Vos geven iz geven un nito 03:57

Liner Notes

Vos geven iz geven un nito (What Was, Was, and Is No More) is one of the most beautiful nostalgia songs in the Yiddish theatrical repertoire. It was first published in 1926, with an English subtitle, “Memories of Days Gone By.” Not part of any play or larger theater piece, it was made famous initially by Nellie Casman, one of the leading stars of the Yiddish stage, and was subsequently sung by such luminaries as Sophie Tucker, Lillian Shaw, Aaron Lebedeff, and Seymour Rechtzeit. Ironically, Meyerowitz wrote it originally for a vaudeville star, Sam Klinetsky, who rejected it as too sentimental.

By: Neil W. Levin



Lyrics by David Meyerowitz

Permit me
to unburden my heart.
Whether I talk sense
or whether I speak from pain,
I suffer from a disease,
which is not called an illness.
They call it old age.
It gnaws and it yearns.

For what was, was, and is no more.
That year, that hour has already passed.
How quickly youthful joy flies away
and cannot be recaptured.
For what was, was, and is no more….
The faculties become weak,
the hair turns gray….
One can mend himself, hide under nice clothing,
make himself up;
but he fools no one but himself,
for what was, was, and is no more….

When I chance to pass by a school,
I weep tears,
and I think of yesteryear:
How the young little mind
Doesn’t understand its happiness,
and when one comes to his senses,
it is already too late.

Lyrics by David Meyerowitz

derloybt lozt zikh dinen,
oysredn mayn harts.
tsi red ikh fun zinen,
tsi red ikh fun shmerts,
ikh layd fun a krankayt,
vos heyst nit keyn krenk.
men ruft es on elter,—
es nog un es benkt.

vayl vos geven iz geven un nishto.
shoyn avek yene yor yene sho.
vi shnel farflit der yinger glik,
un men ken es nisht khapn mer tsurik.
vayl vos geven iz geven un nishto …
di kraftn vern shvakh,
di hor vert gro …
men neyt zikh, men kleydt zikh,
men makht zikh sheyn; men nart ober keynem
nor – zikh aleyn,
vayl vos geven iz geven un nishto …

ven ikh gey umgern a mol farbay a school,
gis ikh mit trern
un trakht fun a mol:
vi der yungitshke moyekhl
zayn glik nisht farshteyt,
un kumt men tsum seykhl
iz dan shoyn tsu shpet.



Composer: David Meyerowitz

Length: 03:57
Genre: Yiddish Theater

Performers: Elli Jaffe, Conductor;  Simon Spiro, Tenor;  Vienna Chamber Orchestra

Date Recorded: 10/01/2001
Venue: Baumgartner Casino (A), Vienna, Austria
Engineer: Hughes, Campbell
Assistant Engineer: Hamza, Andreas
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

Publisher: Music Sales Corp.
Arranger/Orchestrator: Jonathan Sacks
Yiddish Translations/Transliterations: Eliyahu Mishulovin & Adam J. Levitin
Arrangement © Milken Family Foundation


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