Manuel Huber, Conductor

Journey through the Americas
USA Fall 2019 Program

Program Notes by Tina Breckwoldt

Plainsong Chant

Domine, exaudi orationem meam (Lord, hear my prayer)

Psalm 101:2 (102:2)

Tempus per annum – Hebdomada XXIII


„Domine, exaudi“ is an Alleluia chant, to be sung after the second lesson but before the gospel in the „ordinary time“ between Pentecost and Advent.


Psalm 101 (102) is both a personal, intimate prayer and a lament sung in deep distress.



Domine, exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad te veniat.




Lord, hear my prayer, and may my crying come to you.



Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 - 1594)

Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born)

Motet for four voices


Palestrina, who took his name from his birthplace, started his musical career as a chorister at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. From 1544 to 1551, Palestrina worked in his native town as organist and choirmaster. In 1551, Pope Julius III summoned Palestrina to Rome as choirmaster of the Cappella Giulia, from which the Sistine Chapel recruited its singers. Palestrina also sang in the choir of the Sistine Chapel. However, in 1555, the new Pope Paul IV dismissed Palestrina and two others from the choir because they were married. Palestrina succeeded Orlando di Lasso as choirmaster of St John Lateran. In 1560, he resigned in protest because the choirboys were not fed enough, and in 1561, he was appointed choirmaster of Santa Maria Maggiore, where he himself had been a chorister. In 1567, papal reforms declared some of his masses ‘unliturgical’, because he had used secular songs or words foreign to the ordinary.


Disenchanted with the church, Palestrina resigned from this post. He went to work for the Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, who had a few musicians in his household. In 1571, he accepted the post of director of the Cappella Giulia. Palestrina had a hard time then: he lost both his sons and his wife to the plague. He considered becoming a priest, but in the end found another solution. He remarried; his new wife was the rich widow of a fur merchant. Palestrina, who clearly had good business sense, made a fortune which enabled him to publish several collections of his music.


Palestrina’s music resembles the architecture of the time; it is characterised by soaring lines, a skilful blend of voices, and a rich sound. Contemporaries saw Palestrina as the embodiment of spirituality and modesty; his compositions were admired as perfect. His enormous output includes 105 masses, 68 offertories, 35 magnificats, 11 litanies, and around 300 motets.


Hodie Christus natus est is a medieval antiphon; part of the vespers on Christmas Day. The text is a paraphrase of Luke 2:11, 13-14 and Psalm 33:1. In the liturgy, it follows the exultant Magnificat, the canticle of the Virgin Mary.



Hodie Christus natus est

hodie Salvator apparuit.

Hodie in terra canunt angeli,

laetantur archangeli.

Hodie exsultant iusti, dicentes:

Gloria in excelsis Deo. Alleluia



Today Christ is born,

today the Savior appears.

Today the angels sing on earth,

and the archangels rejoice.

Today the just exult and say:

Glory to God in the highest. Hallelujah




Maurice Duruflé (1902 - 1986)

Tota pulchra es Maria (You are wholly beautiful, Mary)

from: Quatre motets sur des themes grégoriens, opus 10 (1960)


Duruflé was introduced to organ music as a chorister at the cathedral in Rouen. At age 17, he moved to Paris, where he became the organ assistant at the church of Sainte-Clotilde, at the same time pursuing his studies at the Paris Conservatoire. Duruflé left Sainte-Clotilde to become Louis Vierne’s assistant at Notre-Dame. In 1929, he became the organist of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont and in 1943, professor at the Conservatoire.

Duruflé was married to his assistant at Saint-Etienne, Marie-Madeleine Chevalier. After a car accident in 1975, Duruflé gave up performing. He died in 1986 near Paris.


Duruflé was a perfectionist. He was highly critical of his own work and published only a handful of compositions.  He continued to work on pieces even after publication.


Tota pulchra es Maria is one of four motets on Gregorian themes, written in 1960. Duruflé’s setting is in three to four parts, with the voices imitating the Gregorian phrase. A frequent change in metre results in an ethereal, suspended quality. The original prayer dates to the fourth century. It is an antiphon for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December, inspired by text from the Song of Songs, and the book of Judith.



Tota pulchra es, Maria et macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.



You are wholly beautiful, Mary, and the stain of original sin is not on you.
Your clothing is white like snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are wholly beautiful, Mary, and the stain of original sin is not on you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the delight of Israel, you are the honoured of our people.
You are wholly beautiful, Mary




Antonio de Salazar (c. 1650 - 1715)

Tarará qui yo soy Antón (Tarara, I am Anton)

Mexican villancico


Villancicos, „village songs“, originated in Spain; they are derived from medieval dances. They combine religious stories with everyday life. Villancicos were especially popular in the New World in the 17th century. In Mexico, they were often part of a theatrical performance before or after a service; such performances involved the whole community and would have served to explain Biblical texts. „Tarará“ is a so-called „negrillo“, a „black“ villancico: It has powerful African rhythms, it mentions African dances, and it mimics an „African“ pronunciation of Mexican Spanish („chilubina“ for querubines, cherubs; „gluria“ for glory).


Salazar was born in Puebla de los Angeles around 1650. He is attested as maestro de capilla at Puebla Cathedral from 1679 until around 1688; from 1688 until his death, he served in the same position at Mexico City Cathedral.




