On a Sad Sunday

“On a sad Sunday with a hundred white flowers,
I was waiting for you, my dear, with a church prayer,
That dream-chasing Sunday morning,
The chariot of my sadness returned without you.

Ever since then, Sundays are always sad,
tears are my drink, and sorrow is my bread…
Sad Sunday.

Last Sunday, my dear, please come along,
There will even be priest, coffin, catafalque, hearse-cloth.
Even then flowers will be awaiting you, flowers and coffin.
Under blossoming (flowering in Hungarian) trees my journey shall be the last.

My eyes will be open, so that I can see you one more time,
Do not be afraid of my eyes as I am blessing you even in my death…
Last Sunday.”

Translation of László Jávor’s lyrics

 
 

Bjork performs Gloomy Sunday at at memorial service for Alexander McQueen. Björk emerged from behind the heavy swagged cathedral curtains, resplendent in a fragile, winged silver and grey McQueen stage costume, the like of which St Paul’s has surely never seen before, even in half a millennium. It gave her the appearance of a butterfly who had got halfway through emerging from a chrysalis and then changed her mind.

 
 

Gloomy Sunday, also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song, is a song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress and published in 1933.The original lyrics were titled Vége a világnak (The world is ending) and were a set of lyrics about despair caused by war, and ending in a quiet prayer about the people’s sins. Poet László Jávor wrote his own lyrics to the song, titled Szomorú vasárnap (Sad Sunday), in which the protagonist wants to commit suicide following his lover’s death. The latter lyrics ended up becoming more popular while the former were essentially forgotten. The song was first recorded in Hungarian by Pál Kalmár in 1935.

The song was published as sheet music in late 1933, with lyrics by poet László Jávor, who was inspired by a recent break-up with his fiancée. According to most sources, Jávor rewrote the lyrics after the song’s first publication, although he is sometimes described as the original writer of its words. His lyrics contained no political sentiments, but rather were a lament for the death of a beloved and a pledge to meet with the lover again in the afterlife. This version of the song became the best known, and most later rewritings are based around the idea of lost love.

Gloomy Sunday was first recorded in English by Hal Kemp in 1936, with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis, and was recorded the same year by Paul Robeson, with lyrics by Desmond Carter. It became well-known throughout much of the English-speaking world after the release of a version by Billie Holiday in 1941. Lewis’s lyrics referred to suicide, and the record label described it as the Hungarian Suicide Song. There is a recurring urban legend which claims that many people committed suicide while listening to this song.

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Glamouflage at Glastonbury

On 2013 Mick Jagger called on the help of his long-term partner L’Wren Scott to create his glittering outfits for The Rolling Stones’ Glastonbury and Hyde Park performances. Ensembles include a big gorilla coat covered in hand-embroidered ostrich feathers, and a black jacket decorated with colourful butterfly motifs, a reference to the hundreds of cabbage white butterflies that were released at the band’s first Hyde Park concert in 1969 – in memory of guitarist Brian Jones who died two days before the show. For Glastonbury, the annual music festival in the Somerset countryside, which the Stones played for the first time in June, Scott and Jagger took a more pastoral turn.

 
 

Sketch for Mick Jagger by L’Wren Scott

 
 

Jagger performing in the oak-leaf-inspired jacket

 
 

“We started to think about the Glastonbury show and I said to her that [I wanted] something very English — an oak leaf. That’s where we started from in the Glastonbury show, nobody [in the audience] realized they were really oak leaves [on the jacket] — but I did,” said Jagger.

Even if Glastonbury’s crowd of thousands didn’t (or couldn’t) notice every detail on the jacket, the design meant a lot to Jagger. “Yes, it’s important. Most people just think it’s a bright green jacket, but if you look you can see. Glastonbury is an essentially English event,” he said.

Scott said she had originally wanted to do something around a leaf motif for Glastonbury. “So I did some tests of embroidery of leaves and I showed [Mick] a drawing with an embroidery or visual attached,” she said. “He loved the leaf idea, and I said it’s kind of like a ‘glamouflage.’

“We were joking about the glamouflage at Glastonbury, and he said ‘Well I want it to be oak leaf.’ So if you look at it closely you see the oak leaves — it’s quite cool,” said Scott of the sequin-embroidered jacket in emerald green, khaki and black. “It just felt very right for Glasto, to open the show with a very outdoorsy feel — and the crowd was incredible.”

An Elegy on the Death of Keats and Brian Jones

Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc. /ˌædɵˈneɪ.ɨs/, also spelled Adonaies, is a pastoral elegy written by Percy Bysshe Shelley for John Keats in 1821, and widely regarded as one of Shelley’s best and most well-known works. The poem, which is in 495 lines in 55 Spenserian stanzas, was composed in the spring of 1821 immediately after 11 April, when Shelley heard of Keats’ death (seven weeks earlier). The title of the poem is likely a merging of the Greek “Adonis”, the god of fertility, and the Hebrew “Adonai” (meaning “Lord”). Most critics suggest that Shelley used Virgil‘s tenth Eclogue, in praise of Cornelius Gallus, as a model.

 
 

Dressed in a gender-bending white poet’s robe, Jagger quoted Shelley in memory of bandmate Brian Jones at the Stones in the Park concert in 1969. Photo by Mike Randolph

 
 

Before an audience estimated at 250,000 to 300,000, Jagger read the following verses from Adonais:

 
 

“Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep
He hath awakened from the dream of life
‘Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings. — We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments. — Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!”