Author Topic: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins  (Read 6033 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline CorisCapnSkip

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« on: May 16, 2009, 04:30:07 AM »
Pete Seeger, who wrote the first three verses of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and set them to music, found inspiration for the song while on his way to a concert.  Leafing through his notebook he saw the passage, "Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them.  Where are the girls, they've all taken husbands.  Where are the men, they're all in the army."  These lines were from a Ukrainian folk song referenced in the Mikhail Sholokhov novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934).

Can anyone identify the original song and sources for recordings of it, particularly if by a top-rate Russian male chorus?  And, of course, is there any record of the Imperial Family ever being familiar with it?

Offline CorisCapnSkip

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Re: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 02:41:13 AM »
Wow, here http://www.prato.linux.it/~lmasetti/antiwarsongs/canzone.php?lang=en&id=2 is a site with the song in every language, including the lyrics to the original.  Maybe someone will recognize it and know where to obtain a recording.

Offline CorisCapnSkip

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Re: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 02:04:49 AM »
Here are my questions and the answers from the website owner:

1.  What is the actual title of the Ukranian/Russian original?  Or is it, like many folk songs, known by more than one title?

First of all, thank you for visiting our site!  We are really happy to know that it has been so useful to you.  As far as we know, the title of the Ukrainian/Russian original is "A gde zh gusy" (in the original spelling: ? ??? ? ????).  This is the original page (in Russian) of Sholohov's "And Quiet Flows the Don" where the song is quoted:

http://lib.rin.ru/doc/i/5207p5.html

Of course, like most folk songs, this song may be known by different titles, or also by no specific title at all:  in this case, the first
verse is usually taken as "presentation title".  I think you may refer to this song as "A gde zh gusy" (Where are the ducks?).

2.  Are there any known recordings, downloadable or otherwise obtainable, of this original song?  I am particularly interested in a rendering by one of the really excellent Russian male choruses.

We do not know.  We think you should address the Smithsonian Institute:

http://www.si.edu/

As far as we know, it is the best Institution in the world for folk and musical tradition.

Offline Greenowl

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
    • View Profile
Re: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 07:13:26 AM »
Very interesting, I had no idea! In my ignorance, I always assumed that the song was written for Marlene Dietrich....just shows that you can learn something new every day!

Offline CorisCapnSkip

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Re: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2009, 11:24:19 PM »
Very interesting, I had no idea! In my ignorance, I always assumed that the song was written for Marlene Dietrich....just shows that you can learn something new every day!

According to that site, a lot of people believe the song was originally in German by a German author, not without reason.  The German version draws as much on a previously existing poem as on Seeger's interpretation of the Russian original.

Offline CorisCapnSkip

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Re: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 03:12:22 AM »
A friend who knows Russian sent the following:

two songs near bottom of the page you cited: (I'm likely missing some meaning)
   - А где ж твой конь?
   - За воротами стоит,
   - А где ж ворота?
   - Вода унесла.
So where's your horse?
outside the gates he stands.
and where are the gates?
Water took them away.
 
the second one:
   - А где ж гуси?
   - В камыш ушли.
   - А где ж камыш?
   - Девки выжали.
   - А где ж девки?
   - Девки замуж ушли.
   - А где ж казаки?
   - На войну пошли...
So where are the geese?
Into the reeds they went off.
And where are the reeds?
Girls pressed them out.
And where are the girls?
The girls went out married.
And where are the cossacks?
They went off to war...
 
Interestingly, they misspelled the word "gde" every time they used it.  I fixed it in the copy given above, in case you want to cut-and-paste it into various translation sites on the web.

Offline CorisCapnSkip

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Re: Where Have All the Flowers Gone Origins
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2009, 03:54:01 AM »
My friend who knows Russian wrote:

Interestingly, they misspelled the word "gde" every time they used it.  I fixed it in the copy given above, in case you want to cut-and-paste it into various translation sites on the web.

He adds:

"gde" means "where", and correctly is где;  the web page had it иде which is about "going".
 
I did a Google for "где ж гуси" and got a lot of references to the song, some of them in English.
 
A Google search for "иде ж гуси" finds quite a few articles also, referring to "Quiet flows the Don" and/or Pete Seeger's song, so it must also be right...  maybe it's the Ukrainian spelling, or another related language...