Tarará, tarará, qui yo soi Antón,

ninglito li nacimiento,

qui lo canto lo más y mijó.



Yo soi Antón molinelo,

y ese niño qui nació,

hijo es li unos lablalola,

li tula mi estimación.


Pul eso mi sonajiya,

cascabela y a tambó

voy a baila yo a Belena,

pultilica y camalón.


Mílalo quantu pastola,

buscando a la niño Dios,

van curriendo a la pultale

pala daye la adolación.


La sagala cilubina

vístila li risplandor,

las canta sus viyancica,

gluria cun cumpasyón.





Tarara, I am Anton,

black by birth,

and I sing more and better.



I am Anton the miller,

and this newborn child,

is the son of working folk,

he has all my esteem.


And so with my rattle,

my bells and my tambourine,

I'll go to Bethlehem

to dance the Puerto Rico and the Cameroun.


Look at all those shepherds

looking for the God-child,

they run to the stable

to offer their adoration.


The holy cherubs,

dressed in splendor,

they sing their villancicos,

glorias, with good rhythm and sound.




Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)

Laudi alla vergine Maria (Hymn to the virgin Mary)

Text: Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321)

from: Quattro pezzi sacri


Verdi, who is most famous for his many operas, was a professed agnostic; he did not have much time for traditional religion. His own rare sacred works express a deep and very personal belief.


The “Laudi alle vergine Maria” was written c. 1897/1898 for high voices a cappella. The text, the final song from Dante’s Divina Commedia, is a prayer of St. Bernard – Bernard prays to Mary on Dante’s behalf. Looking up, Dante catches a glimpse of divinity and a reflection of mankind, but is blinded by the brightness and finally returns to the old cycle of human life and human longing. Verdi only selected the beginning of the XXXIII canto for his piece, making it a praise of Mary.


“Laudi” was published together with three other sacred works by Verdi, a setting of the Ave Maria for choir a cappella, a large-scale Stabat mater, and a Te Deum for double choir and orchestra. The introspective “Laudi” finds itself sandwiched between the two loud pieces.



Vergine madre, figlia del tuo Figlio
Umile ed alta più che creatura
Termine fisso d’eterno consiglio.

Tu sei colei che l’umana natura
Nobilitasti sì, che il suo fattore
Non disdegnò di farsi sua fattura.

Nel ventre tuo si raccese l’amore
Per lo cui caldo nell’eterna pace
Così è germinato questo fiore.

Qui sei a noi meridiana face
Di caritade e giuso, intra i mortali
Sei di speranza fontana vivace.

Donna, sei tanto grande e tanto vali
Che qual vuol grazia ed a te non ricorre
Sua disianza vuol volar senz’ali.

La tua benignità non pur soccorre
A chi domanda, ma molte fiate
Liberamente domandar precorre.

In te misericordia, in te pietate,
In te magnificenza, in te s’aduna
Quantunque in creatura è di bontate.




Virgin mother, daughter of your son,
humbler and nobler than any creature,
you are the predetermined goal of the eternal counsel,

Through you human nature

Was so ennobled that its creator

Didn’t think it beneath him to become a creation himself.


In your womb the love began,

And through its warmth, in this eternal peace,

This flower could blossom.

Here you are our midday light

Of charity, and below, among mortals

You are the living source of hope.



Lady, you are so great and so mighty,

Whoever wants grace and does not seek you out,

Longs to fly without wings.


Your goodness helps not only

The person who asks, many times

Has it been given gladly before the plea.


In you there is mercy, in you there is pity,

In you there is splendour, in you all goodness is found

that ever was in any creature.




Gerald Wirth (*1965)

Sanctus - Benedictus

from: Missa apostolica for boys' choir (1988)


Gerald Wirth, the artistic director of the Vienna Boys Choir, writes much choral and vocal music. He likes to use mythological, philosophical or spiritual texts as a starting point; he often combines texts from different cultures, and he writes in a number of different languages. He translates the words into music that is meant to convey the underlying emotion. His works are performed by choirs around the world.


Wirth has written a number of sacred pieces for use in a church context, among them several settings of the mass ordinary, the fixed parts of the Roman rite liturgy. His Missa apostolica was written in the 1980s; its name refers to the Apostolic Creed, as an early statement of Christian belief.



Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua,

Hosanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.



Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts.

Heaven and earth are filled with your glory,

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


Raymond Murray Schafer (*1933)

Gamelan (1979)                                                                       


Canadian composer Raymond Murray Schafer studied harpsichord, piano, and music theory at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and composition at the University of Toronto. He later studied in Vienna and London, and holds a piano degree from the Royal College of Music. Schafer has received numerous prizes for his achievements: Guggenheim Fellowship in 1974, Composer of the Year, Canadian Music Council in 1976, Jules Léger Prize in 1978, Prix Honegger in 1980, Glenn Gould Prize in 1987, Louis Applebaum Composer’s Award in 1999, Walter Carsen Prize in 2005, Governor General's Award for the Performing Arts in 2009, Companion of the Order of Canada in 2013. His works are performed internationally.


Schafer, who has a keen interest in different cultures, their philosophy, literature, and music, taught at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. In 1971, he founded the World Soundscape Project, now the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. Murray Schafer coined the term “soundscape”, defining it as the sum of the sounds surrounding us.


