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Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?

GeoffLawes 09 Jun 08 - 03:30 PM
Stringsinger 09 Jun 08 - 06:02 PM
GeoffLawes 10 Jun 08 - 06:01 AM
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RoyH (Burl) 28 Jun 08 - 09:27 AM
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GUEST,willem 25 Aug 12 - 04:02 PM
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Subject: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 03:30 PM

Does anyone have any information about Bart Van Der Schelling. He was was a Dutch singer who recorded in New York in the 1940's. The following reference is the only useful information I have at the moment about him.

Time Magazine has this from 4th August 1941:

World War II has yet to produce a great song, but last week some of its saddest were heard in the U.S. The League of American Writers produced an album of records ($2.75) called Behind the Barbed Wire—six songs of the French, Spanish, Italian and German anti-Fascists who now rot in the French concentration camps of Gurs, Vernet d'Ariège, Argelès-sur-Mer.

The six songs were recorded in Manhattan by a Netherlands-born fighter in the Spanish Civil War, Bart van der Schelling. He wears his chin in a brace, is called "official singer" for the U.S. survivors of the International Brigades of the Loyalists. Singer van der Schelling is backed by an "Exiles Chorus" directed by Earl Robinson (Ballad for Americans). Some of the songs—the Spanish Joven Guardia, the Italian Guardia Rossa, the German Thaelmann-Bataillon, the French Au Devant de la Vie (music by Soviet Composer Dmitri Shostakovich)—were composed during the Spanish War. Most of them are in rough, plodding march time.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 06:02 PM

Bart lived in Los Angeles, married to dancer Edna Moore. She worked with the Lester Horton Dance Theater in LA (as I remember). The couple gave "hootenannies"
at their house in Laurel Canyon on a monthly basis. It was in their home that I first heard Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie. There,   I met Guy Carawan and we sang together at many of their "hoots". Rich Dehr and Frank Miller were a duo that eventually joined Terry Gilkyson and became "The Easy Riders" penning hits such as "Sweet, Sweet, the Memory You Gave To Me". There were others who sang and played who were unknown now and then. Many of these performers played on station KGIL in the San Fernando Valley singing folk music.

Bart and Edna were avid folk music enthusiasts and I remember their
get-togethers fondly. I think Bart was injured in the Spanish Civil War. I think I remember him singing some songs there.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 06:01 AM

Hi Stringsinger, thank you for those pieces of information. You are the closest I have got to Bart Van Der Schelling so far. Could you give a date for when you went to Bart's "hootenannies" ? Did you ever hear Bart sing Viva La Quince Brigada ? Did he ever give out any information about the origin of the words that he sang to this song?
Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 05:24 PM

I got the above 1941 Time Magazine information about Bart Van Der Schelling from the Blog of Malcolm Redfellow and as a result of making further e mail contact with him he updated his blog to include a summary of my interest in the possibility that Bart Van Der Schelling was the writer of the Spanish Civil War Song Viva La Quince Brigada.
Malcolm Redfellow's Blog
From this I got in touch with John Pietaro who has made an interesting recent recording of the song
The Flames of Discontent Viva La Quince Brigada on My Space
I asked John what he knew about Bart Van Der Schelling and he has allowed me to copy his reply below.

Hello,

Thanks for your interest in the song and our version of it.

I am a pretty serious rather self-appointed historian of Left music, but i was also at a loss to get info on this song and Van der Schelling. I ended up getting a pretty good amount of info on the internet but also ran some questions about Viva to friends or associates who have done some serious work on the subject of protest song. It was still tough to get info!

Bart Van der Schelling is definately the composer of this song and I do pay royalties to his publisher, though I needed only a simple mechanical license for this recording of it. I am very careful about such things, being a composer myself. Ironically, I thought it was a traditional Spanish folksong and did not originally seek out any info for a publisher; luckily, I came across his name in my research. However, Van der Schelling based his song on a trad tune, the name of which eludes me just now (it is a different woman's name than is heard in the the song as we know it--the refrain is Ay, Manuela, but in the original it is a woman's name which sounds similarly; that is also the title of the original folk tune).

