Dark Eyes (Russian song)

"Dark Eyes" (Russian: Очи чёрные, tr. Óči čjórnye, IPA: [ˈotɕɪ ˈtɕɵrnɨjɪ], lit. 'Black Eyes') is a well-known and popular Russian romance. The lyrics were written by the poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka and first published on 17 January 1843. The melody associated with the lyrics has been borrowed from the "Valse hommage", Op. 21 for piano, written by Florian Hermann and published in 1879.

"Dark Eyes", n.d., "as arranged by Nikolai Artemev"

The Russian singer Feodor Chaliapin popularized a version of "Dark Eyes" with changes to the lyrics and additional verses.[1] Another popular version was written by the Italian-born British composer Adalgiso Ferraris, and first published in 1910 as "Schwarze Augen" ("Black Eyes").[2][3] The song became one of his major successes in the 1920s and 1930s; his version was played by Albert Sandler and Leslie Jeffries in 1939,[4][5] and sung by Al Bowlly, with lyrics by Albert Mellor, as "Black Eyes" in 1939.[6][7][8] Max Jaffa also recorded a version of the song in 1967.[9]

Composition edit

The lyrics were written by the poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka, born in Poltava, now in Ukraine. The first publication of the poem was in Hrebinka's own Russian translation in Literaturnaya Gazeta on 17 January 1843. A song using these lyrics was published in 1874,[10] but its melody was not included in the publication.

 
Front page of "Hommage-Valse" (1879) by Hermann

The melody now associated with the lyrics has been borrowed from the "Valse hommage", Op. 21 for piano, written by Florian Hermann, a composer of German-Polish origin active in the Russian Empire.[11] The Op. 21 was published in 1879.[12] In The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk (2000), James Fuld reports that a Soviet musicologist told him that the song is not "a Russian traditional song but a cabaret song", published in 1884 and reprinted as number 131 in a songbook by A. Gutheil in 1897, where it is described as a "Gypsy romance based on the melody of Florian Hermann's Valse Hommage".[13][14]

There are a number of variations on the song lyrics, including a version rewritten by Feodor Chaliapin, who dedicated the song to his future wife.[1] Chaliapin had performed the song with Rachmaninoff on piano.[15] Chaliapin's version became a typical example of gypsy-style Russian romance, and Rachmaninoff valued in particular a recording of the song by Chaliapin.[16][17]

Another popular version of "Dark Eyes" was written by Adalgiso Ferraris, who had spent many years in Russia before 1915, and was published while he was still in Russia in 1910, in collaboration with the German editor Otto Kuhl, as "Schwarze Augen" ("Black Eyes").[2][3] Ferraris then published it again in 1931, in affiliation with Paris Editions Salabert and with Jacques Liber, as "Tes yeux noirs (impression russe)"[18] on 9 October 1931.[2][19] The English lyrics were written by Albert Mellor.[6] Ferraris himself can be seen in a British Pathé film from 1934 of Alfredo and his Gypsy band playing "Dark Eyes", sitting in the orchestra behind the lead Alfredo.[20]

In Rebeca Chávez's 2010 documentary, Cuando Sindo Garay visitó a Emiliano Blez, Sindo Garay (born in 1867) claimed authorship of the melody.[21][better source needed] According to Garay, the melody of "Ojos negros que fascinan", a bolero, was composed by him upon request, for a Russian choir-girl with beautiful and expressive eyes, when an Opera company from Russia came to visit Cuba in the 1890s. Garay stated that “the melody of "Ojos negros" ("Dark Eyes") went back to Russia with the musicians and it was not until many years later that he found out through a friend that the song was part of the soundtrack of a Russian film playing at the local theatre. Garay was pleased to know that his music was worthy of such merit.[22][23]

Poem (original version by Grebyonka ) edit

Russian Transliteration Translation

1. Очи чёрные, очи страстные,
Очи жгучие и прекрасные!
Как люблю я вас, как боюсь я вас!
Знать, увидел вас я в недобрый час!

2. Ох, недаром вы глубины темней!
Вижу траур в вас по душе моей,
Вижу пламя в вас я победное:
Сожжено на нём сердце бедное.

3. Но не грустен я, не печален я,
Утешительна мне судьба моя:
Всё, что лучшего в жизни Бог дал нам,
В жертву отдал я огневым глазам!

1. Óči čjórnye, óči strástnye,
Óči žgúčie i prekrásnye!
Kak ljubljú ja vas, kak boyús' ja vas!
Znat' uvídel vas ja v nedóbryj čas!

2. Oh, nedárom vy glubiný temnéj!
Vížu tráur v vas po dušé moéj,
Vížu plámja v vas ja pobédnoe:
Sožženó na njom sérdce bédnoe.

3. No ne grústen ja, ne pečálen ja,
Utešítel'na mne sud'bá mojá:
Vsjo čto lúčševo v žízni Bog dal nam,
V žértvu ótdal ja ognevým glazám!

1. Black eyes, passionate eyes,
Burning and beautiful eyes!
How I love you, how I fear you,
It seems I met you in an unlucky hour!

2. Oh, not for nothing are you darker than the deep!
I see mourning for my soul in you,
I see a triumphant flame in you:
A poor heart immolated in it.

3. But I am not sad, I am not sorrowful,
My fate is soothing to me:
All that is best in life that God gave us,
In sacrifice I returned to the fiery eyes!