Gamelan, or gambelan, is a term describing an indigenous Indonesian orchestra of mainly percussion instruments, gongs, xylophones, metallophones such as the Indonesian gangsa, various drums; a gamel is a kind of mallet used to play the instruments. According to legend, it was invented by Sang Hyang Guru, also referred to as Sang Hyang Jagadnata (“Lord of the Universe”), the god who ruled Java, to call the other gods. Today, gamelan music is played during traditional ceremonies, rituals, at wayang puppet plays, and dances, such as the barong lion dance on Bali. An Indonesian saying states that “Nothing is official until the gong is hung.”


Schafer's piece is re-creation of a gamelan orchestra by voices. The choir mimics the sounds of the actual instruments, there is no text.


Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990)

I Bought Me a Cat

Old American Songs, Set I : V (1950)                                         


Between 1945 and 1952, Aaron Copland wrote new settings of ten old American folk and popular tunes – they were originally intended for a stage show. The first set was finished in March 1950; it comprises The Boatmen’s Dance, The Dodger, Long Time Ago, Simple Gifts, and I Bought Me a Cat. The songs were famously first performed by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten at the 1950 Aldeburgh Festival. Two years later, Irving Fine published the songs in a version for chorus.


I Bought Me a Cat was sung to Copland by playwright Lynn Riggs, who had learned it as a boy in Oklahoma. It is a nonsense song with imitations of animals - quite similar to Old MacDonald Had a Farm. More and more animals are added to the verses, until the singer finally and happily acquires a wife.



I bought me a cat, my cat pleased me,

I fed my cat under yonder tree.

My cat says fiddle eye fee.


I bought me a goose, my goose pleased me

I fed my goose under yonder tree.

My goose says, “Quaw, quaw”,

My duck says, “Quaa, quaa”,

My cat says fiddle eye fee.


I bought me a hen, my hen pleased me.

I fed my hen under yonder tree.

My hen says, Shimmy shack, shimmy shack”,

My goose says . . .


I bought me a pig, my pig pleased me.
I fed my pig under yonder tree.
My pig says, “Griffey, griffey”.
My hen says . . .


I bought me a horse, my horse pleased me.
I fed my horse under yonder tree.
My horse says, “Neigh, neigh”,
My pig says . . .


I bought me a cow, my cow pleased me.

I fed my cow under yonder tree.

My cow says “Moo, moo”,

my horse says . . .


I bought me a wife, my wife pleased me.

I fed my wife under yonder tree.

My wife says, “Honey, honey”,

My horse says “Neigh, neigh”,

My cow says . . .



Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)

Somewhere (Adagio)

Text: Stephen Sondheim (*1930)

from: West Side Story (1957)


Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to a Ukrainian Jewish family. At a very young age, Bernstein heard a piano performance which he loved so much that he began learning the instrument. His father was a businessman, and initially opposed his son’s interest in music. But Bernstein was persistent; he studied music at Harvard University and later at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Isabella Vengerova and Fritz Reiner, who was known to be incredibly strict. Reiner awarded Bernstein the only A he ever gave any student.


Bernstein was highly regarded as a conductor, composer, and educator. For a long time, he was the director of the New York Philharmonic, and he conducted most of the world’s leading orchestras. He wrote three symphonies, two operas and five musicals, among them West Side Story.


In 2018, to mark his 100th anniversary, the Vienna Boys Choir perform “Somewhere”, also known as Adagio. In the musical, it is sung by an off-stage soprano; in the 1961 film version, Tony sings it, trying to console Maria – after having inadvertently killed her brother. Somewhere, he hopes, their love will survive. Bernstein quotes a piece from Beethoven's “Emperor” Piano Concerto, and a piece from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.


“Somewhere” has been covered by countless artists, notably Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Phil Collins, and the Pet Shop Boys.



Someday, somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
Will find a way of forgiving


Somewhere, there's a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air wait for us

Somewhere, there's a time for us
Someday there'll be a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn, time to care 

Someday, somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
Will find there's a way of forgiving
Somewhere, somewhere, somewhere


George Gershwin (1898 – 1937)

I Got Rhythm

Text: Ira Gershwin (1896 – 1983)

from the musical “Girl Crazy” (1930)


I Got Rhythm is without doubt the most popular song from the musical Girl Crazy; it has been covered countless times. Its chord progression is the basis for many jazz tunes. The tune was originally intended for a slower song in the 1928 musical “Treasure Girl”, but neither the song nor the musical fared particularly well. George wrote the tune first and then gave it to Ira to find words for it – on this occasion, Ira found it more difficult than usual.


When the musical opened on Broadway and the song had its premiere, singer Ethel Merman was accompanied by a jazz orchestra that included Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller.



Days can be sunny with never a sigh;
Don’t need what money can buy.
Birds in the tree sing their dayful of song,
Why shouldn’t we sing along?

I’m chipper all the day,
Happy with my lot.
How do I get that way?
Look at what I’ve got:


I got rhythm
I got music
I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more?


I got daisies
In green pastures,
I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more?


Ol’ Man Trouble,
I don’t mind him.
You won’t find him
Round my door.


I got starlight,
I got sweet dreams,
I got my girl,
Who could ask for anything more?


