Daisyfield Archive of Japanese Traditional Music
Back to the songs Puccini Dittrich
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Melody from Nagai and Obata
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Piano version by Rudolf Dittrich
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"Koito Utatote" is a lovely old folk song, originally for voice with shamisen accompaniment. Sado is an island off the west coast of Japan.
In his 1895 song collection, Rudolf Dittrich gives the following lyrics, in Japanese, German, and English.
Koi to yu ta to te, -
Yuka riyou ka Sado ye?!
Sado wa shi-ju-ku ri!
Nami no uye to ichi
Yonde ko ka?
Wenn du mich auch zu dir rufen würdest,-
Wie kann ich nach Sado gehen?!
Sado liegt 49 Meilen weit entfernt!
Was soll ich thun!?
Soll ich über die Wellen,
Oder soll ich dich hierherrufen?
Even if you should call me to you,
How can I get to Sado?
Sado lies 49 miles away!
What am I to do!?
Am I to cross the waves,
Or shall I call you hither?
We have two versions of "Koito-Utatote", both published originally in 1895. The melodies in the two versions are related, but somewhat different. Nagai and Obata's version contains a melody and Japanese words only, while Rudolf Dittrich's version is an arrangement for piano in Viennese style.
Since the song is about lovers who are separated by a body of water, one might hope that while writing his arrangement Rudolf Dittrich was thinking about his lost love, Kiku Mori, the Japanese woman with whom he had a child and whom he left behind in Japan in 1894. In fact, it is likely that Kiku Mori, a shamisen instructor, was the person who taught the song to Dittrich! However, Dittrich dedicates his arrangement of "Koito Utatote" to "Fräulein Albine Von Vest" (1860-1925), a Viennese lieder singer.
The first 7 eighth-notes in Dittrich's arrangement are an introduction. The song's melody begins at the "a tempo" in measure 2.
When looking at the sheet music for Dittrich's arrangement, note the extraordinary profusion of expression markings of all kinds. This is typical of all of Dittrich's arrangements. Obviously Dittrich wanted to completely specify every nuance of every note and phrase in the performance of his works. Perhaps this was necessitated by the fact that Dittrich was introducing Japanese melodies to Europeans who were totally unfamiliar with Oriental music, and who might therefore need a lot of guidance. But Dittrich's profligate use of expression markings may also disclose an aspect of his personality, namely, a compulsion to dominate and control others.
Dittrich, Rudolf, Nippon Gakufu, Second Series ("Ten Japanese Songs collected and arranged for the Pianoforte"), Breitkopf and Härtel, Leipzig, 1895.
Nagai, Iwai and Obata, Kenhachiro, Seiyo gakufu Nihon zokkyokushu, pub. Miki Shoten, Osaka, 1895 (in Japanese; the cover displays an English title, A Collection of Japanese Popular Music).
Clive, Peter, Schubert and His World, a Biographical Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1997 (310 pages). [See p. 125 for information on Albine von Vest.]