Sunday, 1 March 2015

"Im Märzen der Bauer..."

The beginning of spring in the month or March is a good opportunity to play the old folk song (Volkslied) from Moravia "Im Märzen der Bauer" ("In March the Farmer...").

This song describes the activities of farmers at the beginning of spring and then (in the final verse) throughout the year. It is most often played/sung with 3 verses, but there is also a version with an additional inserted after the first verse, as shown on the Lieder-website

1. Im Märzen der Bauer die Rößlein einspannt;
Er bringt seine Felder und Wiesen instand, 
Er ackert, er egget, er pflüget und sät
Und regt seine Hände gar früh und noch spät.

a. Den Rechen, den Spaten, den nimmt er zur Hand
und setzet die Wiesen in ebenen Stand. 
Auch pfropft er die Bäume mit edlerem Reis
Und spart weder Arbeit noch Mühe und Fleiß.

2. Die Knechte und Mägde und all sein Gesind,
Das regt und bewegt sich wie er so geschwind.
Sie singen manch munteres, fröhliches Lied
Und freu'n sich von Herzen, wenn alles schön blüht.

3. Und ist dann der Frühling und Sommer vorbei,
So füllet die Scheuer der Herbst wieder neu.
Und ist voll die Scheuer, voll Keller und Haus,
Dann gibt's auch im Winter manch fröhlichen Schmaus.

Here is a translation into English (which can be sung to this melody and which also rhymes) by my friend David Solomons, who has sung the German version of this song to am earlier version of my recording (from 2003), which is available on YouTube at

1. In March comes the farmer to harness his team. 
He makes his fields ready as well he may deem.
He ploughs and he harrows and sows all his seeds.
From dawn up to dusk then to labour he needs.

a. He takes up the rake and the spade in his hand
And levels the meadows he has on his land.
He also grafts new twigs onto his fine trees. 
It takes all his effort, his work doesn't cease.

2. The farmhands and maids and his workers all there.
Keep busy as he does his work for to share.
They sing lots of songs that are merry and bright
And when all is blooming it gives them delight.

3. Now when the spring season and summer are past.
The autumn will fill his great barn then at last.
And once barn and cellar and house are well filled.
There is jolly feasting when winter has chilled.

© David Solomons 2012.

This web site also provides the following interesting information about this song:

"Bauernlied" im "Liederbuch für die Deutschen in Österreich", 1. u. unveränderte 2. Aufl., Wien 1884. Der Herausgeber Josef Pommer fügte hinzu: "Ein von der deutschen Landbevölkerung der mährischen Sudeten häufig gesungenes und beliebtes Volkslied. Eingesandt (zwischen 1882 u. 1884)."

Looking at this time frame and the location, this is a song which very likely composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) heard in his youth, when he grew up in Iglau (Jihlava) at the border between Bohemia and Moravia. In my arrangement and the composition of the interludes between the verses I hinted at this connection by adding some "Mahlerian"-type harmonies and progressions.

I have created the first version of this arrangement in 2002/2001. Now I have reworked it and re-recorded it in Februaryh 2015. This new recording uses Garritan Personal Orchestra 4 (strings and a solo flute).

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