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Monday, August 5, 2019

Di muzik shpilt (1895 Yiddish parody of And The Band Played On)

The Band Played on, by Charles B. Ward and John F. Palmer, was one of the big successes on Tin Pan Alley, so of course it was parodied for the Jewish music publishing world. Isaac Reingold, who has featured often in this blog, was one of the two most prolific parodists (the other being Louis Gilrod).

This is an astonishing lyric. In the first verse, we get a sweet and detailed scene from young Genendl's life, when she leaves her preparations for the Sabbath behind in order to go dancing. In the second verse, Genendl and her fiance are at their wedding reception longing for everybody else to leave so they could be alone together. And in the third verse, the husband murders her for going on a picnic with the boarder.

Here's our take on it, from the Yiddish Ragtime cd. Randy Kloko sang with me and Glenn Mehrbach played the keyboard.



Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.


Di muzik shpilt

Shtark basheftik iz Genendl, fraytik in der kekh,
Der shabes shpart bay ir nokh on tsu vayt.
In mitn plotst bay ir di taliye, geyt zi shabes shtekh,
Di noz opvishn hot zi oykh keyn tsayt.
Dos fleysh nokh nit gezaltsn, di fish nokh nit gefilt,
Di lokshn kokhn zikh nokh ersht in pan.
Nor plutsling shteyendik baym koymen hert zi muzik shpilt.
Af hefker lozt zi ales iber dan, oy oy oy …

Zi khapt nor di shkrabes, in shtub vert shvarts shabes
Ven di muzik shpilt,
Es kumen ganeyvim, vu kets azoy kleyvim,
Ven di muzik shpilt.
Di kats khapt ir kheylek,
Dos fleysh mitn beylik,
Dos ort fun fish farkilt.
Do blaybt far der brieh keyn zakh af refueh,
Un di muzik shpilt.

Af a hokhtsayt loyfn, ze ikh mentshn her un hin.
Der zal iz ful mit geste ongefilt.
Men shpilt dem khosn veynendiks, nor im ligt zayns in zin:
Im vilt zikh beser freylekhs yetst geshpilt.
Di kale zitst antkegn un varft an oyg af im
Un trakht zikh: "Vi der leb ikh shoyn di sho?"
Zey falt tsu last der gantser oylem vos ringlen zey arum,
Vos lozn khosn kale nit tsu ru - oy oy oy

Es tantsn mekhutonim nor ponim tsu ponim
Ven di muzik shpilt.
Es plyesken bitmimes i feters i mimes ven di muzik shpilt.
Nor plutsling fun ale farshvind khosn kale,
Der liarem vert geshtilt.
Men git nokh a brokhe, "zol zayn mit hatslokhe"
Un di muzik shpilt.

Mayn shokhns vaybl iz a tsnie, erlekh tray dem man,
Dos denken ale shkheynim un zey freyt.
Nor epes shmeykhlt zi tsum boarder,
Veykht nit oys zayn shpan,
Es shaynt, er hot ir shoyn dem kop fardreyt.
Zi geyt mit im tsum piknik, der man vert oyfmerkzam
Un er bashlisht zikh haynt zey nokh tsu geyn.
Georemt mitn boarder dort, shpatsirt um di madam
Tsvishn hoykhe boymer gants aleyn ... oy oy oy!

Er kumt zey antkegn un treft zey farlegn,
Ven di muzik shpilt.
Der boarder iz keyn shoyte, er makht glaykh a plite,
Ven di muzik shpilt.
Zi khapt a mapole, es vert a yelole.
Er treft, gor nit getsilt!
Un fun der komediye, lozt zikh oys tragediye,
Un di muzik shpilt.

The Music Plays

Genendl is terribly busy Friday in the kitchen. The Sabbath suddenly came up on her. In the midst of it all her shirtwaist tore. She's botching things, she's in such a hurry. She doesn't even have time to wipe her nose. The meat isn't yet salted, the fish isn't stuffed, she's just getting the noodles into the pan. But suddenly, standing by the chimney, she hears music playing, and she abandons everything.

She just grabs her slippers. It's dark in the house on Shabes when the music plays. Here come thieves, the cat and the dog, when the music plays. The cat grabs her share, the meat and the chicken breast, the fish gets cold, and for the creature there's nothing to be done, and the music plays.

Running to a wedding I see people here and there. The hall is stuffed with guests. Keening music is played for the bridegroom, but he has his own thoughts. He'd prefer they played happy tunes. The bride sits across from him, peeks at him and thinks: How can I wait? The assembled multitude badgers them and won't leave them alone. Oy!

The inlaws dance cheek to cheek when the music plays. The aunts and uncles are innocently clapping when the music plays. But suddenly the bride and bridegroom disappear, the uproar quiets down. A blessing is said: "May they live in prosperity!" and the music plays.

My neighbor's wife is modest, faithful to her husband (so think the neighbors happily). But she sort of smiles at the boarder, she doesn't avoid him. It seems he's turned her head. She goes to a picnic with him. Her husband starts to notice, he decides to follow them. The lady walks arm in arm with the boarder among the tall trees, nobody else around, oy oy oy!

He comes up to them and finds them in flagrante delicto when the music plays. The boarder's no blockhead, he takes to his heels when the music plays. She meets her downfall, there's a hullabaloo, the husband shoots without aiming! And from the comedy arises tragedy when the music plays.



For sheet music and/or performances contact me: jane@mappamundi.com

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