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Jacques Brel ,KURT WEILL & BERTOLT BRECHT - Alabama Song, Mack The Knife Three Penny Opera etc.

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Jacques Brel ,KURT WEILL & BERTOLT BRECHT - Alabama Song, Mack The Knife Three Penny Opera etc.
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Songs performed By David Bowie, Nick Cave etc.

"Three Penny Opera " Poster
berlin87fromthreepennyopera.jpg

Berlin 1928 Poster for " 3 Penny Opera "
1928berlin.jpg


SINGER SONGWRITER POET JACQUES BREL (1930-1979)
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JACQUES BREL(1930-1979)
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Music of Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht

Kurt Weill Alabama Song
Music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, performed by David Johansen.
from " September Songs "



Kurt Weill: Alabama Song
Performed by David Bowie



Nick Cave performing " Mack the Knife " from Kurt Weill's The Three Penny Opera in the documentary about Kurt Weill " SEPTEMBER SONGS ".




" I have never acknowledged the difference between serious music and light music. There is only good music and bad music. "
German composer Kurt Weill

Below Stan Ridgway performs " Cannon Song " from The Three Penny Opera :



--
Here's a bit I borrowed From website Tribute To Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill was born in Desau, Germany in 1900, the son of a synagogue cantor. He studied composition with Humperdink (of "Hansel and Gretel" fame) and Busoni, and by 22, the Berlin Philharmonic had premiered two of his compositions.


Weill came of age at the end of World War I, in a Europe that was both spiritually exhausted, ghastly, frightening, desperate -- and remarkably creative. The carnage of World War I had shattered the smug 19th-century illusion that Western societies had achieved perfect, rational civilizations under wise, benign leaders. When the smoke cleared and the millions of bodies were buried, every art form underwent radical change, from old styles of simplistic (and often schmaltzy) charm and harmony to new, terrifying visions of fear, dread, satire, revolt and despair. Even the old recognizeable forms could not disguise the war's hideous legacy; the era produced many compositions for brilliant young pianists returning home minus one of their hands.


Weill's musical legacy is enormous, and all of it broke new musical and theatrical ground. His most famous and enduring works were his Berlin cabaret and theater collaborations with the poet Bertolt Brecht, "The Threepenny Opera" and "The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny." "Mack the Knife" is from the former; "The Whiskey Bar Song," made famous by Jim Morrison and The Doors, is from the latter. Mahagonny is a very different place from the serene island of Youkali -- it's an Alabama city catering to every human depravity, where the only crime is Not Paying the Bill:


Oh, show us the way to the next
little boy!
Oh, don't ask why! Oh, don't ask why!
For if we can't find the next little boy
I tell you we must die!

Brecht and Weill also wrote "Surabaya Johnny," a bone-chilling wail by a tormented woman hopelessly in love with a brutal sailor:

You said lots of things, Johnny!
Not a word was true, Johnny --
You lied from the moment we met!
I hate you so, Johnny!
I hate how you stand there
laughing at me!
Take that pipe out of your mouth, you filthy dog!


---

" A milestone of 20th century musical theater, The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) rolls on unstoppably into the 21st. In their opera "by and for beggars," composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) transformed saccharine, old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, incorporating a sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Weill's acid harmonies and Brecht's biting texts created a revolutionary new musical theater that inspired such subsequent hits as Cabaret, Chicago, and Urinetown. The show's opening number, "Mack the Knife," became one of the top popular songs of the century."


" The opening night audience at Berlin's Theater am Schiffbauerdamm didn't quite know what to expect when the curtain rose on The Threepenny Opera on August 31, 1928, but after the first few musical numbers they began to cheer and call for encores. The show was a brilliant hit, and Threepenny-fever spread throughout Europe, generating forty-six stage productions of the work in the first year after the Berlin premiere. In 1931, a film version directed by G.W. Pabst entitled Die 3-Groschenoper opened, making an international star of Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya, who repeated her portrayal of Jenny Diver from the show's first production. "

making of the opera:

" Early in 1928, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht were both regarded as “enfants terribles” in the world of Weimar culture. They had one obscure collaboration under their belt, Weill’s setting of five of Brecht’s poems about an imaginary city called Mahagonny, and they were already hard at work on the full-length Mahagonny opera, which would cause a scandal and lead to Nazi riots in 1930. But Brecht was also toying with the famous Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, from 1728, which had been revived in London in 1920 and run for years. Elisabeth Hauptmann, Brecht’s assistant and collaborator, introduced him to the piece and translated the English libretto into German. "

Anyway the point is that the social & political satire of Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht is still relevant given our present condition & predicament. With an on-going questionable war in Iraq which is just a new form of Colonialism & an extension of the Christian Crusade which has never really ended . As for political corruption this is self-evident as are the ways in which the laws of our land are applied against the common man while the crimes of the rich & powerful & their Quisling's go unpunished . Over & over the Neocons remind us that this elite class who are our 'betters' are superiour to the rest of us & so the ordinary laws & rules cannot be applied to them.

And here is a video of William S. Burroughs reciting Kurt Weill piece " What Keeps Mankind Alive"



for more about Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht see the excellent THE THREE PENNY OPERA website:
THREE PENNY OPERA

also check out:

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music

Kurt Weill - Potted biography

and on Bertolt Brecht:

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) Bio

International Brecht Society



SINGER SONGWRITER POET JACQUES BREL (1930-1979)
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JACQUES BREL(1930-1979)
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Anyway I would like to share some of the lyrics of the Belgian song writer & singer Jacques Brel . His songs are wonderful pieces of poetry filled with melancholy & despair & humour & longing & hope. One can hear the influence of his art in the works of songwriters like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Buffy St. Marie, Phil Ochs to Tom Waits & Nick Cave & Patti Smith to REM & U2 & DEAD CAN DANCE & DAVE MATHEWS etc.


Jacques Brel Fils /Sons
Tous les enfants sont comme les vôtres - Jacques Brel lyrics




Jacques Brel - Dans le port d'Amsterdam



Jacques Brel - Ne Me Quitte Pas


Jacques Brel-Ne Me Quitte Pas
( If You Should Go Away )

Such a beautiful song by Jacques Brel (recorded in 1959) Here is an English tr...anslation.
Ne Me Quitte Pas (=If you go away)

If you go away on this summer's day, Then you might as well take the sun away
All the birds that flew in the summer sky
When our love was new and our hearts were high
When the day was young and the nights were long
And the moon stood still for the night bird's song
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.
But if you stay, I'll make you a day
Like no day has been, or will be again
We'll sail on the sun, we'll ride on the rain
And talk to the trees and worship the wind
But if you go, I'll understand
Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.
If you go, as I know you will
You must tell the world to stop turning
Till you return again, if you ever do,
For what good is love without loving you?
Can I tell you now, as you turn to go
I'll be dying slowly till the next hello
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.
But if you stay, I'll make you a night
Like no night has been, or will be again
I'll sail on your smile, I'll ride on your touch
I'll talk to your eyes that I love so much
But if you go, I won't cry
Though the good is gone from the word goodbye
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away
. If you go away, as I know you must
There is nothing left in this world to trust
Just an empty room, full of empty space
Like the empty look I see on your face
I'd have been the shadow of your shadow
If you might have kept me by your side
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.


Jacques Brel- Port of Amsterdam

Jacques Brel (1930-1979), a Belgian, was one of the great modern troubadours in the French language. A decade before Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Jackson Browne, he was a poet, singer and composer of extraordinary passion and shattering emotional power. Jacques Brel left the stage at 39 to wage a battle with lung cancer, mostly leading an unabashedly pleasurable life in French Polynesia. He died in 1979, at age 49. His popularity in French-speaking countries remains immense and shows no signs of dimming.
see website by Ami de Grazia
www.grazian-archive.com/

"as poetic as Bob Dylan, as introspective as John Lennon, as virile as Bruce Springsteen; his intense stage presence, and the killing involvement it reflected, was reminiscent of Edith Piaf."

In between his studies, his military service, a marriage, kids and work in a cardboard factory he confines his poetry to paper. Brel feels locked in.

In 1953 he goes to Paris performs in cabarets and music-halls, records some music, but stays mostly unnoticed until 1957 when the song "Quand on a que l'amour" is discovered.