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

Ode to Joy (Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee)

English text: Henry van Dyke Jr. (1852 - 1933)

Arr. Mervyn Warren, from the movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit


"Joyful, Joyful" is a joyous, gospel-infused adaption of Beethoven's famous Ode to Joy; the English words were written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 - van Dyke, a writer, clergyman, educator, and diplomat, was Professor of English at Princeton University at the time.


The movie performance of "Joyful Joyful" was produced and arranged by five-time Grammy winner Mervyn Warren, an all-round musician, who produces, writes and performs film music, jazz, R&B, pop, and gospel music. In 1991, he was commissioned to arrange and interpret Handel's "Messiah“; the resulting album, A Soulful Celebration, received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.



Joyful, Joyful , Lord, we adore Thee

God of glory , Lord of love

Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee

Hail Thee as the sun above

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness

Drive the dark of doubt away

Giver of immortal gladness

Fill us with the light of day.


Joyful, Joyful , Lord we adore Thee

An' in my life I put none before Thee

Cuz since I was a youngster I came to know

That you was the only way to go

So I had to grow an' come to an understandin'

That I'm down with the King so now I'm demandin'

That you tell me who you down with, see

Cuz all I know is that I'm down with G-O-D


You down with G-O-D? (Yeah, you know me)

Who's down with G-O-D?


(Everybody) Come and join the chorus

The mighty, mighty chorus

Which the morning stars begun

The Father of love is reigning over us

Right away


What have you done for Him lately?

Ooh, ooh, ooh yeah

He watches over everything

So we sing . . .


Joyful, Joyful . . .



Richard M. Sherman (*1928) and Robert B. Sherman (1925 – 2012)

I Wanna Be Like You

from the movie Jungle Book (Walt Disney 1967)


Brothers Richard and Robert Sherman began writing rock and roll in the 1950s, and started working for the Disney studios in the 1960s. They wrote scores for more than 20 successful films; quite a few of them for Disney. In 1964, they won an Oscar for the music for “Mary Poppins”.


I Wanna Be Like You is a wistful ode to mankind delivered by another primate: King Louie, the hip and swinging monkey king in Walt Disney’s film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's “Jungle Book”, originally sung by Louis Prima.




Now I'm the king of the swingers
Oh, the jungle VIP
I've reached the top and had to stop
And that's what botherin' me
I wanna be a man, mancub
And stroll right into town
And be just like the other men
I'm tired of monkeyin' around!

Oh, oobee doo
I wanna be like you
I wanna walk like you
Talk like you, too
You'll see it's true
An ape like me
Can learn to be human too

Gee, cousin Louie
You're doin' real good
Now here's your part of the deal, cuz
Lay the secret on me of man's red fire
But I don't know how to make fire

Now don't try to kid me, mancub
I made a deal with you
What I desire is man's red fire
To make my dream come true
Give me the secret, mancub
Clue me what to do
Give me the power of man's red flower
So I can be like you

I wanna be like you
I wanna talk like you
Walk like you, too
You'll see it's true
Someone like me
Can learn to be
Like someone like me
Can learn to be
Like someone like you
Can learn to be
Like someone like me!




* * *  INTERMISSION  * * *



Gerald Wirth         (*1965)

Tradigist Yodel


Yodels are one of the chief elements of Alpine folk music. Initially used as a means of communication across the valleys, they literally reflect the Alps. The echo added by the mountains leads to elaborate variations. Yodelling is an expression of a sentiment done on the spur of a moment. It has no text; instead, singers use various similar sounding syllables, and syllables designed to generate a good echo.


Gerald Wirth's “Yodel from Tradigist” features four solo voices, positioned apart from each other; they yodel in concert with the choir who provides a solid three-part background yodel, creating the impression of mountainous landscape.


Tradigist is a village in the Pielach Valley of Lower Austria. The densely forested valley has soft, green hills and is traversed by the lively Pielach river.




Hiatamadl (Shepherdess)

Austrian folk song

Arr. Gerald Wirth


Hiatamadl is an Alpine song with a cheerful nonsense text and a strong rhythm that lends itself to dancing. Austrian pop singer Hubert von Goisern sings a cult version that hit the European charts in the 1990s.


In Curt Faudon's documentary, Bridging the Gap, the Vienna Boys Choir combines it with a fun dance, bridging the gap between folk culture and classical music.




Den selbn, den oan,

den Grossn und  den Kloan:


Koa Hiatamadl mog i net
hot koane dickn Wadln net
i mog a Madl aus da Stadt
wos dicke Wadln hat




Koa Nachbarbiabl mag i net

Weil d’Bierbauchwampn füri steht

i mog a Biable aus da Stadt

das ka Bierbauchwampn hat.



Da Nachbar Hiasl tanzt so guat

Er hat an greanan schiefn Huat

Und hätt a net an schiefn Huat

Dann tanzat net so guat.




The same, the one,

the tall one, the small one.



I don’t like no shepherdess

She ain’t got no sturdy calves

I like a city girl

Who has sturdy calves.





I don’t like no neighbour’s boy

‘cause his beer gut stands out

I like a city boy

Who has no beer gut.




The neighbour’s son Hiasl dances well

He has a crazy green hat

If he didn’t have a crazy hat

He wouldn’t dance so well.