Research tells me that van Der Schelling was a very eccentric character who served in the Spanish Civil War within the International Brigade and was wounded during it. He needed to wear a heavy metal brace around his neck, perhaps for the rest of his life. There are accounts of other cultural workers seeing him with it for years after. I believe he wrote this song after the fall of the Republic, around 1938. It was not made clear on the paperwork through the Harry Fox Agency (the co which protects the copyright to many, many folk-oriented and popular songs from that era), which I used to obtain the mechanical license. From what i have gathered, he actually wrote it after leaving Spain, but not sure if it was in the US or another part of Europe.

I first heard this song via the version Pete Seeger recorded with a kind of expanded Almanac Singers, in the early 40s. Songs of the SPanish Civil War is the collection. I could not get any info on whether or not all of the artists who appear on this ever sat in a studio together. I think not--Ernst Busch probably never hung out with Seeger and Guthrie, nbut its a nice picture. That recording is one of the few, though i know that others recorded this song, too. It is the best of the Spanish Civil War songs. Seeger continued to perform it, even with the Weavers, but it never moved well beyond a kind of cult following.

In the US, i am sure that it was the Communist witch-hunt that led to the disappearance of all things Spanish Civil War. THis very prideful, revolutionary song would have been too much for the reactionaries, Red-baiters and frightened conservatives to handle. The last verse, "we'lll fight the fascists where we find them" is beautiful. I am sure that this was seen as a threat by the right-wing!

i am actually writing a book on thehistory of protest song in the US at the present time, so i will definately check out the links you've provided. Please feel free to keep in touch and if you come across more info n the song or the composer, please do let me know.

Peace,

John Pietaro


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 06:57 PM

Here is the closest that I have got yet to proof that Bart Van Der Schelling wrote Viva La Quince Brigada.

The Harry Fox Agency entry for Viva La Quince Brigada


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 07:09 PM

Geoff,

It would have been around 1949 or 50. Maybe earlier. I was just a kid.
I remember the song vividly as being sung either by him or others during
that time. There was a loose informal group called the "Sierra Folk Singers"
that met at his house as an outgrowth of his "hootenannies" with Edna Moore.
I didn't know that he might have composed "Viva La Quince" but it wouldn't
surprise me as he was quite musical in his interests.

I remember that Jerry Atinsky wrote and sang some songs at these meetings.
Rich Dehr and Frank Miller, there, were a singing duo (they later became the Easy Riders
with Terry Gilkyson (who wrote Cry of the Wild Goose).

Let me know if you find anything more about him. It was my first exposure to live folk music.

Stringsinger


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 07:25 PM

Thank you for your above post Stringsinger.
I signed up on the discussion forum of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion Archive,ALBA, and have posted a request there for information on Bart . I will let you know if anything turns up.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 25 Jun 08 - 01:14 PM

Here are the complete liner notes for Songs of the Spanish Civil War which show a photo of Bart Van Der Schelling in a neck brace.

Songs of the Spanish Civil War Volume Two

I was given this link by Sebastiaan Faber via the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive's discussion forum. Also on the alba site Juan María Gómez Ortiz gave me the follwing biographical information about Bart.

