Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker since February 2008.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Another of my favourite songs.

The Hurdy-gurdy Man  from Schubert's bleak song-cycle Winterreise.

Der Leiermann

1. with hurdy-gurdy accompaniment.

2. the original piano version with Thomas Quasthoff accompanied by Daniel Barenboim.

There are also beautiful interpretations by Fischer-Dieskau, and with Hans Hotter and Gerald Moore,
together with the German text by Wilhelm Müller.

Here is my singable translation:

In the wretched village 
a hurdy-gurdy-man,
who with frozen fingers 
plays the best he can.

Barefoot on the ice he
stumbles here and there;
and his little coin-cup
stays forlornly bare.
Nothing on his feet, he
staggers through the cold.
No one puts a farthing
in his battered bowl.

No-one cares to listen
or give him a glance.
Now the dogs are growling;
he has not a chance,

but he keeps on grinding,
doesn't seem to care,
churning out his music
in the chilly air.

Otherworldly relic,
will I go with you ?
Will your hurdy-gurdy
accompany me, too ?

It took me most of a morning to translate these simple lines!

Contrast and compare:
                                         Those, like me,  who were around and interested in the British and Irish Folksong revival of the 1950s and 1960s (thank you Lonnie Donegan!) may remember Cyril Tawney's The Oggie-Man, about the demise of a man who sold a kind of savoury pasty...

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