Und a Waldbua bin i (I am a forest boy)

Folk song from Lower Austria

Arr. Gerald Wirth


The song is a working song, sung by forest dwellers and forest farmers, who literally hacked out an existence by felling trees and selling the wood, by planting crops and grazing cattle in the clearings. They made creative use of every part of the forest and its trees, including digging clay pits – as the refrain indicates.

Forest farmers were dirt poor; hence the advice to the girl in the third verse to be sensible and marry the man with money.



A Waldbua bin i

und a Waldmadl, das liab I,

bin a Bua, a junga,

schleich in Holzschlag uma.



Schmalz in der Buttn,

Loahm in der Gruabm,

lusti san d’Waldbauernbuam,

sans am Berg, sans in Tal,

lustig san sie überall.


Diandl, du liabs,

wannst ma du amal stiabs

wirst ma du amal krank,

leb i a nimmer lang.


Diandl, sei gescheit,

liab an Buam, der di gfreit,

nimm an Buam mit an Göld,

hast a Freid auf der Welt,


Hast a Freid auf der Welt,

wann die Zidern schen hellt,

wann die Geign schen klingt

und der Waldbauernbua singt.



I am a boy of the forest,

And there is a girl in the forest whom I love.

Am a young boy,

And creep into the clearing.



Fat in the vat

Clay in the pit,

And the forest boys are happy,

Whether on the mountain or in the valley

They are happy everywhere.


You lovely girl,

Should you ever die

Should you ever fall sick

I shan’t live much longer either.

Yodel and refrain


Girl, be sensible,

Love a boy who makes you happy,

But marry a boy with money

And you will be happy in this world.

Yodel and refrain


You will be happy in this world,

When the zither sounds brightly

When the fiddle sounds beautifully

And the forest boy sings.

Yodel and refrain



Donkey Riding

Capstan-Shanty from Canada and Scotland

Arr. Gerald Wirth


A shanty is a work song, sung by sailors, deckhands, stevedores and dockers, to accompany various communal jobs at sea and in ports. Singing ensured that a crew could work to a defined rhythm, when loading or unloading cargo, hoisting sails or weighing anchor. The hugely popular „Donkey Riding“ is based on an old Scottish dance; it was in use from the 19th century onwards, from Quebec to Liverpool, from Miramichi to Timbuktu, from London to Hong Kong, all of which appear in some of the known verses. The term „donkey“  could be understood to refer to the ship's yards, her capstan, or possibly part of a hoist which someone might sit on.



Was you ever in Quebec,

stowing timber on the deck,

where you break yer flaming neck

riding on a donkey?

Way-hay and away we go,

Donkey riding, donkey riding,

Way-hay and away we go,

Riding on a donkey.


Was you ever off Cape Horn

Where it's always nice and warm?

Where you wish you'd never been born

Riding on a donkey.

Way-hay and away we go . . .


Was you ever in London town,
Where the gals they do come down?
See the king in a golden crown,
Riding on a donkey.

Way-hay and away we go . . .


Amazing Grace

North American tune

Text: John Newton (1725 – 1807)

Arr. John Coates


John Newton’s biography does not immediately suggest a writer of religious texts. He undertook his first sea voyage at age eleven, at eighteen, he was pressed into service on a British man-of-war. He deserted, was caught, flogged and demoted; he finally wound up aboard a slave ship. Life was not pleasant, and Newton started to read and teach himself Latin. In 1748, Newton’s ship was caught in a violent storm, the outward reason for his conversion. In 1755, Newton left the sea and took up religion. He met methodists and calvinists. He learnt Greek and Hebrew and finally managed to become a minister. He accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton must have been a captivating preacher; his church had to be enlarged to accommodate the crowds.

Amazing Grace was written between 1769 and 1770, probably for a service. Newton published it in 1779 (second edition 1807) with the title Faith’s Review and Expectation, and a reference to First Chronicles 17:16f. The song’s first verse also recalls John 9:25.

The music is supposedly Early American; and it has been speculated that the melody was sung by slaves.



Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

that saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now am found

was blind but now I see.


’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

and grace my fear relieved.

How precious did that grace appear

the hour I first believed.


When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun,

we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,

then when we first begun.




Arapaho Nation

Kainawad Naad (Song of the Spirit Dance)

Arr. Gerald Wirth


The Arapaho are a nomadic plains tribe who depended almost exclusively on the buffalo hunt for survival; they followed the animals’ trails, living in tipis which could be erected within the hour by two people. Their main allies were the Cheyenne, and although they did engage in war with other tribes, they tended to avoid conflict with the white settlers.
The song arranged by Gerald Wirth is part of the Arapahos'  most famous ritual, the Sun Dance. The dancers would stare into the sun for hours; this, combined with the infliction of physical pain would induce a state of trance in which the participants in the ritual would be rewarded with visions.


Kainawad Naad, sung by Hanacha-thiak (Sitting Buffalo Bull) and written down by Natalie Curtis in 1907, is a calm song describing such a vision; the singer passes through the yellow “Turtle waters”. Once upon a time, the Turtle dived to the bottom of the waters, bringing back clay out of which the world was created.



Seniesäna niha-nawu

Nänäi bäeno nidjieh-hi nina-nawu.



