Soñando viejas luces de Hungría

Joannes Janssonius: Detail from table “Galicia” of vol. IV of the Atlas Maior (1658) with the representation of Finisterrae and Santiago de Compostela
That this our world is so small, to follow on the catchword of the previous post, is attested by the fact that all the three songs randomly selected as examples of history sung link up in some way the two fines terrae of Latin culture, Spain and Hungary. I have already expounded this about the first and the third song, but about the second I only discovered the same after the publication of the post.

Dusán & Zorán Sztevanovity: Volt egy tánc (There Was a Dance) (From the CD Az élet dolgai (The Things of Life), 1991) (See its text and our comments in the previous post.)

This song, Volt egy tánc (There Was a Dance) was written by Dusán Sztevanovity on the melody of the popular Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, Take This Waltz (From the CD I’m Your Man, 1988)

However, the lyrics of the original song of Cohen is a free translation of a poem by Federico García Lorca. Here you can read Cohen’s text together with the English translation of Lorca’s poem, while here a comparison of the two texts. And here below the poem in the original Spanish.

Little Viennese Waltz

In Vienna there are ten little girls
a shoulder for death to cry on
and a forest of dried pigeons.
There is a fragment of tomorrow
in the museum of winter frost.
There is a thousand-windowed dance hall.
Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this close-mouthed waltz.

Little waltz, little waltz, little waltz,
of itself, of death, and of brandy
that dips its tail in the sea.

I love you, I love you, I love you,
with the armchair and the book of death
down the melancholy hallway,
in the iris's dark garret,
in our bed that was once the moon's bed,
and in that dance the turtle dreamed of.
Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this broken-waisted waltz

In Vienna there are four mirrors
in which your mouth and the echoes play.
There is a death for piano
that paints the little boys blue.
There are beggars on the roof.
There are fresh garlands of tears.
Aye, ay, ay, ay!
Take this waltz that dies in my arms.

Because I love you, I love you, my love,
in the attic where children play,
dreaming ancient lights of Hungary
through the noise, the balmy afternoon,
seeing sheep and irises of snow
through the dark silence of your forehead.
Ay, ay, ay ay!
Take this “I will always love you” waltz.

In Vienna I will dance with you
in a costume with a river's head.
See how the hyacinths line my banks!
I will leave my mouth between your legs,
my soul in photographs and lilies,
and in the dark wake of your footsteps,
my love, my love, I will have to leave
violin and grave, the waltzing ribbons.
Pequeño vals vienés

En Viena hay diez muchachas,
un hombro donde solloza la muerte
y un bosque de palomas disecadas.
Hay un fragmento de la mañana
en el museo de la escarcha.
Hay un salón con mil ventanas.
¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals con la boca cerrada.

Este vals, este vals, este vals, este vals,
de sí, de muerte y de coñac
que moja su cola en el mar.

Te quiero, te quiero, te quiero,
con la butaca y el libro muerto,
por el melancólico pasillo,
en el oscuro desván del lirio,
en nuestra cama de la luna
y en la danza que sueña la tortuga.
¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals de quebrada cintura.

En Viena hay cuatro espejos
donde juegan tu boca y los ecos.
Hay una muerte para piano
que pinta de azul a los muchachos.
Hay mendigos por los tejados,
hay frescas guirnaldas de llanto.
¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals que se muere en mis brazos.

Porque te quiero, te quiero, amor mío,
en el desván donde juegan los niños,
soñando viejas luces de Hungría
por los rumores de la tarde tibia,
viendo ovejas y lirios de nieve
por el silencio oscuro de tu frente.
¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals, este vals del «Te quiero siempre».

En Viena bailaré contigo
con un disfraz que tenga cabeza de río.
¡Mira qué orillas tengo de jacintos!
Dejaré mi boca entre tus piernas,
mi alma en fotografías y azucenas,
y en las ondas oscuras de tu andar
quiero, amor mío, amor mío, dejar,
violín y sepulcro, las cintas del vals.

The great Flamenco singer Enrique Morente who had met Leonard Cohen in 1993 in Madrid dedicated to his songs and to Lorca’s poems the CD Omega of 1996 that has since become a veritable cult disk in Spain. On this he sings the Pequeño vals vienés with the melody of Cohen, but with the original text of Lorca in a fascinating Flamenco style.

Federico García Lorca: Pequeño vals vienés, performed by Enrique Morente

And to make the links between the two fines terrae even more intricate, Lorca himself mentions Hungary in his poem: Soñando viejas luces de Hungría – “Dreaming about the ancient lights of Hungary”. And indeed this is the very subject of the text written sixty years later by Dusán Sztevanovity on the melody of Cohen and on the memory of the lost generation of his parents. The circle closes.

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