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lyr req: Song of the Flea

Alan B 19 Jan 99 - 09:55 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Jan 99 - 11:04 AM
Alice 19 Jan 99 - 12:02 PM
Alan B 19 Jan 99 - 03:24 PM
Murray on Saltspring 20 Jan 99 - 02:00 AM
Steve Parkes 20 Jan 99 - 03:26 AM
GUEST,Rosemary 06 Mar 13 - 06:14 PM
Tattie Bogle 06 Mar 13 - 07:17 PM
Tattie Bogle 06 Mar 13 - 07:19 PM
Leadfingers 06 Mar 13 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,Gerry 06 Mar 13 - 10:42 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Mar 13 - 05:20 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Mar 13 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Gerry 08 Mar 13 - 06:34 AM
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Subject: The song of the Flea
From: Alan B
Date: 19 Jan 99 - 09:55 AM

Reminged by a recent thread:

Many year ago I remember my father singing this song. Not exactly folk, but would be a good one to sing. Anyone know the words?


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jan 99 - 11:04 AM

If it's the one with the laughing chorus, it's from an opera ... can't remember which one, which is not much help. I've got a 78 of Peter Dawson, I think, singing it - which also doesn't help! I think it's the knid of song fathers ought to sing, though ...

Steve


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Alice
Date: 19 Jan 99 - 12:02 PM

Nelson Eddy sang the "Song of the Flea" in the film, The Chocolate Soldier. The full title is "Mephistopheles' Song of The Flea" - music by Modest Moussorgsky, Russian lyrics by Strugovshchikov from Goethe.
The Dr. Faust story by Goethe has inspired many composers:
Berlioz, "La Damnation de Faust"
Charles Gounod, Faust (Opera)
Richard Wagner, A Faust Overture
Franz Liszt, A Faust Symphony in three Character Portraits
Gustav Mahler, 8th Symphony
No, I am not a treasure of opera or film trivia. I did a search on Alta Vist and found it.

Alan B, did your dad sing one that was from the Faust story?


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Alan B
Date: 19 Jan 99 - 03:24 PM

Thanks for the info. I suspect you're both right. We had a 78 of Peter Dawson singing it, or to be presice some of it, as it had a chunk missing. I used to play what remained of it when I was little.

My father was into opera in quite a big way as well as tradional songs, so it makes sense.

I'll follow up those leads Alice Thanks again


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Murray on Saltspring
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 02:00 AM

If you can't do better than the following, get back to the thread and maybe we can get the thing out of the score-- but as I remember it, it's SOMETHING like this:

    Once there lived a king in old time

    Who had a fine fat flea;

    And had it been his own son,

    No dearer could he be.

    That flea! (Ha ha, etc.)

    He summoned the court tailor,

    And gave him this command:

    Go make my flea some clothing,

    And make it fine and grand!

    That flea! (Ha ha, etc.)

    [... all the relations came to court]

    And soon .. all the courtiers,

    And all the squires and knights,

    The Queen and all her ladies

    Were itching from the bites;

    They could not ...

    The had to bear the prick,

    But we who are not courtiers,

    Know how to scratch and kick!!

    Ha ha! (etc.)

-- sorry, there's a bit missing there, but maybe other Mudcatters will be prompted to fill it in.


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 03:26 AM

And if anyone's got any more 78s by Peter Dawson (or Paul Robeson, or anybody else), let me know and I'll come round and listen to them with you.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: GUEST,Rosemary
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 06:14 PM

I have the music with English, Russian, French, and German translations. This English translation is a little different from the one Nelson Eddy sang in the Chocolate Soldier which I also have. If anyone is interested I'll send copies of both versions. Rosemary


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 07:17 PM

Phew, 14 years on! There are now numerous versions on Youtube including ones in Russian and Nelson Eddy's!


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 07:19 PM

Oh, and Peter Dawson's (easier to hear the words in his version!) and several other songs by him.


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 08:42 PM

Memories of my Long Lost childhood ! Peter Dawson !! Family Favourites !! AND a reference in the (Lyrics Added for the Radio Programme about Fam Fav) 'There's a song about Fleas and another called Trees'


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 10:42 PM

Tom Lehrer incorporated the first line of the Russian lyrics into his song Lobachevsky, as the review of his first book in Izvestia.


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 05:20 PM

The greatest Russian bass of all time, Feodor Chaliapin, sang Mussorgsky's "The Song of the Flea" for Victor in 1927. Have always understood this to be recognised as the touchstone recording by which all others were to be judged. It's on youtube.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Song of the Flea
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 05:28 PM

BTW ~~ To be pedantic, it is the supposed Pravda review of Lehrer's Lobachevsky book, not the Izvestia one, which uses the first line of "Flea".

"Pravda - well, Pravda - Pravda said: "Zhil-bil korol kogda-to, pree nyom blokha zhila"[1] It stinks.
But Izvestia! Izvestia said: "Ya idoo kuda sam czar idyot peshkom!"[2]
It stinks."

[1] "a king lived once upon a time, a flea lived with him", a line from Goethe's "Faust" (as translated by A. Strugovschik)

[2] "I am going where even the king has to go on foot" (as opposed to riding, etc.), meaning "to the bathroom"


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Subject: RE: lyr req: Song of the Flea
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 08 Mar 13 - 06:34 AM

It's times like these when I wish I could edit my posts. Thanks, MtheGM.


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