Saturday, July 26, 2014

Evolution of a Song - from Latvia, Russia, Voznesensky, Pugacheva, South Korea, Shinee, and a Gayageum, with love

...And now it's time for something completely different.

My daughter, who was born in Russia, but has just returned from a prolonged sojourn abroad in South Korea, brought this song to my attention. "Do you recognize it?" she asked with a curious smirk on her face. It sounded strangely familiar, then it hit me: this was a Korean version of the Russian song (which was a remake of a Latvian song written by Raimunds Pauls and first performed in 1981), A Million Roses, which featured lyrics by the Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky.

In Korean, with Mongolian subtitles.

I watched the above, mesmerized. Jonghyun, a member of the well-known boy-band band Shinee, sings under the critical eyes of an Ajumma or two, one of whom, I believe, performed a version of the song in a Korean film:

But below is the version of the song that really floored me, accompanied by the traditional Korean gayageum. My daughter informs me that this translation into Korean from Russian is a more literal one. Gayageum jam session!

The musical ensemble performing below is
Infinity of Sound.

There are just no words to describe my reaction....but this is my favorite Korean version.

The inspiration for the lyrics of this song apparently originated in a story Andrei Voznesensky heard about the Georgian painter, Niko Pirosmani, who once, in a grand gesture, drove several carts to a square near the hotel in Tbilisi where his Muse, a French actress named Margarita was staying, and filled the area with a multitude of flowers.

Girl With Flowers (Margarita), Niko Pirosmani

Alla Pugacheva's famous Russian version.

....A million, million, million red roses
From your window, from your window
From your window you can see
Who's in love, who's in love
Who's seriously in love with you
Will turn their life into flowers for you.

In 2010, Alexander Anichkin posted an excellent remembrance of the poet Voznesensky at his blog, Tetradki (A Russian Review of Books.)

Here is a translation of a poem of Voznesensky's by W. H. Auden, from The New York Review of Books.

My Achilles Heart

In these days of unheard-of suffering
One is lucky indeed to have no heart:
Crack-shots plug me again and again,
But have no luck.

Riddled with holes, I laugh
At the furious pack: “Tally-ho, boys!
I am a lattice. Look through me.
Isn’t the landscape lovely?”

But suppose a gun should locate,
Tied by an aching thread,
Beating a hair’s breadth off target,
My Achilles heart.

Beware, my darling. Hush. Not a sound,
While I charge noisily
From place to place around Russia,
As a bird diverts the hunters from its nest.

Are you still in pain? Do you act up at night?
This defenseless extra is what saves me.
Do not handle it roughly;
The shudder would bring me down.

Our destruction is unthinkable,
More unthinkable what we endure,
More unthinkable still that a sniper
Should ever sever the quivering thread.

—translated by W.H. Auden


Friday, July 25, 2014

morning in the fairy-garden - Tagore poem

This is my delight, thus to wait and watch at the wayside where shadow
    chases light and the rain comes in the wake of the summer.
Messengers, with tidings from unknown skies, greet me
    and speed along the road. My heart is glad within,
    and the breath of the passing breeze is sweet.
From dawn till dusk I sit here before my door, and I know
that of a sudden the happy moment will arrive when
I shall see.
In the meanwhile I smile and I sing all alone.
In the meanwhile the air is filling with
the perfume of promise.

--Rabindranath Tagore

Loituma - "Ievan Polkka" (Eva's Polka) 1996

For my son, who likes this song, and dreams of moving to Finland.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 9

Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 9 
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, Conductor

My grandfather, a mathematician, was quite fond of Mahler.

This particular performance is nearly as pleasing as a visual spectacle, as it is an aural experience.

Please enjoy ~

Wheat Field

Please click here to read this poem, written by a friend.

Wheat Field, Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, July 20, 2014

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Lao Tse

All night, the rain is falling

for my sister

A leaning tale told times two, in tandem,
an astonishment of light-patterns,
the mountains blush in shadow-stencils,
and still the leaves, they are murmuring.

For past pairs of torn wings, and crushed voices,
further gifts hide behind fastened doors
where a gilded rain descends, silence sings,
music returns to a source of its wanderings.

A dyad of aspens stands at the head of my path,
formed from a single seedling. A body is dust,
yet breathes, a grateful heart, in a column of light;
and melody blossoms from a choir of wounds.

(for erin) when i ask, where have the redpolls gone, and why the silence at my seed station your eyes, unbidden twin candles startle ...

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