Wading I passed through yellow waters,

it was the Turtle lake, yellow waters.


José Alfredo Rangel Arroyo (*1967), Enrique Rangel Arroyo (*1969)

Esa noche (That night)

Arr. Robert Rieder


“Esa noche” is a song from Café Tacuba's 1994 album “Re” - the title refers to the second note in Solfege, D. The album is considered by Rolling Stone magazine to be one of the all-time Latin greats; Café Tabuba (or Tabcvba) is a hugely popular Indie Rock band from Mexico.


“Esa noche”, written in bolero style, sounds like an ancient folk tune. The song is dedicated to the great Chavela Vargas (1919 - 2012), famous for her haunting singing, her brittle, rough, deep voice. The cross-dressing singer, who had her Carnegie Hall debut at age 81, sang rancheros from a male perspective; rancheros are deeply emotional love songs. To Vargas, it was music of the soul, no matter how a person identifies - and this may well be why the lyrics of “Esa noche” remain ambiguous.



No me hubieras dejado esa noche

porque esa misma noche encontré un amor


Parecía que estaba esperando tu momento de partir

parecía haber observado mis momentos junto a ti


No me hubieras dejado esa noche

porque esa misma noche encontré un amor


Me abrazó el instante mismo que tú me dijiste adiós

y no fue una gran tristeza fue como ir de menor a mayor


Tu regreso había esperado más te veía muy feliz

en los brazos de tu amada te olvidaste tú de mí

Más ahora que recuerdas a mis brazos vuelve ya

seré por siempre tu amante, tu novia: la soledad


Y si alguna vez regresas con aquélla que te amo

sabes no será lo mismo pues también me conoció


No me hubieras dejado esa noche

porque esa misma noche encontré un amor.

Mi soledad siempre he pertenecido a ti.



You should not have left me that night

because that night I found a love


It seemed they were waiting for the moment you left

it seemed they had watched my moments with you


You should not have left me that night

because that night I found a love


They embraced me in that moment when you said goodbye

and there was no great sadness, it was liked changing from a minor to a major key

I had waited for your return, but I see you happier,

in the arms of your lover you have forgotten me.

But now you return to my arms

I will forever love you; your bride: solitude.


And if at some point you return with someone who loved you,

you know that it won't be the same, because they also knew me.


You should not have left me that night

because that night I found a love

My loneliness will always belong to you



Três cantos nativos dos Indios Krahó

(Three songs of the Krahó Indios)

Arr. Marcos Leal Leite (1996)


The Krahó (or Crao) are an indigenous people in Brazil; they were not discovered until the 19th century, and they have managed to preserve at least some of their way of life. There are around 2400 Krahó today, living in a reservation (Krahólandia) in the state of Tocantins, in central Brazil.


Marcos Leite based his arrangement on three songs he had heard the tribe sing in the 1970s. The choir creates a jungle by imitating a whole forest of animals. The first song  is about a heron saving a fish from an alligator (presumably to eat it), the second, much wilder song, is about an ara – it is impossible to tell what it feels. The third song is a love song – it tells the story of a date in the jungle.




Dekeke korirare hê

Jaramutum korirare hê

Ram, ram -



Pátchô parrarea djôsiré

iwenerê na kaporra djôsiré



Kamarrêra kidêri kema

Tiô iremô nárite





A heron flies over a lake; the heron is hungry.

It sees a fish in the lake,

and as it stops, an alligator opens its mouth

and the heron does –



An ara perches on a stick,

is it laughing or crying?



He called his girl to take honey into the jungle.




Yo vendo unos ojos negros (I am selling a pair of black eyes)

Tonada from Chile

Arr. Andy Icochea Icochea


This popular Chilean love song – formally a waltz - was made internationally famous by Nat King Cole. Cole released it in 1959 as part of his Spanish album, A mis amigos, To my friends.



Yo vendo unos ojos negros
¿quién me los quiere comprar?
Los vendo por hechiceros
porque me han pagado mal.

Ojos negros traicioneros
porque me miran así
tan alegres para otros
y tan tristes para mí.

Más te quisiera
más te amo yo
y toda la noche lo paso
suspirando por tu amor.


I am selling a pair of black eyes,
Who wants to buy them from me?
I am selling them for being bewitching
Because they did me a bad turn.

Treacherous black eyes
because they look at me so,

So cheerful for others,

and so sad for me. 

The more I want you, the more I love you,
And I spend all night
Sighing for your love.




Un poquito cantas (Sing a little)


Arr. Gerald Wirth


This feel-good song is designed to put a spring in your step and bring a smile to your face; it is sung by choirs the world over, in different arrangements.



Un poquito cantas, un poquito bailas,

un poquito leola, come un canario:

Leola . . .


Un poquito vino, un poquito aire,

un poquito leola, come un canario:

Leola . . .


Un poquito vientos, un poquito sombras,

un poquito leola, come un canario:

Leola . . .



Sing a little, dance a little,

sing a little leola, like a Canary Islander:

Leola . . .


A little bit of wine, a little bit of air,

sing a little leola, like a Canary Islander:

Leola . . .


A fresh breeze, a bit of shadow,

sing a little leola, like a Canary Islander:

Leola . . .


