voc: KARSTEN TROYKE
violin: DANIEL WELTLINGER
piano: GÖTZ LINDENBERG
guest violin: ANDREJ SUR (5, 6)
A CD in the Yiddish language, another one in German. Some songs are recorded on both, and thus in both languages. Many of the songs appear on one or the other record. I have always wanted to publish them for posterity in my way, and this year I finally succeeded! Since 1988 I have performed most of them on stage with Götz Lindenberg. With Daniel's violin, I knew that I had now found the "missing link". It should have sounded like this all through the years. Although we grew up so far apart - in Sydney and Berlin - we play and sing as though we had grown up together! It is the old European culture that unites us: the longing and loss felt in Jewish families who had escaped to Australia joins with shock and loss in my own family in Berlin. World War Two is still very present, the Shoah determines our thinking... no! Our feeling! We both look for lost treasures and new thoughts. We found them in old Yiddish folk songs, in many songs by Georg Kreisler, in the beautiful Hebrew songs from Israel's pioneer days and in the simple love songs in both languages.
1. So fühl' ich mich ohne dich music: Mort Shuman / words: Etienne Roda-Gil;
German words: Thomas Woitkewitsch
That’s how I feel without you: like a Spring day in an empty room, like a broken boat, almost disappearing…
2. Dreh das Fernsehn ab music and words: Georg Kreisler
Turn the television off mother, because the news is always the same. The worms in the apples are standing upright. The fruits from yesterday are growing again, first a word then a song. And those who bring the tears are coming closer to us…so turn the television off, it’s drafty.
3. Ich kann tanzen music and words: Georg Kreisler
I can dance, but I don’t dance. I can sing, but I don’t sing. I can live, but I don’t live. I can die, but I don’t die. I can wander, but the feet are powerless. I sit here and always have to explain the past, and only then do I feel the eternity. I am sitting in the dark, and outside the sun is shining on everything, every day, every year.
4. Leg den Kopf auf meine Knie music: Leibl Levin / words: Halper Leyvik, German words: Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger
Put your head upon my knee. You wept enough. Children can play, but what about the grown ups...Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger died at the age of 18 in a Nazi labour camp in Michailovka in 1942. Had she survived she would have been a world famous poet, but what survives of her work is celebrated in the literary world today.
An instrumental composition by Götz Lindenberg. This was composed after many years accompanying me on the piano, and it used to be the opening theme to my concerts for some 15 years. We asked Andrej Sur - who often played it in the 1990's - to jump onto this session.
6. I have lost my heart in Budapest music: Mihaly Erdalyi / English words: Ruth Feiner
This was a song I was taught by Sara Bialas-Tenenberg in Yiddish, originally released on my album "Forgotten Yiddish Songs". Now - after 25 years - I found the music sheets from 1936 along with the real melody and English lyrics. Violinist Andrej Sur, who recorded with me on the earlier version, joined us again.
7. Die Hand music and words: Georg Kreisler
I hold your hand in mine. This is a very dark, satirical “love song”: only a hand is left of the girl who I murdered, but I will keep it as a beloved souvenir. Soon I will be arrested, so I enjoy this moment now with you. Two lovers, hand in hand.
8. Die Hexe music and words: Georg Kreisler
A neighbour is spreading gossip about a “foreign” lady: this woman next door is a witch. My friends, please take care and don’t contact her. Although she is living here, she might not have been born here. She looks like we do, but believe me when I say that we have to get rid of her. Let’s write to her annonymously. If she doesn’t leave, let’s throw stones into her window.
9. Tulio music: Joseph Haydn, André Heller / words: André Heller
This adaption of the national anthem of Germany tells the story of Tulio, a survivor of the Shoah. He is still full of fear, although people would tell him otherwise. “I am Tulio, let me live!” The anthem of Germany turns from major into minor and says that from all the languages of all
the people in the world one word is left - „Schmerz“, pain.
10. Unter deinen weißen Sternen music: Avrom Brudno / words: Avrom Sutskever, German words: Peer Raben
Unter dayne vayse shteren. Under your white stars. Oh G-d offer me your white hand, help me out here...a song written in Vilna ghetto in Latvia 1943. Well known Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol included this song in his remarkable theatre play "Ghetto" in the 1980's. For this play Peer Raben created the German adaption.
11. Mein Bruder music: Karsten Troyke / words: Itzik Manger, German words: Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger
I am the way to the sunset. My friend, don't follow me. I'm drunk, my beauty is a knife, my longing that of a Gypsy. My hate is a wild rider, killing his own luck...
12. Mag sein music and words: Josef Papiernikoff, German words: Peer Raben, Karsten Troyke
Maybe that I'm building castles in the air...This has been the unofficial anthem of the Jewish socialist party "Bund" since 1924. The main message of the song is that the “sunny path” (way) one goes is more important than the goal.
Memories. This is a tango Götz Lindenberg often performed, and was composed by a friend of his from Peru, Francisco Carrion.
14. Der Leisten music and words: Georg Kreisler
These are German sayings, and the singer does not agree. None of these sayings fit to his liking. But in the end, he does everything the sayings suggest, and realises that he has become like everyone else. Which is what he never wanted!
15. Frühlingsmärchen music and words: Georg Kreisler
Spring fairy tale. If an Indian man performs with his flute in Vienna a piece by Palestrina, then in Moscow a ballerina says it’s springtime…”dann ist alles gut” (then everything is good).