Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Girl I Left Behind Me

Music just defines a time and then again can be just as relevant today especially piano music. It seems the piano came of age during the Classical Period.

Right now, 30 pianos are installed along the streets in London available for any and all players in a kind of performance art of the people.

Look at this You-Tube of a small boy playing one of them! And this cannot be beat by the Katzenjammer Duo playing American Scott Joplin's Mapleleaf Rag on 24 of them in 8 hours.

But I bring this up because the piano came to the US with a German immigrant in 1770 and so the first flood of songs produced here were about the American Revolution. The tunes were primarily British, but they came with immigrants from wherever they originated. One I love is The Girl I Left Behind Me. RG and I created an arrangement, well, I just found a bass line on my guitar and he did all the ruffles and flourishes. He did however get Richard Beard to play my lines and they put it on a CD, Celtic Cottage.

It seems appropriate today to play. It is cheerful and encouraging in tone and difficult in the words. Appropriate for soldiers. Click on link to hear a midi version from of the tune, (thanks to

The Girl I Left Behind Me.

The hours sad I left a maid
A lingering farewell taking
Whose sighs and tears my steps delayed
I thought her heart was breaking

In hurried words her name I blest
I breathed the vows that bind me
And to my heart in anguish pressed
The girl I left behind me

Then to the east we bore away
To win a name in story
And there where dawns the sun of day
There dawned our sun of glory

The place in my sight
When in the host assigned me
I shared the glory of that fight
Sweet girl I left behind me

Though many a name our banner bore
Of former deeds of daring
But they were of the day of yore
In which we had no sharing

But now our laurels freshly won
With the old one shall entwine me
Singing worthy of our size each son
Sweet girl I left behind me

The hope of final victory
Within my bosom burning
Is mingling with sweet thoughts of thee
And of my fond returning

But should I n'eer return again
Still with thy love i'll bind me
Dishonors breath shall never stain
The name I leave behind me

He really loved you... and us too... and them. Sigh.

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