Josef Strauss (1827 - 1870)

For ever! Fast polka, opus 193

Text: Tina Breckwoldt; Arr. Gerald Wirth


Josef Strauss was the younger brother of the waltz king. He did not see himself as a musician: Josef was an engineer, and quite happy in his profession. He invented a street cleaning machine for the Viennese magistrate. In 1853, his brother Johann suffered a nervous breakdown, and the entire family begged Josef to step in for his brother: the family depended on the concerts for their livelihood. Josef, who hated being the centre of attention, finally gave in and conducted the Strauss Kapelle whenever his brother was unable to do so.


For Ever! was written for a charity ball in February 1866.  Strauss had plans to travel to England, which might account for the English title, but the trip never came about. The little known, jolly polka was arranged for the Vienna Boys' Choir in 2012 and given English lyrics. It was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2018 on the choir's eponymous album.



Round and round and -

I’m a hamster in a wheel,in a wheel, in a wheel,

Exercising my free will, my free will, my free will,

Keeping on an even keel, even keel, even keel,

I will do what I will do, oh, whát I dó I wíll.


Hamster feet forever turning

Hamster ears forever burning

Hamster mind forever churning

I can count to four!


Hamster paws for pause are yearning

Anyone could do with learning

Anyone forever keeping score.



- and round and -

Hamster wheel forever turning

Hamster ears forever burning

Hamster mind forever churning

I am really sore.


Hamster paws for pause are yearning

Anyone could do with learning

But the hamster’s never learning more.


- and round and -

I’m a hamster in a wheel, in a wheel, in a wheel,

Keeping to an unseen drill, unseen drill, unseen drill,

Leaping without any fail, any fail, any fail.

Chasing my own hamster tail.



This is delightful, you are insightful,

Can you please inform me of the meaning of my life’s endeavour?


Happy go lucky, seemingly plucky,

I am feeling caught forever in my hamster reel.


This is delightful, you are insightful,

Don’t you find the hamster kind are chivalrous and mighty clever?


Hamsters are jolly, given to folly

I am feeling drawn to climb the hamster wheel again


Round and round, and on the wheel forever

Drifting, shifting, floating like a feather,

Spinning, gliding, whirling out of pleasure,

This delights the simple hamster soul.


And round and round, and on the wheel forever

Drifting, shifting, floating like a feather,

Spinning, gliding, whirling out of pleasure,

As I claim the final hamster goal.


Round and round and -

I’m a hamster in a wheel, in a wheel, in a wheel,

Exercising my free will, my free will, my free will,

Keeping on an even keel, even keel, even keel,

I will do what I will do, oh, whát I dó I wíll.


Hamster feet forever turning

Hamster ears forever burning

Hamster mind forever churning

Going at full tilt!


Hamster paws for pause are yearning

Anyone could do with learning

Do you feel the slightest hint of guilt?


- and round and -

Hamster wheel forever turning

Hamster ears forever burning

Hamster mind forever churning

What has life in store?


Hamster paws for pause are yearning

Anyone could do with learning

Everything remains much as before.


- and round and -

I’m a hamster in a wheel,in a wheel, in a wheel,

Exercising my free will, my free will, my free will,

Keeping on an even keel, even keel, even keel,

I will do what I will do, oh, whát I dó I wíll.




Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899)

Kaiserwalzer (Emperor Waltz), opus 437 (1889)

Arr. Gerald Wirth                                                                                   


Johann Strauss was the second Strauss with the first name Johann, but he is undoubtedly the most famous. At least four members of the family were active as composers: his father Johann (1804-1849), Johann himself and his brothers Joseph (1827-1870) and Eduard (1835-1916). When Johann was ten years old, his father became Hofball-Musikdirektor (Music Director at the Court Balls). A high honour, but father Strauß did not want his sons to become musicians (a rather suspect profession) and enrolled his son in a trade academy. Johann (aided and abetted by his mother) had music lessons behind his father’s back. At nineteen, he founded his own very successful orchestra. Much of his work is influenced by gypsy music and Jewish Klezmer music. There is an inherent ambiguity in it: Strauss, who made the entire city of Vienna dance, was a nervous, ill-tempered and lonely man, and he could not dance.


Strauss composed Kaiserwalzer for the inauguration of a new concert hall - “Königsbau” - in Berlin in 1889. The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph had visited the German Emperor Wilhelm II that year, toasting him with the phrase “hand in hand”, and Strauss had originally intended to use the quote as title. His publisher Fritz Simrock suggested the catchier title “Kaiserwalzer”. It sounded far more imperial, and had the added advantage that it could be taken to refer to either monarch. Kaiserwalzer was first performed in Berlin on 21 October 1889, with Strauss himself conducting.


Right from the beginning, the majestic waltz proved extremely popular with audiences everywhere: It is one of Strauss best known pieces. There are three feature films that make extensive use of the music; they even use its name as their title. Among them is a 1948 film by Billy Wilder starring Bing Crosby.


The Vienna Boys Choir has been singing this particular waltz since the 1920s. In 1953, they recorded it for the soundtrack of Franz Antel’s movie by the same name. In the film, it is sung before Empress Elisabeth (“Sisi”).



Wenn Wien erwacht in Frühlingspracht

Im Wienerwald Vogelsang hallt,

dann sei bereit, liebe Maid,

denn s’ist jetzt holde Frühlingszeit.


