Zog, zog, zog es mir 03:51

Liner Notes

Zog, zog, zog es mir (Tell Me, Say It to Me Already), with lyrics by Chaim Tauber, is from Herman Yablokoff and Yitzhak Freidman’s production of their own musical Goldele dem bekers (Goldele, the Baker’s Daughter), which starred Menashe Skulnik, Herman Yablokoff, and his wife, Bella Meisel, at the Second Avenue Theater in New York.

The action takes place in 1940. Some of the names are deliberately Americanized to conform to second-generation immigrant situations, and English words and lines are interspersed throughout. Pauline, the owner of a commercial New York bakery, has been on holiday in Honolulu desperately seeking a husband. She became attracted to a less Americanized Jewish immigrant, Itsik Goodman (presumably a widower), living there with his ailing seven-year-old daughter, Goldele, who cannot walk on her own. As a ruse to get him to New York, Pauline has offered him employment in her bakery and promised that she will find medical attention for Goldele there. Apparently oblivious to her scheme, he has agreed. Meanwhile, he meets Margaret, the bakery foreman’s daughter, who has also come to Honolulu, and they immediately fall in love. He remarks that her name reminds him of a famous Yiddish folksong, Margaritkelekh (Daisies), and he begins to sing the beginning of it, the words of which parallel their own meeting and mutual enchantment. That leads into Ilia Trilling’s own song, in which Margaret, becoming impatient, starts by mimicking Itsik’s singing of those folksong lyrics to a slightly varied but still recognizable tune, and then she launches into her plea: “Tell me, say those words already—why should you be afraid to tell me that you love me?”

The play was not memorable, but it contained at least fifteen songs, a few of which saved the production and even outlasted it. Zog, zog, zog es mir has endured to this day in the Yiddish theater song repertoire.

By: Neil W. Levin



Lyrics by Chaim Tauber

In the glade, by the stream, a young man walked.
He spied a maiden there.
She enchanted him and immediately captured his heart.
She was as beautiful as an angel.

She saw him there between the branches.
Her heart began to beat rapidly.
They were both shy, and just silently stared at one another—
until he beseeched her:

“Tell me, tell me, say it to me,
I want to hear from you already
those four beautiful little words [ikh hob dikh lib];
and answer me now.

“Tell me, say it to me right now,
oh, say it and revive me.
Please, why should it bother you.
Tell me already, ‘I love you.’
With you it’s a brilliant paradise;
without you, my life is dark.
And should we, heaven forbid, be parted,
it would tear my heart out.

“Oh, tell me, tell me, say it to me,
I want to hear from you now
those four beautiful little words [ikh hob dikh lib];
say it already, say, ‘I love you.’ ”

Lyrics by Chaim Tauber

in veldl baym taykhl iz a bokher gegangen.
hot er dort a meydl derzen.
zi hot im farkisheft, zayn harts bald gefangen.
vi a malakh geven iz zi sheyn.

derzen hot zi im dort tsvishn di tsvaygn
ir harts heybt on klapn on shier.
zey shemen zikh beyde, un kukn un shvaygn
biz er nemt zikh betn bay ir:

“zog, zog zog es mir,
ikh vil es hern shoyn fun dir.
di kleyne, sheyne verter fir;
un an entfer mir shneler gib.

“zog, zog zog es gikh,
oy zog, un zay mekhaye mikh.
nu zog, vos ken es arn dikh?
zog shoyn, zog, ‘ikh hob dikh lib.’
mit dir iz likhtik a gan-eydn,
on dir mayn lebn iz shvarts
un vet men undz, kholile, sheydn,
rayst men aroys mayn harts.

“oy, zog, zog zog es mir,
ikh vil es hern shoyn fun dir.
di kleyne, sheyne verter fir;
zog shoyn, zog, ‘ikh hob dikh lib.’ ”



Composer: Ilia Trilling

Length: 03:51
Genre: Yiddish Theater

Performers: Elli Jaffe, Conductor;  Nell Snaidas, Soprano;  Vienna Chamber Orchestra

Date Recorded: 05/01/2001
Venue: Sofiensaele, Vienna, Austria
Engineer: Hughes, Campbell
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

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


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