Lyrics (Chaliapin version) edit

Russian (Cyrillic alphabet) Transliteration (Latin alphabet)

Очи чёрные, очи жгучие,
Очи страстные и прекрасные,
Как люблю я вас, как боюсь я вас,
Знать увидел вас я не в добрый час.

Очи чёрные, жгучне пламенны
И мaнят они в страны дальные,
Где царит любовь, где царит покой,
Где страданья нет, где вражды запрет.

Очи чёрные, очи жгучие,
Очи страстные и прекрасные,
Как люблю я вас, как боюсь я вас,
Знать увидел вас я не в добрый час.

Не встречал бы вас, не страдал бы так,
Я бы прожил жизнь улыбаючись,
Вы сгубили меня очи чёрные
Унесли на век моё счастье.

Очи чёрные, очи жгучие,
Очи страстные и прекрасные,
Как люблю я вас, как боюсь я вас,
Знать увидел вас я не в добрый час.

Ochi chyornye, ochi zhguchie
Ochi strastnye i prekrasnye
Kak lyublyu ya vas, kak boyus' ya vas
Znat' uvidel vas ya ne v dobryi chas

Ochi chyornye, zhguchie plamenny
I manyat oni v strany dal'nye
Gde tsarit lyubov', gde tsarit pokoi
Gde stradan'ya nyet, gde vrazhdy zapryet

Ochi chyornye, ochi zhguchie
Ochi strastnye i prekrasnye
Kak lyublyu ya vas, kak boyus' ya vas
Znat' uvidel vas ya ne v dobryi chas

Ne vstrechal by vas, ne stradal by tak
Ya by prozhil zhizn' ulybayuchis'
Vy zgubili menya ochi chyornye
Unesli na vek moyo schast'ye

Ochi chyornye, ochi zhguchie
Ochi strastnye i prekrasnye
Kak lyublyu ya vas, kak boyus' ya vas
Znat' uvidel vas ya ne v dobryi chas

In popular culture edit

A part of the song is featured in the 1936 screwball comedy film My Man Godfrey, in which the protegé Carlo (played by Mischa Auer) accompanies himself on the piano, crooning the beginning of the song several times in a schmaltzy manner.

The song is also featured in the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner, in which employees of a store (played by James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan) argue over whether to sell a cigarette box that plays the song when opened. Part of the tune is also used at the very beginning of the orchestral score before the opening credits.

The 1942 film Lady From Chungking features a scene in which Lavara, the nightclub singer (played by Mae Clarke), performs the song for the benefit of the Japanese General Kaimura (played by Harold Huber).[24]

On 28 July 1942 Spike Jones and His City Slickers recorded 'Hotcha Cornia', a medley of this song and The Song of the Volga Boatmen which was arranged by Del Porter and Spike Jones. It was also featured in the 1943 film Thank Your Lucky Stars with Spike Jones and His City Slickers.[25]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Hvorostovsky sings Ochi Chyornye (Dark Eyes". Andante Moderato. 27 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Ferraris_Black_Eyes.pdf". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b Schwarze Augen = Occhi neri = Black eyes. 1 January 1910. OCLC 315785698.
  4. ^ Pathé, British. "Albert Sandler – The Celebrated Violinist". britishpathe.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ Pathé, British. "Leslie Jeffries". britishpathe.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Home". Imperial War Museum. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Al Bowlly – Dark Eyes". 5 March 2008. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Dark Eyes – Al Bowlly – Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Vinyl Album: Max Jaffa – Gypsy Magic (1967)". 45worlds.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  10. ^ "НЭБ - Национальная электронная библиотека".
  11. ^ "Florian Hermann's time and place". Dmitry Pruss: tango links & lists. 2 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Hommage-Valse", Op. 21 (Hermann): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  13. ^ James J. Fuld. The book of world-famous music: classical, popular, and folk – Courier Dover Publications, 2000. – P. 417 (the note at p. 684 says Fuld did not locate a copy of Hermann's piece: Fuld, James J. (1 January 2000). The Book of World-famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk. Courier Corporation. p. 684. ISBN 9780486414751. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ de:Schwarze Augen (Lied) names an S. Gerdel as the first arranger, without giving any reference.
  15. ^ Nollan, Valeria Z. (2022). Sergei Rachmaninoff: Cross Rhythms of the Soul. Lexington Books. p. 309. ISBN 9781666917604.
  16. ^ Maddocks, Fiona (2023). Goodbye Russia: Rachmaninoff in Exile. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571371167.
  17. ^ Martyn, Barrie (2017). Rachmaninoff: Composer, Pianist, Conductor. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781351552424.
  18. ^ "UniCat-Search". Unicat.be.
  19. ^ "Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions". Library of Congress, Copyright Office. 1 January 1933. p. 1110. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via Google Books.
  20. ^ "Alfredo And His Famous Gypsy Band (1934)". Archived from the original on 22 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ "Sindo Garay". notaclave.com. 25 March 2018.
  22. ^ Rebeca Chávez's 2010 documentary - Cuando Sindo Garay visitó a Emiliano Blez
  23. ^ "Cuando Sindo Garay visitó a Emiliano Blez". YouTube.
  24. ^ The Lady From Chungking. YouTube. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  25. ^ Thank Your Lucky Stars - soundtrack IMDb. Retrieved October 30, 2022.

External links edit