Burschen, Mädel, alt und jung vereint,

freu’n sich alle, Sonne wieder scheint.

Liebe, Küsse, holde Seligkeit,

denn so liebt der Wiener Frühlingszeit.


Klingen Walzer von ferne

Die er tanzt, ach so gerne

Nimmt er’s Mädel gleich fest unter’n Arm

Das macht den beiden warm.


Und mit leichten Schritten

Fast mit Elfeleins Tritten

Dreh’n sich beide im Tanz.


Von dieser Melodei

Wird man ganz verrückt

Eins, zwei, drei, tralalei,

singt das Herz dabei.


Seht, das ist unser Wien

Dort geboren ich bin,

Vater, Mutter sind dort,

s’ist ein himmlischer Ort.


Stephansdom und der Ring,

Preislied darauf nun erkling,

o Wien, Perle von Schönheit,

bleib so in Ewigkeit.



When Vienna awakes in glorious spring

you hear birdsong in the Vienna woods,

be ready, dear girl,

because it is springtime.


Boys, girls, old and young together,

everyone is pleased, the sun is shining again.

Love, kisses, utter bliss,

this is how the Viennese love spring.


Waltzes sound from afar,

he likes to dance, so very much,

he wraps his arm around the girl,

and both feel warm.


With light steps,

almost like little elves,

both start to pivot, dancing.


This melody

gets in your blood,

one, two, three, tra la la,

your heart sings along.


See, that is the Vienna we love,

I was born there,

my father and mother are there,

it is a heavenly place.


St. Stephen's cathedral and the Ring Road,

we shall sing their praises,

Vienna, you exquisite beauty,

may you remain as you are forever.


Josef Strauss (1827 - 1870)

Matrosenpolka (Sailor's polka), Fast polka, opus 52

Text: Tina Breckwoldt; Arr. Gerald Wirth


The text for “Matrosenpolka” was written for the Vienna Boys Choir; it is a fragmentary radio call from a square rigger named “Delfin” (dolphin). The expression “pan-pan” begins an urgent call, which tells anyone listening there may be a problem aboard a ship; “da” and “dit” represent short and long tones in Morse code.



Pan, pan, ein Funkspruch
Auszug aus dem Logbuch
vom Gespräch nur Fetzen,
da - Segel setzen
da - Nebelschwaden
dit - Maschinenschaden
Eine neue Mannschaft segelt diesmal die Delfin

daher wäre wichtig,
man verstünde richtig:
pan - sei versandet
und sie sind gestrandet
da - auf der Brücke
dit - mit Mut zur Lücke
pan, um Haaresbreite schrammen sie am Kai vorbei.

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, zieht fest an.

Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.

Segel voller Löcher

dit - an Deck die Brecher

da - Schoten fieren,
Pan - reparieren,

Wund an den Händen:

wie soll das nur enden?

Das vermaledeite Tauwerk will nicht, wie ich will.

Das Schiff zieht schnell, da kommt ein Wind,

Drängt jäh heran, türmt sich auf zum Sturm.


Nunmehr muss man Schotten dichten,

neben allen andern Pflichten

klappt man auch die Luken zu.


Die Matrosen müssen laufen,
und aus einem wilden Haufen
wird auf einmal eine Crew.

Pan, pan, ein Funkspruch

Auszug aus dem Logbuch

vom Gespräch nur Fetzen,

da - Segel setzen

da – Nebelschwaden

dit – Maschinenschaden

Was ist denn nur los an Bord der Viermastbark "Delfin"?

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, zieht fest an.

Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.

Pan, wir fahren wieder

singen Seemannslieder

Mit geflickten Segeln

gelten neue Regeln

da, es kommt Wind auf,

dit, wir nehmen Fahrt auf

Und wir segeln schnurstracks auf den sichern Hafen zu.

In Sicherheit, in Sicherheit, ist die ganze Crew.



Pan, pan, a radio call,

taken from the ship's log,

merely snippets of speech,

da – hoist sails,

da – dense fog

dit – engine trouble

New seamen are sailing the ship “Delfin”.


It would therefore be important

to understand correctly:

pan – something is sandlogged

and they are stranded

da – on the bridge

dit – not afraid of narrow straits

pan – they manage only just to scrape past the quai.

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, pull on the ropes.

Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.


Sails riddled with holes

dit – waves crashing on deck

da – slacken the sheet ropes

pan – necessary repairs

how will this end?

The godawful hawsers keep getting tangled up.


The ship flies fast, wind springs up,

a sudden gust turns into storm.

Now we have to batten hatches

besides all other duties

we must close the port holes.

The sailors have to hurry,

and a crazy mob

turns suddenly into a proper crew.

Pan, pan, a radio call,

part of the ship's log,

merely snippets,

da – hoist sails,

da – dense fog

dit – engine trouble

What is going on aboard the square rigger “Delfin”?


Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, pull on the ropes.

Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.


Pan – we are sailing,

singing shanties

with freshly patched sails

new rules apply

da – wind springs up,

dit – we are gaining speed,

making straight for safe harbour.

Safe, the entire crew is safe.




Johann Strauss II

Banditengalopp (Bandit's Galop), opus 378

Text: Tina Breckwoldt; Arr. Gerald Wirth





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