THE SECRET OF MY HEART
SONGS OF POETS AND COMPOSERS FROM CZERNOWITZ

דער סוד פֿון מײַן האַרצן
 לידער פֿון טשערנאָװיצער פּאָעטן און קאָמפּאָזיטאָרן

 

geyt a meydl

גײט אַ מײדל

Words: Meyer Haratz

Music: Leibu Levin

A girl tries to draw some water from the well and from the river, but the water escapes her until she meets a shepherd. Their love brings the waters back, and in the girl's pretty eyes the world turns upside down.

 

rozeve papir

(3-poem medley)

ראָזעװע פּאַפּיר

 

Words: Meyer Haratz

Music: Asya Vaisman

Because I cannot rely on anyone else, I built my own four walls and covered myself with a roof. Only my love do I entrust to destiny, and my love is the only thing I have not lost. When I received your letter, I was filled with light, even though the day was dark and rainy. And when I went to sleep, I put your letter by my pillow, and I dreamed of bright eternities and a rocking mail ship. I sing you a song on pink paper and dream of your steps approaching my door. You interrupt me by opening the door; I run to you and leave my song on pink paper unfinished.

 

s'iz fintster in gas

ס'איז פֿינצטער אין גאַס

Words: Meyer Haratz

Music: Efim Chernyi

It's dark and wet in the street, and I still have a long way to go. As I walk, I hear a song about sunny times. The sky is silent, and not a single star can be seen; though the song is still far, I can already hear it. I hear the song, and I recognize the Jew who sings it blue and gray on the roads, like an hour after the rain. Song after song, Jew after Jew, the world is flooded with singing. And here is the land of stars and sand, sprouting with flowers.

 

dos bisele shpayz

דאָס ביסעלע שפּײַז

Words: Meyer Haratz

Music: Efim Chernyi

A bowl of borsht with cabbage, a plate of radish with salt, a little bit of tsimmes... G-d, please provide us with this short menu. Provide us with sugar for tea and with a guest to join us at our table.

 

viglid fun a zeydn

װיגליד פֿון אַ זײדן

Words: Meyer Haratz

Music: Asya Vaisman

A grandfather rocks his grandson to sleep with a Yiddish song. He says, "I came from a strange, far-off place into your world; if you don't understand my words, then be lulled by the melody, or at least by the rocking. These days, it's not fashionable to be rocked to sleep; your mother and I nearly had a fight over this. If rocking is really such a big sin, then fall asleep simply by lying there. Don't cry, sleep, my child." The song is preceded by a traditional sher from the collection of Moyshe Beregovski.

 

vos hot lib a yidele

װאָס האָט ליב אַ ייִדעלע

Words and music by

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman

What do Jews love? Jews love a tune, a tsimbl, and a fiddle. Jews love songs from long ago. Almost lost unborn sounds whisper, wanting to resound until the smoke rises! We stand in a row, waiting for the nightingale, to capture a warble of his voice, a peep of a melody, a morsel of a song from long ago. So let's get into a circle, everyone who has a voice, and we'll hear it once and yet again. With melody, with violin, with tsimbl and with song, the song from long ago tugs and burns.

 

 

zumerteg

זומערטעג

Words and music by

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman

The young summer day has gone; yellowing leaves lie on the street corner. And the thoughts, my old dreams come back to the summer day. Where was it that you remained standing, looking around, almost too late? Almost losing, almost missing the summer days. Where is the running? What is the hurry? We walk one by one in the quiet dawns with the warm light of the summer days. The beloved summer day has gone, buried in a sunset. And a willow, rocked by the winds, still whispers the song of the summer days.

 

shpet harbst

שפּעט האַרבסט

Words: Rokhl Korn

Music: Asya Vaisman

The fog above me is like a gray dream, and all of the stars became homeless today. Frozen in the first, hard, blue frost, their quiet tears hang from the trees. The narrow river wrinkles up in foreboding fear and goes under the ice with all the green grasses, while the shadow of the lonely, abandoned birch swims over to the other shore. The frost shapes the tracks of a barefoot child in the ground, as though chiseled in stone. They will remain there immobile for the rest of the winter, a nest for falling stars, a nest for white snow.