The themes in his work include friendship (Jef), goes from idolized love to hatred for women (Les Biches), from the belief in God to anticlericalism (à mon dernier repas) and from a certain sweetness to a manifest anti-conformism and a horror of hypocrisy (Les Bourgeouis, Le Moribond).

For Brel, the words to the music were more important than the music itself : "He wanted to get a message across. Not paying attention to the lyrics, you lose Brel. His heroes and anti-heroes come from life itself. Above all, he uses his personal experience, he projects his dreams. He is haunted by the effect of time on the body, the disgrace and the physical degradation. For the women in his songs, the breasts are often portrayed as lowering. For the men and for himself, Brel fears aging more than death itself."

Or, as France Brel (his daughter) once said : "The French relate to my father intellectually, they analyze him. But the Belgians feel him. Brel is somebody who ate mussels and fries and drank beer. He belongs to them, he's one of them. It's a certain look. a way of being."

And further:
"He also made fun of the clergy, the bourgeoisie, of everything. He loved to provoke, to demystify.

Brel surely is one of the most covered artists around. Among the interpreters of his music are the likes of Scott Walker, Alex Harvey, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, David Bowie, Nina Simone, Mark Almond, Arno, Leonard Cohen ...
His talent also widely surpasses the areas of the world where French is spoken : In America for example, Terry Jacks scores a n̊1 hit with an adaptation of Le Moribond (Seasons in the sun) and even to this day a "libretto-less" musical tours the country : "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris".

see JACQUES BREL: THE BELGIAN POP & ROCK ARCHIVES


Or: “ Brel’s songs are characterised by a wonderful exuberance, a celebration of wine, women and song, yet they are often tempered by an edge of bitterness, a sense of a melancholic longing for an youthful innocence uncorrupted by the horrors of war or the fear of old-age, death and oblivion.”

by From Noel Megahey's review of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at www.dvdtimes.co.uk



Check out version of " If You Go Away " by Shirley Bassey at YouTube

Jacques Brel's " Amsterdam " by Chris Bailey
(English Version )
Amsterdam Lyrics

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sings
Of the dreams that he brings
From the wide open sea
In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sleeps
While the riverbank weeps
With the old willow tree
In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who dies
Full of beer, full of cries
In a drunken down fight
And in the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who's born
On a muggy hot morn
By the dawn's early light
In the port of Amsterdam
Where the sailors all meet
There's a sailor who eats
Only fishheads and tails
He will show you his teeth
That have rotted too soon
That can swallow the moon
That can haul up the sails
And he yells to the cook
With his arms open wide
Bring me more fish
Put it down by my side
Then he wants so to belch
But he's too full to try
So he gets up and laughs
And he zips up his fly
In the port of Amsterdam
You can see sailors dance
Paunches bursting their pants
Grinding women to paunch
They've forgotten the tune
That their whiskey voice croaks
Splitting the night with the
Roar of their jokes
And they turn and they dance
And they laugh and they lust
Till the rancid sound of
The accordion bursts
Then out to the night
With their pride in their pants
With the slut that they tow
Underneath the street lamps
In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who drinks
And he drinks and he drinks
And he drinks once again
He drinks to the health
Of the whores of Amsterdam
Who have promised their love
To a thousand other men
They've bargained their bodies
And their virtue long gone
For a few dirty coins
And when he can't go on
He plants his nose in the sky
And he wipes it up above
And he pisses like I cry
For an unfaithful love
In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam


Nick Cave (& Barry Adamson) - Next! (Live 2007, Jacques Brel - Au Suivant" Cover)





