Music played in cafés and pubs

Discussions on the music in the Third Reich. Hosted by Ivan Ž.
General_Pachro
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Music played in cafés and pubs

Post by General_Pachro » 07 Jun 2016 15:19

[Topic renamed by the host, Ivan Ž.]

Say a Wehrmacht soldier can play a piano and has the opportunity to do so, say in a Brauhaus or Biergarten sort of setting.

What kind of music would he typically be able to play?
And what kind of music would be suitable for that environment?

I do living history, and whenever I'm in character and playing for spectators I'm a little unsure about what kind of music I should be playing.
I'm hoping to find some enlightenment with you kind folks.
~Pachro

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Ivan Ž.
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Re:

Post by Ivan Ž. » 21 Jul 2016 10:57

Hello, Pachro

Well, as always, it depends on the soldier (person), place and the occasion. But it's always the same: it might be a pop song (Schlager), beer song, relaxing classical tune, popular military song/march, all of those mixed up, and so on. There were no rules (except for the forbidden songs, of course, but I'm sure some played those as well, if the authorities weren't listening).

Cheers,
Ivan

Biber
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Volga, Volga

Post by Biber » 05 Nov 2020 01:58

Does anyone have any insight into German contra facta on the Russian folk song "Stenka Razin" ("Volga, Volga mat' rodnaya")? The German text is "Wer das scheiden hat erfunden". My question is, though the Volga is not mentioned in the German text, would the song nevertheless be known to Germans as "Volga Volga"?

What I am trying to determine is, if a German (in 1943 or so) called out to the band to play "Volga, Volga," what does that refer to? The context of my original source is a drunken party at a German officer's club on the eastern front (Ukraine), so a sentimental ballad or lonely soldier's song would likely be what I'm looking for, though I certainly I can't rule out a rousing drinking, or fighting song of some sort. I long thought it was probably the watchman's song - the so-called "Volga song": "Allein, wieder allein" from the popular 1927 Lehar operetta Der Zerewitsch, but then I stumbled on to Stenka Razin and it's German contra facta (alternative texts). So I'm also trying to flesh out a German connection to the Russian song - If not a German connection, perhaps a Volksdeutsch or Wolgadeutsch connection? If indeed the latter somehow, for my purposes it would have to come back to a German serviceman during the war.

Any thoughts?

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Ivan Ž.
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Re:

Post by Ivan Ž. » 05 Nov 2020 11:16

Hello, Biber

The German song was not known as "Wolga, Wolga", that was one of the titles of the original Russian song. The title of the German song was "Wer das scheiden hat erfunden". It was sometimes described (not entitled) as "Lied aus dem Volksmunde nach dem russischen Wolga-Lied", "Stenka Rasin und die Fürstin, Wolga-Lied" or simply "Wolga-Lied". Again, all of those were just descriptions of "Wer das scheiden hat erfunden" (not its titles), indicating the titles of the original Russian song, on whose melody the German song was based.

When trying to identify something, it's always best to present all the known details. In this case, please post the complete and precise quote from your source (on the drunken party song) and the precise title and date of the source, to avoid guessing and time-wasting. As it is, it seems to me that they simply played "Stenka Razin" (a.k.a. "Wolga, Wolga"). The melody was very popular in Germany and there were many covers of the tune, besides "Wer das scheiden hat erfunden".

Cheers,
Ivan

Biber
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Re:

Post by Biber » 05 Nov 2020 14:47

There's not much to the scene:
Around three in the afternoon automobiles and motorcycles began to arrive at the café, and the rooms filled with elegantly uniformed SS officers who were there to eat and drink. Soon, above the din of loud laughter, the clanking of dishes and clinking of glasses, Motele’s violin was heard to the piano’s accompaniment. The officers amused themselves singing. From time to time ordering Motele and the pianist to play tangos and waltzes to which they danced. Motele played with few interruptions throughout the entire afternoon. It is already eight. It is already nine. It is already ten o’clock in the evening. Through the thick smoke from the fat cigars Motele watched the red faces of the officers eating and drinking nonstop. Occasionally through the drunken voices and singing he heard the yelps of the Ukrainian waitresses with whom the German officers tried to take liberties. Sometimes an officer would order the musicians to play “his song”—sitting drunk at a table crying out in a wild voice “fiddler, play Volga Volga,” another standing in the middle of the hall clutching a bottle of cognac and tearfully singing “My father does not know me, my mother does not love me, and I cannot die because I am still young.”

This is from an account published in 1949 in the popular Yiddish press (hence it's story like tone) in Paris by a former Jewish/Ukrainian partisan (ended the war in the Red Army), describing an event which took place about September 1943 in Ovruch Ukraine. You may recall my earlier threads regarding other elements of this story, to which you probably contributed.

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Ivan Ž.
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Re:

Post by Ivan Ž. » 05 Nov 2020 14:57

Ah, it's clear now: the officer ordered the melody of "Stenka Razin". There's no account on anyone actually singing the song, meaning that he might have been just sitting there listening to the fiddler (violinist). Yes, I remember the other song/topic, it was "Waldeslust" ;)

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Ivan

Biber
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Re:

Post by Biber » 05 Nov 2020 16:32

Thank you for your clarification and insight. I sincerely appreciate it.

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