4 марта 2011

Netherland Suite

Leopold Godowsky


What could be more stirring than this Dutch "Song of Conquest"! It marches along with tremendous vigor like a great army moving to victory. There is a tragic note, a tenseness of emotion, but never a moment of weakness in this old marching song. Dating from the year 1616, it undoubtedly steeled brave hearts to seize the sword and go forth to battle with the Spaniards.

The words of the song set forth the following sentiments: Wherever one may go over the world's wide oceans, there the brave Dutchman sails the seas. A united and warlike people fought the Span-iards, finally conquering that haughty foe. The Netherlands must rely on God, remaining united and strong; then neither evil spirits, nor death, nor even the power of Spain can do so valiant a nation harm.


At night when all the other flowers are resting and slumbering in their beds, then I (the violet) appear and drink the dew. As I raise my head above the grass blades, I am as beautiful as the lily or the rose. Now comes a little thief to pick me, but I do not love him enough to go with him; it is better that I should remain and decorate this charming courtyard.


The words of this old Flemish song of


tell the story of this jolly gentleman's entire career. Through seventeen verses we journey with him, and his experiences are so quaint that they must amuse us.

Here follows the tale of Pierlala:

I will sing to you of Pierlala, a humorous fellow, a great adventurer, I will sing to you of his whole life and the strange things that happened to him.—His parents died leaving him a house and fortune, whereupon Pierlala said to the maiden who lived near the pond: "I have enough for two, say 'yes' and marry me." The maiden blushed—as maidens do—and answered "yes." But soon his money was spent by his young wife; there was nothing left for him to do but to become a soldier....

It was a dark night as Pierlala stood on watch with his loaded gun upon his shoulder, and out of the darkness he saw a moving shape. He cried out, trembling: "Who goes there?" In fear he climbed a tree, being much too afraid to remain on the ground. Finally he took courage and ran to a building near, where he was given soup and drink to revive him.

But there was something in this soup which made poor Pierlala very ill. He lay in his bed, sad and depressed; he called his friends and made his will. "I am dying," said poor Pierlala.—The drums beat before the church—thus ended Pierlala. His friends said that he would never return to life again and so went back to their homes.

It was half an hour after the funeral service.—Pierlala, very much alive indeed, peeped out of the door of the church; he hurried to his home and there he found his relatives quarreling over his will. Very angry indeed was Pierlala; with a broom he cleared his house of all his quarreling relatives, and then— lived with his wife happily ever after.

The high quality digital sheet music of  The Netherland Suite by Leopold Godowsky can be downloaded here:




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