Review: Infodad.com - September 27, 2005
You won’t believe this until you hear it, and maybe not even then. Words may sound ‘low’ or ‘high’ in English, slangy or erudite, but quiquid Latine dictum sit altum viditur — whatever is said in Latin sounds profound. This turns out to apply to everything from ‘America the Beautiful’ to ‘Shenandoah’ — which are but two of the 15 popular songs heard here in Latin translations that range from the elegant to the frankly silly. (Yes, Latin can be silly even while sounding profound.) Listen to ‘Old Macdonald Had a Farm’ if you disbelieve: Mac Donaldo rustico/Fundus est, Euoe! (that exclamation coming about as close as the Romans would have wanted to come to E-I-E-I-O).
This is, by the way, Roman — that is, classical — Latin, not the debased form used in the Middle Ages and as a church language even today. C.C. Couch, who has several children’s and Christmas albums to her credit, obviously took a crash course in classical Latin before recording this CD — or remembered proper pronunciation from studying the language herself. ‘V’ is pronounced ‘w,’ the letters ‘g’ and ‘c’ are always hard (as in ‘go’ and ‘cow’), and so on. This pronunciation is especially enjoyable in ‘Gaudeamus Igitur,’ a song originally written in medieval Latin and therefore never intended for classical pronunciation. Singing it as the Romans would have sung it is a marvelous ‘in’ joke.
The vast majority of the fun here is far less subtle, though no less entertaining. You do have to know the English words to these songs to enjoy the Latin versions — the full Latin text is provided, but not the English. So you need to know that ‘Oh, Susannah’ starts with ‘I’ve come from Alabama’ to appreciate ‘Reliqui Alabamam,’ and that ‘Old Folks at Home’ opens with ‘Way down upon the Swanee River’ to enjoy ‘Quo loco fluit Swanee flumen.’ Hmm...or maybe it doesn’t matter after all. ‘This Old Man’ counts up from one in English (‘he played one,’ ‘he played two,’ etc.), but there is poetic license here that leads to verses that begin ‘Senex hic tympano,’ ‘Senex hic sandalis,’ and so on. This too doesn’t really seem to matter. Nor do pronunciation and emphasis issues caused by Latin phrasing: The music of ‘Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In’ puts the emphasis on ‘saints’ and ‘in,’ but ‘Cum intrant caelum sancti’ has the beats on ‘cae’ and ‘ti.’ That’s a bit odd. But of course, all this is overly analytical: this is a hilariously offbeat rendition of well-known music, bouncily played by Couch and Teddy Irwin, and the words really are accurate Latin. Audiamus! Gaudeamus!
Review: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers - January 15, 2005
Well-Known Songs in Latin
This is the new CD you have been waiting for. Carmina Popularia, a musical CD by Sound Inventions and published by Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, is now available.
C. C. Couch, the same vocalist who sang the Christmas carols in Latin on O Abies, also sings the songs on this CD. The new musical arrangements are by Teddy Irwin.
Treat your students to the upbeat tempo and the charismatic music of these songs. While America and Greensleeves have a hauntingly, beautiful sound, What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor sounds like Irish dance music, and Old MacDonald is downright hilarious both in its words and music.
Other songs on this CD are
? Oh, Susannah
? Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In
? Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)
? This Old Man
? My Bonnie
? Polly Wolly Doodle
? Gaudeamus Igitur
? Auld Lang Syne
The Latin lyrics are both on a printed insert inside the CD jewel case and in the book Latine Cantemus by Franz Schlosser.