   A musical source, the booklet made for the Album # F H 5437 of
Folkways Records (1962), indicates that Bartholemeus (Bart) van der
Schelling was born on May 19, 1892 in Rotterdam, Holland. He arrived in
Spain on February 1937 and served at Jarama front. He was seriously
wounded at the battle of Brunete and remainded six months in hospital.
While wounded and in a hospital in Murcia he coincided in the same place
with Eberhard Schmitt, a veteran of the Thälmann Battalion (whose fate
was unknown on 1962) who composed the song "Wir Hintern Draht", in
English "Behind the Barbed Wire", with version of Henry F. Mins Jr.
    The song was composed in the misery and the horror of the French
concentration camp of Gurs and was smuggled out to a comrade of Schmitt.
This is the main of the songs sang by «Bart van der Schelling and the
Exiles» Chorus, and gives title to the four songs enclosed ("La guardia
rossa", or "The Red Guard", translated into English by Leonard E. Mins;
"La Joven Guardia", or "The Youthful Guardsmen", Music by Saint-Gilles,
Words by Montehus and Aragon, translation into English by Seymour A.
Copstein, and the ringing Shostakovitch's youth song "Au Devant de la
Vie", "Toward the new life", translated by Nancy Head).
    Bart was able to sing enterely unaccompanied, as in the beautiful
Catalan Anthem "Els Segadors", or with the only accompaniment of the
sound of marching feet or a simple piano, as in "Au Devant de la Vie".
    Bart van der Schelling was not only a splendid singer, with a nice
bass voice, but an enthusiast of the cause and an stubborn optimist. In
this booklet we can see him in a picture singing while he wears on his
lower jaw a prosthesis, maybe to stabilize the jaw bone. But this
circumstance don't seem to be a problem to sing his heart out in front
the microphone.
    After the stay in hospital in Murcia he returned to the front at
Teruel and was wounded again. Then served at the Aragon front and the
Ebro. Declared to be «inutile totale» (wholly useless for military
service because of wounds) in August 1938.
    This biographical information could be regarded as very trustworthy
because the booklet's editor was Moe Fishman, then Executive Secretary
of the VALB, who signed the introduction remembering that some songs
sang by Bart van der Schelling were originally recorded in 1938 for the
benefit of the "Exiled Writers Committee" of the League of American
Writers. This Committee helped writers exiled by fascism from their
homelands. The new edition of the album in 1962 was dedicated to the
fight against the McCarran Act.
Juan María Gómez Ortiz

Further to this Sebastiaan Faber said

A Google Book search--which you have probably done already--suggests
that Bart van der Schelling had pre-SCW military experience in
Indonesia, went to Mexico from the US, became a painter, and had several
exhibits the mid-1960s in the Netherlands and the States. Among a series
of other books, he's mentioned several times in Diana Anhalt's memoir on
political US expatriates in Mexico (A Gathering of Fugitives). Art
Landis's The Abraham Lincoln Brigade (p. 509) mentions him as a
"Washington section commander, gravely wounded at Brunete".

Anhalt, who interviewed his wife, includes the following short bio in
the back of her book:

"Dutch born Bart van der Schelling had been a circus clown, a political
visionary, an opera singer, and an officer in the International Brigades
during the Spanish Civil War. Fearing deportation from the United
States, he arrived in Mexico in 1950 where he tuned pianos for a living
until a heart attack forced him to retire. Although more than fifty at
the time, he started painting, achieving some recognition as a primitive
artist. He and he wife, Edna Moore, returned to the United States in
1962 after she was fired from her job at the American School for
political reasons." (p. 222)

Sebastiaan Faber


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 08:40 AM

Does anyone have this book handy?

Folksinger's wordbook: Words to Over 1,000 Songs By Irwin Silber, Fred Silber

If you do will you look up Bart van der schelling in this book Page 294 where it should occur next to the song Viva La Quince Brigada and let me know if there are any details about Bart's connection with the song?
Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 02:38 PM

I started another post on the above request which focused on the book itself and I got the following reply from Severn

Subject: RE: Folksinger's Wordbook: Silber &, Silber
From: Severn - PM
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 01:39 PM

Only "adapted by Bart Van der Schelling, copyright 1964 Stormking Music Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission."

The book's long on lyrics but short on explanations and historical data.

Hi Ho Hum Silber! Awa-a-a-ay!......

Thanks again Severn

Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 09:27 AM

Through reading this thread I have learned of a brave and cultured man, Thank You Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:16 PM

Yes Burl, he seems to have been an admirable man. Does anyone know when and where he died or where he is buried ( if he was)?


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 06:51 PM

I have posted links to the old Granada series of six TV films about the Spanish Civil War on the Mudcat link called

Lyr Req: Jack Atky & All: Spanish Civil War Song

The series is on You Tube but is I think unavailable elsewhere. I thought that some of you who posted on this thread might be interested.

Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 10:23 AM

Thank you Geoff for bringing us Bart's history and his contributions.
He won't be forgotten.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: Mysha
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 10:05 AM

Hi,

Could the older song be 'El Ejercito del Ebro'? In that song, the refrain goes 'Ay Carmela'. But that is a variation of a song from Napoleontic times, it seems, which is indeed called 'Ay Carmela'. And then we could wonder whether there's an even older song before it that actually revolved around Carmela. On the other end, Christy Moore now has added 'Viva la Quinta Brigada'.

