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Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch

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Elphaba
Broadway Legend
joined:1/12/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/12/04
Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch#1
Posted: 3/25/08 at 5:40pm
(your minutue for the day!)

Trinidad!
And the big Mississippi
and the town Honolulu
and the lake Titicaca,
the Popocatepetl is not in Canada,
rather in Mexico, Mexico, Mexico!
Canada, Málaga, Rimini, Brindisi
Canada, Málaga, Rimini, Brindisi
Yes, Tibet, Tibet, Tibet, Tibet,
Nagasaki! Yokohama!
Nagasaki! Yokohama!


Ratibor!
Und der Fluss Mississippi
und die Stadt Honolulu
und der See Titicaca;
Der Popocatepetl liegt nicht in Kanada,
sondern in Mexico, Mexico, Mexico.
Kanada, Malaga, Rimini, Brindisi,
Kanada, Malaga, Rimini, Brindisi.
Ja! Athen, Athen, Athen, Athen,
Nagasaki, Yokohama,
Nagasaki, Yokohama,


Damn I loved singing this years ago!

Toch was a prominent composer in 1920s Berlin, and singlehandedly invented the idiom of the "Spoken Chorus".

The piece was a sensation when it was first performed in June 1930 as the third movement of his suite Gesprochene Musik (Spoken Music), and remains Toch's most-performed work, although the composer himself dismissed it as an unimportant diversion.

It is written in strict fugal form, and consists of four voices, each enunciating various cities, countries and other geographical landmarks in true contrapuntal fashion. It ends with a climactic finale featuring a sustained trill on the "R" of the word "Ratibor!" ("Trinidad" in the English Language version), the first word of the subject. Voices enter in the order of: tenor, alto, soprano, bass.

Although written originally in German, it was later translated into English under the auspices of John Cage and Henry Cowell and received wide acclaim.
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
chris d
Broadway Star
joined:4/21/07
Broadway Star
joined:
4/21/07
re: Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch#2
Posted: 3/25/08 at 5:59pm
one of the coolest things ever written! I love it to death!!
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Elphaba
Broadway Legend
joined:1/12/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/12/04
re: Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch#2
Posted: 3/25/08 at 6:06pm
one of the best examples of how wondrous this piece can be
LOVE IT
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
Updated On: 3/25/08 at 06:06 PM
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Elphaba
Broadway Legend
joined:1/12/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/12/04
re: Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch#3
Posted: 3/25/08 at 6:15pm
and to show how badly it can be done....
Ugh
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
chris d
Broadway Star
joined:4/21/07
Broadway Star
joined:
4/21/07
re: Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch#4
Posted: 3/25/08 at 6:34pm
good thing there was no youtube when I was in middle school. XD
OKC Quilter
Swing
joined:3/27/08
Swing
joined:
3/27/08
re: Geographical Fugue, by Ernst Toch#5
Posted: 3/27/08 at 2:58pm
I was in the Palo Duro High School Los Cantantes Choir in high school in Amarillo, Texas, and we performed this piece many times the year we learned it. I'm not sure which year, but I graduated in 1973.
I was IMing with a quilting friend in Pennsylvania whose son is doing a semester of college in Italy and she mentioned he was going to be in Rimini this weekend. I told her I used to know a 'song' with that place-name in it, and then Googled "Canada Malaga Rimini Brindisi" and this website came up. And you posted the words just 2 days ago, so thanks! I had forgotten one line and it was really starting to bug me!

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