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"Dark Eyes" (Russian: Очи чёрные, romanizedÓči čjórnye; transl. "Black Eyes") is probably the most famous Russian romance song.

The lyrics were written by the Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka. The first publication of the poem was in Hrebinka's own Russian translation in Literaturnaya Gazeta on 17 January 1843.

In The Book of World-famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk, published in 2000, the author, J. Fuld, mentions that a Soviet musicologist had reported to him that the song is not "a Russian traditional song but a cabaret song", published in a songs book by A. Gutheil in 1897 and mentioned, at p. 131, as a "Gypsy romance based on the melody of Florian Hermann's Valse Hommage.[1] Despite the claim made by Fuld that, "Of the original melody author, Florian Hermann, not a single music score is known,"[2] the sheet music for Hermann's piece and others of his works can be found. Here is his "Rêverie russe":[3]

The most renowned and played version of this song was written by Adalgiso Ferraris, and published, when still in Russia in 1910, with German editor Otto Kuhl, as "Schwarze Augen" (Black Eyes).[4][5] Ferraris then published it again in 1931 by Paris Editions Salabert, as "Tes yeux noirs (impression russe)"[6] and with Jacques Liber, on Oct 9th, 1931.[7][8]

Ferraris, an Italian-born British composer, had spent many years in Russia before 1915. The song became one of his major successes in the 1920s and 1930s, being also played by Albert Sandler, by Leslie Jeffries in 1939, and sung by Al Bowlly in 1939 with words of Albert Mellor.[9][10] Max Jaffa also recorded it.[11][12][13][14]

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[15].

Tommy Dorsey played it with his orchestra in 1937 and Jack Teagarden did also nearly 10 years before.

Ferraris's "Dark Eyes" was recorded by Harry Parry and his radio sextet in 1941, and that version is still played by many artists. Chet Atkins played an original interpretation of the song on electric guitar. Wynton Kelly recorded a jazz version in 1958. Feodor Chaliapin also popularised the song abroad.

The song was briefly played by the Three Tenors in their 1990 concert in Rome. It has become one of the signature songs of opera baritone Max Jaffa in his concerts.

Contents

Poem (original version by Hrebinka)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!

The following is a metrical translation (i.e. one that can be sung to the melody).

Oh, these gorgeous eyes, dark and glorious eyes,
Burn-with-passion eyes, how you hypnotise!
How I adore you so, how I fear you though,
Since I saw you glow! Now my spirit’s low!

Darkness yours conceal mighty fires real;
They my fate will seal: burn my soul with zeal!
But my love for you, when the time is due,
Will refresh anew like the morning dew!

No, not sad am I, nor so mad am I;
All my comforts lie in my destiny.
Just to realise my life’s worthiest prize
Did I sacrifice for those ardent eyes!.

Translation by Peter Farnbank

Another rhythmical translation which is closer to the original

Oh you dark black eyes, full-of-passion-eyes
Oh you burning eyes, how you hypnotise
Now I love you so, but I fear you though
Since you glanced at me not so long ago.

Oh I see you now, you are dark and deep
I see grief and feel that my soul will weep
I see now in you a winning burning glow
in my poor heart will a fire grow.

I’ m not sorrowful, I’m not repenting
I accept all that my fate’s presenting
All the best in life, God has given us-
this I sacrifice, to you dark black eyes.

by Stefan Bogdanov

Lyrics (Chaliapin version)Edit

Russian (Cyrillic alphabet) Transliteration (Latin alphabet) English translation

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, очи 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, ochi 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

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
How I love you, How I fear you
Truly, I saw you at a sinister hour

Dark eyes, flaming eyes
They implore me into faraway lands
Where love reigns, where peace reigns
Where there is no suffering, where war is forbidden

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
I love you so, I fear you so
Truly, I saw you at a sinister hour

If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be suffering so
I would have lived my life smiling
You have ruined me, dark eyes
You have taken my happiness away forever

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
I love you so, I fear you so
Truly, I saw you at a sinister hour

Translation by Katya from russmus.net ([1])

Popular cultureEdit

"Dark Eyes" has become a jazz standard.

See alsoEdit

  • Dark Eyes, a Russian music compilation album that includes Dark Eyes
  • The Red Army Choir, compilation album that includes Dark Eyes

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ James J. Fuld. The book of world-famous music: classical, popular, and folk - Courier Dover Publications, 2000. - P. 417 (see also notes at p. 684).
  2. ^ Fuld, James J. (1 January 2000). "The Book of World-famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk". Courier Corporation. p. 684. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Hermann,_Florian
  4. ^ "Ferraris_Black_Eyes.pdf". google.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Schwarze Augen = Occhi neri = Black eyes". 1 January 1910. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via Open WorldCat.
  6. ^ http://www.unicat.be/uniCat?func=search&query=author:%22Ferraris,%20A.%22&formQuery=author:%22Ferraris,%20A.%22
  7. ^ "Ferraris_Black_Eyes.pdf". google.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions". Library of Congress, Copyright Office. 1 January 1933. p. 1110. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "Home". iwm.org.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Dark Eyes - Al Bowlly - Song Info - AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Vinyl Album: Max Jaffa - Gypsy Magic (1967)". 45worlds.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  12. ^ Pathé, British. "Albert Sandler - The Celebrated Violinist". britishpathe.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  13. ^ Pathé, British. "Leslie Jeffries". britishpathe.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  14. ^ bigmanio (5 March 2008). "Al Bowlly - Dark Eyes". Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Alfredo and his Gypsy band
  16. ^ "Schwarze Augen = Occhi neri = Black eyes". 1 January 1910. Retrieved 26 April 2017 – via Open WorldCat.
  17. ^ "Editions Salabert, Paris". le-livre.fr. Retrieved 26 April 2017.

External linksEdit