Naked as sin, an army towel
Covering my belly
Some of us blush, somehow
Knees turning to jelly
Next, next
I was still just a kid
There were a hundred like me
I followed a naked body
A naked body followed me
next, next
I was still just a kid
When my innocence was lost
In a mobile army whorehouse
Gift for the army, free of cost
Next, next
Me, I really would have liked
A little touch of tenderness
Maybe a word, a smile
An hour of happiness
But, next, next
Oh, it wasn't so tragic
The high heavens did not fall
But how much of that time
I hated being there at all
Next, next
Now I always will recall
The brothel truck, the flying flags
The queer lieutenant who slapped
Our asses as if we were fags
Next, next
I swear on the wet head
Of my first case of gonorrhea
It is his ugly voice
That I forever hear
Next, next
That voice that stinks of whiskey
Of corpses and of mud
It is the voice of nations
It is the thick voice of blood
Next, next
And since the each woman
I have taken to bed
Seems to laugh in my arms
To whisper through my head
Next, next
All the naked and the dead
Should hold each other's hands
As they watch me scream at night
In a dream no one understands
Next, next
And when I am not screaming
In a voice grown dry and hollow
I stand on endless naked lines
Of the following and the followed
Next, next
One day I'll cut my legs off
Or burn myself alive
Anything, I'll do anything
To get out of line to survive
Not ever to be next
Not ever to be next.

Jacques Brel's " Sons Of..." sung by Gay Marshall





Here are the lyrics of four of his songs for which I could find decent English translations:


SONS OF

Sons of the thief, sons of the saint
Who is the child with no complaint
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own
The same sweet smiles, the same sad tears
The cries at night, the nightmare fears
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own...
So long ago: long, long, ago...
But sons of tycoons or sons of the farms
All of the children ran from your arms
Through fields of gold, through fields of ruin
All of the children vanished too soon
In tow'ring waves, in walls of flesh
Among dying birds trembling with death
Sons of tycoons or sons of the farms
All of the children ran from your arms...
So long ago: long, long, ago...
But sons of your sons or sons passing by
Children we lost in lullabies
Sons of true love or sons of regret
All of the sons you cannot forget
Some built the roads, some wrote the poems
Some went to war, some never came home
Sons of your sons or sons passing by
Children we lost in lullabies...
So long ago: long, long, ago
But, sons of the thief, sons of the saint
Who is the child with no complaint
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own
The same sweet smiles, the same sad tears
The cries at night, the nightmare fears
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own...
Like your own, like your own


THE DESPERATE ONES


They hold each other's hand
They walk without a sound
Down forgotten streets
Their shadows kiss the ground
Their footsteps sing a song
That's ended before it's begun
They walk without a sound
The desperate ones
Just like the tiptoe moth
They dance before the flame
They've burned their hearts so much
That death is just a game
And if love calls again
So foolishly they run
They run without a sound
The desperate ones
I know the road they're on
I've walked their crooked mile
A hundred times or more
I drank their cup of bile
They watch their dreams go down
Behind the setting sun
They walk without a sound
The desperate ones
And underneath the bridge
The waters sweet and deep
There is the journey's end
The land of endless sleep
They cry to us for help
We think it's all in fun
They cry without a sound
The desperate ones
Let he who threw the stone at them
Stand up and take a bow
He knows the verb to love
But he'll never know how
On the bridge of nevermore
They disappear one by one
Disappear without a sound
The desperate ones


IF WE ONLY HAVE LOVE


If we only have love
Then tomorrow will dawn
And the days of our years
Will rise on that morn
If we only have love
To embrace without fears
We will kiss with our eyes
We will sleep without tears
If we only have love
With our arms open wide
Then the young and the old
Will stand at our side
If we only have love
Love that's falling like rain
Then the parched desert earth
Will grow green again
If we only have love
For the hymn that we shout
For the song that we sing
Then we'll have a way out
If we only have love
We can reach those in pain
We can heal all our wounds
We can use our own names
If we only have love
We can melt all the guns
And then give the new world
To our daughters and sons
If we only have love
Then Jerusalem stands
And then death has no shadow
There are no foreign lands
If we only have love
We will never bow down
We'll be tall as the pines
Neither heroes nor clowns
If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail
To be born once again
Then with nothing at all
But the little we are
We'll have conquered all time
All space, the sun, and the stars.


