Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Somehow, A Georgian Accent Fits this Song
When I was a kid, I liked the English version of this song. However, since I learned the Russian lyrics, I can't listen to this:
without cringing. As they say in Physics, "not even wrong":
You rode on a troika with sleigh bells,
And in the distance lights flickered..
If only I could follow you now
I would dispel the grief in my soul!
By the long road, in the moon light,
And with this song that flies off, ringing,
And with this ancient, this ancient seven-string,
That has so tormented me by night.
But it turns out our song was futile,
In vain we burned night in and night out.
If we have finished with the old,
Then those nights have also left us!
Out into our native land, and by new paths,
We have been fated to go now!
...You rode on a troika with sleigh bells,
[But] you've long since passed by!
[Translation by the Pitt Slavic Department]
Although the English Lyrics are in no way faithful to the original, there is a similar feeling of pathos, albeit in a completely different context.
If you really need to hear it with a Russian accent, here is Dyatlov and Pogudin's version, which is closer to the tempo I first learned:
Eхали на тройке с бубенцами,
А вдали мелькали огоньки...
Эх, когда бы мне теперь за вами,
Душу бы развеять от тоски!
Дорогой длинною, погодой лунною,
Да с песней той, что в даль летит звеня,
Да со старинною, да с семиструнною,
Что по ночам так мучила меня.
Да, выходит, пели мы задаром,
Понапрасно ночь за ночью жгли.
Eсли мы покончили со старым,
Так и ночи эти отошли!
В даль родную новыми путями
Нам отныне ехать суждено!
...Eхали на тройке с бубенцами,
Да теперь проехали давно!
I was thinking about one of Ilya's comment on my Bout posts. Russians take an awful lot of pride in the richness of their arts and language. Certainly from my point of view Russian classical music and literature is more complex and more illuminating of the human experience than pretty much anything Americans have yet produced.
And yet, I would rather live here than there, and I've done the traveling to make that more than an idle statement. It seems that the dictum that one must suffer for art applies to cultures as well as individuals. Voluminous output of great art is often a band-aid on a wounded culture. Art constitutes the dreams of a culture, and a society or a person without dreams would not be fully human. But the difference between a medicine and a poison is the dose. Dreamers who don't get their head out of the clouds often wind up following some pretty nasty pieces of work. That's how cults, either of religion or personality, are born.