Ikh ken es nit farshteyn 02:00

Liner Notes

Ikh ken es nit farshteyn (I Can’t Understand), a setting of a poem by Yehoash [Solomon Bloomgarten] (1872–1927), is, on its surface, a childlike expression of the elusive meaning of the sounds of nature and their inexplicable significance: a bird twittering, a brook babbling, and a cornfield whistling and swishing. It exudes innocence and simple wonderment, but on a deeper plane it implies the “unanswered question” about meaning in general—and perhaps the meaning, if any, of existence.

By: Neil W. Levin



Poem: Yehoyash [Solomon Baumgarten]
Sung in Yiddish

A bird comes to my window,
And knocks twice.
Little birdie, you pretty birdie,
What can I do for you?
Tvits, tvits, tvits,
And not a word of meaning.
Tvits, tvits, tvits,
I can't understand it.

I come upon a brook,
I hear its scream.
Dear water, tell me what
Your scream signifies:
Plyu, plyu, plyu,
And not a word of meaning.
Plyu, plyu, plyu,
I can't understand it.

The whole field whispers
When I pass by.
Dear cornstalks, tell what is
You're whispering about:
Shyu, shyu, shyu,
And not a word of meaning.
Shyu, shyu, shyu,
I can't understand it.


Sung in Yiddish

kumt a foygl tsu mayn shoyb,
klapt zi tsvey mol on,
foygl kleyn, du foygl sheyn,
vos ken ikh dir ton.
tvits, tvits, tvits,
un keyn vort nit meyn.
tvits, tvits, tvits,
kh'ken es nit farshteyn.

kum ikh tsu a vaserl,
her ikh vi es shrayt,
vaser fiber, zag mir vos
dayn geshray batayt
plyu, plyu, plyu
un keyn vorl nit meyn
plyu, plyu, plyu,
kh'ken es nit farshteyn.

shushket zikh dos gantse feld,
ven ikh gey farbay,
zangen libe zogt vos iz
ayer shushkeray
shyu, shyu, shyu
un keyn vort nit meyn.
shyu, shyu, shyu,
kh'ken es nit farshteyn.



Composer: Solomon Golub

Length: 02:00
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Ida Rae Cahana, Soprano;  John Musto, Piano

Date Recorded: 12/01/2001
Venue: Lefrak Concert Hall/Colden Center for the Arts (D), Flushing, New York
Engineer: Lazarus, Tom
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

Translation: Eliyahu Mishulovin


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