THE MIDDLE CLASS


Your heart feels so right
Your eyes swim in the beer
Where the barroom lights are hung
And with your friend Jojo
And with your friend Pierre
You drink a toast to being young
Jojo thinks he's Voltaire
And Pierre, Casanova
And me who proudly did not care

Me, I was a lover
And at midnight we watched the
Lawyers pass
Coming out of hotels which had real class
We showed them our good manners
And we showed them our ass
And, oh, how we sang
The middle class are just like pigs
The older they get, the dumber they get
The middle class are just like pigs
The fatter they get, the less they regret
Your heart feels so right
Your eyes swim in the beer
Where the barroom lights are hung
And with your friend Jojo

And with your friend Pierre
Holding on to being young
Voltaire danced like a vicar
Casanova, he was too stout
And me who proudly did not care
Me, I drank till I passed out
And at midnight
We watched the salesmen pass
Coming out of hotels which had real class
We showed them our good manners
And we showed them our ass
And, oh, how we sang
The middle class are just like pigs

The older they get, the dumber they get
The middle class are just like pigs
The fatter they get, the less they regret
But your heart slows down
Your eyes do not flash
The hotel bartender sings our praise
Jojo's no clown
Pierre pays in cash
Among the bookkeepers we pass our days
Jojo now speaks of Voltaire
Casanova's just a book on the shelf
And, me, I proudly do not care
Me, I talk only of myself
And everybody knows
That we've got real class
There is not a night that we can pass
Those lousy kids
Who always show us their ass
And, oh, how they sing
the middle class are just like pigs
The older they get, the dumber they get
The middle class are just like pigs

Links to check out:

by From Noel Megahey's review of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at www.dvdtimes.co.uk

and see : JACQUES BREL: THE BELGIAN POP & ROCK ARCHIVES


Mich en Scene:Songs of Jacques Brel by Micheline Van Hautem review by Michael Dwyer

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Soundtrack Lyrics

The original lyrics of the song Le Moribond by Brel in 1961 are far darker and sarcastic and a little bitter in comparison to the Rod McKeun English 1964 translation and the version made famous by Terry Jacks " Seasons in the Sun " in 1974.

Jacques Brel- Le Moribond

Jacques Brel - Seasons in the sun ( Le moribond )
The Dying Man

Goodbye, Emile, you were my good friend
Goodbye, Emile, you were my good friend, you know
We sang together of the same great wines
We sang together of the same great women
We sang together of our shared sorrows
Goodbye, Emile, I'm going to die
It's difficult to die in the Spring, you know
But I'm going to the flowers with peace in my heart
Because I know that you are a good man, good as white bread
You'll take care of my wife after I'm gone

(Chorus)
I want everyone to laugh
I want everyone to dance
I want everyone to party like a bunch of fools
I want everyone to laugh
I want everyone to dance
When they come to put me in my grave

Goodbye, Father Priest, I liked you well enough
Goodbye, Father Priest, I liked you well enough, you know
We weren't always on the same side
We didn't always take the same path
But we were both looking for Heaven just the same
Goodbye, Father Priest, I'm going to die
It's hard to die in the Spring, you know
But I'm going to the flowers with peace in my heart
Because you were her Confessor
I know you'll take care of my wife when I'm gone
(Chorus)

Goodbye, Tony, I didn't like you too much
Goodbye, Tony, I didn't like you too much, you know
It's killing me to be dying today
While you are so vigorous and full of life
And stronger even than boredom itself
Goodbye, Tony, I'm going to die
It's hard to die in the Spring, you know
But I'm going to the flowers with peace in my heart
Because you were her Lover
I know you'll take care of my wife when I'm gone
(Chorus)

Goodbye, my wife, I love you still
Goodbye, my wife, I love you still, you know
But I'm taking that trip to see the Good Lord today
I'm taking the trip before you do
But we all take that trip when we must
Goodbye, my wife, I'm going to die
It's hard to die in the Spring, you know
But I'm going to the flowers with my eyes closed, once more
And because I closed them so many times before
I know you'll take good care of my heart
(Chorus)

from LeMoribond@Everything2.com

compare Brel's version to Terry Jack's
Terry Jacks - Seasons in the sun


And From Noel Megahey's review of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at www.dvdtimes.co.uk

and see : JACQUES BREL: THE BELGIAN POP & ROCK ARCHIVES


Mich en Scene:Songs of Jacques Brel by Micheline Van Hautem review by Michael Dwyer

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Soundtrack Lyrics

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