scottish-sounding Macheath isn't so surprising.

I checked Bain's Clans and Tartans of Scotland and didn't find any references to the name MacHeath, so I guess that Gay made the name up.

If you'd like to read The Beggar's Opera, there is a free etext at Project Gutenberg.

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
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2009-03-29 07:03, stoneunhinged wrote:
And John, I forgot the question about "Preis". That goes way beyond my German ability. I did, however, do a quick online check of the Luther translation of the passage in the Bible about Judas and the word is not used there.

In today's German--which might be quite different from Brecht's in this regard--no one asks about "price" when talking about goods and services; rather, they talk about what something "costs". "Preis" (sounds just like the English "price") is usually used in the sense of "prize", as in "award". That's why I thought maybe "reward" is better. But I'm unsure.

Now, was that really Brecht? I think so. The same recording is used in documentaries and such. That doesn't prove anything, of course, but it's the best one can do.

This is so fun and interesting I'm tempted to try translating the song for real...with rhyming and everything.

What I find MOST fascinating is the Bobby Darin version, which is almost perverse:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dDs_N3kGQk

He could be singing "New York, New York" or something. Very strange. I think the text is the same as what Louis Armstrong used.

Lastly, I found some interesting reading about the song, here:

http://mobydicks.com/lecture/Brechthall/messages/70.html


Thanks Jeff. I've got some reading and viewing to do. This is great stuff.

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
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2009-03-29 10:42, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-03-28 21:39, mandarin wrote:
So, is Macheath a typical german name or does it have some other significance?

Jim


Brecht based his text on the 18th century play The Beggar's Opera by John Gay. Gay set the play in London (as did Brecht) so the Scottish-sounding Macheath isn't so surprising.


John


Hmm. If I'd followed Jeff's link above, I would have seen that this was already established. Sorry for the redundancy and repetition. Smile

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
landmark
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The Mark Blitzstein English translation is the most well known, but others swear by Eric Bentley's as more authentic. I'm not a German speaker so I don't know.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A cool find: the original Mack the Knife (2 Likes)
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