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Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)

DigiTrad:
CARMEN
OEDIPUS REX
THAIS
THE THREE CHERRY SISTERS KARAMAZOV
TRISTAN AND ISOLDA


Related threads:
Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...' (11)
Newman Levy Songs (15)
Happy! - Oct 8 (St. Thais Day) (1)
Lyr Add: Faust by Newman Levy (2)
Need Song about Tarts or Vicars (63)


Abby Sale 30 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM
dick greenhaus 30 Nov 05 - 01:14 PM
Desert Dancer 30 Nov 05 - 10:42 PM
Abby Sale 01 Dec 05 - 10:29 AM
Stewart 01 Dec 05 - 08:24 PM
dick greenhaus 01 Dec 05 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 01 Dec 05 - 09:30 PM
Abby Sale 01 Dec 05 - 11:01 PM
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Subject: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM


Happy Birthday!

Newman Levy

was born Nov. 30, 1888
(d. March 1966)

He was an Assistant District Attorney of NY City, opera and theater fan. He wrote for the New Yorker Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post and published several books of light verse including Opera Guyed from which cometh "Thais"

        One time in Alexandria, in wicked Alexandria,
        Where nights were wild with revelry, and life was but a game,
        There lived, so the report is, an adventuress and courtesan,
        The pride of Alexandria, and Thais was her name.

The "Thais" story is fascinating & I've done a certain amount of looking into it. The mythohistorical Saint lived in the 4th century CE and associated with acceptedly historical saints. The story, a classic tragedy has carried forward in oral and written traditions – opera, liturgy, folk tales, novelettes, etc. Levy's 1923 song is still learned orally in certain singing groups. I enjoy singing it.

If anyone has any knowledge of retellings of the story after the year 1000 (Sister Hrotswitha) but before 1890 (Anatole France) I'd be most interested.

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:14 PM

I'm delighted to find that the estimable Mr. Sale is also a Newman Levy fan--I thought I might be the only remaining one.


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:42 PM

Can anyone think of a musical tie-in for Samuel Clemens's day of birth?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:29 AM

Absolutely! That's an easy one.

Here's the entry I've used in some years:

Mark Twain was born on 11/30/1835 in Florida, Missouri (d4/21/1910) In his autobiography (required reading, BTW, get to it!) he noted that by his birth he had raised the population of the town by a full 1%. He was confident that this phenomenal and nearly unique accomplishment was due to some innate quality in himself - not due to any freak of statistics. He was sure that he would have accomplished the same feat _wherever_ he was born!

The well-known Mississippi River sounding call is called "Mark Twain." As in 'Mark twain is four fathoms!'   Ie, 'Marking on the twine is...' and supposedly from whence Clemmens took his name. I have one version from the Field, collected by Lomax on Lib of Congress "Negro Work Songs and Calls." It was popularized by Harry Belafonte who did a fine job of it.

There's also one in DigTrad, THE RAGING CANAL. I have that sung by Hullfish et al. I believe it went into tradition and was based on a song written by Twain (also in DigTrad.


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: Stewart
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:24 PM

HERE'S more on Newman and some song lyrics.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:47 PM

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I've been trying to recall the words of Rain for a couple of decades now.


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 09:30 PM

"Twain" doesn't mean "twine"; it means "two". Mark twain was the 2-fathom mark -- water 12 ft deep & therefore safe. http://www.twainquotes.com/Steamboats/Glossary.html

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Suicide: bridging the gap between abortion and euthanasia. :||


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Subject: RE: Happy! - Nov 30 (Newman Levy)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 11:01 PM

Joe, likely that's right and I wasn't there myself but well, maybe...

I'm going by a 50-year-old memory of what Lomax reported his source singer told him. In the booklet that came with the record. Disappeared some decades ago, unfortunately and LofC tells me they can't replace it. I just listened to the two sounding calls and context doesn't help. I absolutely agree that "mark twain" = two fathoms. As you write, this was considered the safe depth. But my memory says that it was the benchmark, the yard, as it were. They'd use a light heaving line (a twine) with a weight over one side of the boat then the other and call out the depth each time. The two-fathom knot was "one." One unit. Each depth had its own call or choice of several calls. "Quarter less twain" was common and "half twain." I think the first meant 1 1/2 fathoms (a quarter of mark twain less than mark twain.) Then it might go "8 feet" or other depths in just feet. Apparently it was just pragmatic and they didn't care beyond a certain safe depth - seemed to go from mark twain to "no bottom" (ie no 2 twain or anything.)

However, I believe Belafonte used the specific line "Marking on the twine is four fathoms."

The line was certainly marked in unite less than 6 feet. At least every two feet, maybe one foot.

Anybody got the book? I like this explanation better, wrong or not.


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