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Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)

Joe Offer 15 Jun 20 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 15 Jun 20 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Susanne (skw) 15 Jun 20 - 07:22 PM
leeneia 16 Jun 20 - 11:36 AM
leeneia 16 Jun 20 - 01:28 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Jun 20 - 08:40 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jun 20 - 04:58 PM

Susanne (SKW) sang this at our singaround today. I'll clean up the formatting later.

Zogen einst fünf wilde Schwäne,
Schwäne leuchtend weiß und schön.
„Sing, sing, was geschah?“
Keiner ward mehr gesehn.

Wuchsen einst fünf junge Birken
grün und frisch an Bachesrand
„Sing, sing, was geschah?“
Keine in Blüten stand.

Zogen einst fünf junge Burschen
stolz und kühn zum Kampf hinaus.
„Sing, sing, was geschah?“
Keiner kehrt nach Haus.

Wuchsen einst fünf junge Mädchen
schlank und schön am Memelstrand.
„Sing, sing, was geschah?“
Keins den Brautkranz wand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 15 Jun 20 - 05:44 PM

This song has got its own Wikipedia article,
although it is auf deutsch.

There is much talk of an East Prussian origin.
Then there is controversy about "one collector says that
his father translated it from Lithuanian"
which story no one has been able to prove.

The Nazis, according to this article,
cracked down on publication of this song,
because it was anti-military.
Fascinating stuff.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)
From: GUEST,Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 Jun 20 - 07:22 PM

Rough, non-metric translation:

Once there were five wild swans,

Swans so white and beautiful.

Sing, sing of what happened

None of them was ever seen again



Once there were five green birch trees,

Growing tall by the side of a brook

Sing, sing of what happened

None of them did ever bloom



Once there were five fine young men,

Went out proudly and bravely

Sing, sing of what happened

None of them ever came back



Once there were five lithe young girls,

Growing up on the Memel shore

Sing, sing of what happened

None of them ever was a bride


The Memel is a river in Poland, in an area that used to belong to Prussia called Memeland. The song is supposed to come from this area. However, there seems to be some connection with Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". He says he wrote it starting from a couple of lines from a Cossack song quoted in a Russian novel ("And Quiet Flows the Don"? I forget.) The structures of the songs are similar, and it seems quite possible that the same Cossack song was picked up by someone from the Memelland. Conjecture, though!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Jun 20 - 11:36 AM

Thanks. I like this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Jun 20 - 01:28 PM

Here's a lovely recording of the song on YouTube, not too fast and with very clear words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwiyqx7MsaQ&list=RDKwiyqx7MsaQ&index=1

I've made sheet music for this, and any trusted Mudcatters who want a jpg can PM me. It will mean providing me with your e-mail address.

You'll have to put the umlauts in yourself.

The YouTube says it comes from Prussia, c. 1900.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Five Wild Swans (German)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Jun 20 - 08:40 AM

Sheet music can be seen at this website: Lieder Archiv.


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