 

der zinger

דער זינגער

Words: Kadya Molodowsky

Music: Asya Vaisman

I dream of a floating house, road, and train, which tell me that you are here, but I wake up and realize that a singer in my courtyard is singing an old sonnet. And I see, the sun is out, and the skies are blue, but the road is not here. The singer sings of a boy and girl who are in love. I nod to him: your song is like gold, and I say: Take me with you! The singer says to me: you are a child and a fool, see the flying bird? I need only its flight and your sorrow for my song.

 

shtile trit

שטילע טריט

Words: Dovid Einhorn

Music: Asya Vaisman

Quiet steps in soft moss, Sabbath rest an entire week. Every evening you light candles, a rose-colored shine on your face. Through the green pine branches, G-d's blue roof shows through. There, someone is also lighting Sabbath candles, blue shadows on your face. We sit and keep guard, waiting for a magic night. A rustle goes through the forest, the skies split and shine.

 

etele

עטעלע

Words: Shike Driz

Music: Asya Vaisman

I will dream up a wonderful shtetl, and my dream, my Etele, will settle there. With braided hair, she will play on the steps until I come knocking on her door, bearing a freckle, a kheynpintl, which is worth the steppes of Bessarabia and all of Bukovina, the nests in the forests, the coolness of the grass, the secret of my heart, and more...

 

in di nekht

אין די נעכט

Words: Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger

Music and translation: Leibu Levin

At night, my dreams are interwoven, sweet, like young wine. I dream that an abyss of blossoms was scattered, covering and enveloping me. Why do I say blossoms? Kisses, hot like red wine, and forlorn like butterflies that know that they must pass away with the sunshine. At night, my dreams are interwoven, heavy, like tired sand. It seems that wilted leaves fall from dying trees right into my hand. Why do I say leaves? Hands, that caress like sands, rolling, barely discerned, tired, like butterflies that know it's the end even before feeling the first ray. At night, my dreams are interwoven, blue ones, like the woe of longing. It seems that from all of the trees snowflakes are scattered, frosty spangles of snow. Why do I say snowflakes? They are tears that I have shed in delirious sorrow. Take in my tears, beloved, you must hear - I cried them all out in longing for you.

 

moldavian freylekhs

מאָלדאָװאַנער פֿרײלעכס

Words: Asya Vaisman

Music: Traditional, from the repertoire of German Goldenshteyn

Let us all dance the freylekhs! The in-laws are spinning with each other; what was only a dream yesterday has come true today. Fiddler, don't just stand there, let your playing flow like wine! In other cities, people dance the polonaise and the foxtrot, but in Belz, Kishinev, and Soroke, we dance the freylekhs in a circle. See the bride, the groom, the children, oh, what a party! The clarinets are playing, their song is like that of merry crickets. The drummers are tapping their feet, what a nice sound. Oh, see how we dance, it is a freylekhs! Come into the circle and dance until dawn!

 

rabeynu tam

רבינו טעם

Words: Itsik Manger

Music: Hertz Rubin

A golden peacock brings Rabeynu Tam a love letter from the Queen of Turkey. "Rabeynu Tam, I love you!" she writes. "I can't eat or sleep, and I am bursting with longing!" Rabeynu Tam strokes his beard and sidelocks and says "Feh!" three times. His wife, the rebetsin, beats him with a rolling pin and complains that he has shikses on his mind. Who wrote this song? A young tailor made it up in honor of Rabeynu Tam. And as Shabbes drew to a close, a jester moved the lines around for good rhymes.

 

 

yidl mitn fidl

ייִדל מיטן פֿידל

Words: Itsik Manger

Music: Abraham Ellstein

Two musicians travel over fields and roads on a hay wagon. They are Yidl with his fiddle and Aryeh with his bass. Life is a little song, so why be angry? Life is just a joke! A goat stands in a meadow, bleating sadly, "Meh!" Hey, you foolish goat, being sad is "feh"! He nods in agreement: really, it is "feh"! A bird sings "Good morning!" May all your worries and sorrows disappear! Laugh in the wind's face and ride on, Yidl!

 

 

 

 

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