Bye,
                                                                  Mysha


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 13 Mar 11 - 08:48 PM

I just found a reference to the fact that Bart van der Schelling was the best man at abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning's wedding.Here
It's at the bottom of the window under the heading

December 9, 1943: Willem de Kooning marries Elaine Fried


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 12:25 PM

As recorded in posts above Bart van der Schelling was a painter himself and an example of his work can be seen on an on line auction site HERE Though probably not for long. It is interesting that the seller is Elaine De Kooning.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 12:47 PM

There are some reel to reel tapes of Bart Van Der Schelling singing which are held in the Tamiment Library New York ( just in case anyone happens to be passing)

They are listed about three quarters of the way down this catalogue page.
Link to Tapes in Tamiment LibraryNew York


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 12:06 PM

In case anyone were to be tempted to visit the Tamiment to listen to these tapes I would point out that it may not be a straightforward business as the relevent tapes do not appear to have CD copies available. This note above the relevent catalogue listing may elucidate. I would not want anyone to make the effort without knowing the possible difficulties:

In Series I reel-to-reel tapes labeled "Unrelated to Landis Book Project" contain miscellaneous reels, several of which feature singer Bart Van der Schelling singing songs of the Spanish Civil War. Van der Schelling is pictured with Paul Robeson and Arthur Landis, among others, in a photograph in the Arthur H. Landis Photo Collection.

There are compact disk copies for 41 of the reel-to-reel recordings, indicated by "CD reference copy available" in the description. There are no reference copies for those without this notation. Seven reel-to-reels are labeled "Not transferable -- no ref. copy" in the description; in these cases there were serious problems with the condition of the tapes at the time the compact disk reference copies were created.

Note: Researchers must use compact disk reference copies where available.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 15 May 11 - 07:58 AM

But if anyone were to want to look at the Bart Van Der Schelling tapes here is the listing of the references from the Tamiment catalogue

2 66- 65 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart Sep 23, 1969

2 66- 66 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart June 1969 (?)

2 66- 67 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart (I) Feb 1970

2 66- 68 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart (II) Feb 1970

2 66- 69 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart --Singing Oct 1964

2 66- 70 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart --Singing [?]

2 66- 71 Unrelated to Landis Book Project: Van der Schelling, Bart and Others- Singing Oct 13,


If anyone does go to listen to them then please get back in touch - I'd go myself but New York is a long way from Hull.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GUEST,willem
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 04:02 PM

I just came across the name of Bart in the book 'Woody Guthrie. American radical'. Written by Will Kaufman and published in 2011. He is mentioned on page 85. Woody Guthrie mentioned his name in a letter to Marjorie Maza, when he wrote about a series of concerts for the Teachers Union. The Almanacs wanted to hire Leadbelly, Bart and others .... The exact date of the letter is not known, but should be between Septemberr and December 1942.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GUEST,Xochitl Gil-Higuchi
Date: 07 Dec 12 - 11:32 AM

If anyone is interested in his paintings, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA). Van der Schelling was an Veteran Abraham Lincoln Brigade - VALB. One was donated by the family of Louis Gordon (VALB)and the others were donated by the daughter of ALB Nurse, Frederica Martin. ALBA FUNDRAISING AUCTION


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Dec 12 - 08:21 PM

About 1949, Bart and his then wife Edna Moore (a dancer with the Lester Horton Dance Theater) held "hootenannies" at their home in Laurel Canyon. Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Bess Hawes, Guy Carawan, Rich Dehr and Frank Miller(later to become a pop folk group called The Easy Riders) along with many others, me included, once a month. That group of people later became the Sierra Folk Singers, a folk song club.
Bart sang songs he knew from the Lincoln Brigade and others. This was my first exposure to live folk singing. Before I had known it from recordings only.


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Subject: RE: Bart Van Der Schelling Any Information?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 22 Sep 13 - 10:06 AM

A Very Big Thank You to Yvonne Sholten, for sending me a link to the excellent article which she has written for The Volunteer, Newsletter of the Abraham Lincooln Brigade Association, Yvonne digitised and read the Bart tapes in the Tamiment Library and her article contains photographs and sound bites. Below is the link for those who would like to read it:


http://www.albavolunteer.org/2013/09/the-singing-dutchman-of-the-lincoln-brigade-bart-van-der-schelling/


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