Since this is WACcon’s last event and since they are trying to go out in style; I decided to try and come up with an Old Fart’s alternative to a Roast featuring an Elvis impersonator! I don’t think you can get much different from Elvis than the music of J. S. Bach, if I do say so myself. The piece I picked is “Schafe konnen sicher weiden,” known in English as “Sheep May Safely Graze.” I chose it because the tune is universally known and loved, and relatively easy to hum along to even if you can’t sing. Long before there was “Hound Dog” there was “Sheep Safely Grazing.”
The sheet music can be found online at:
You can find some background information on Bach’s work at:
Below are the original German words, and an English translation.
Many, many recordings of this are on YouTube. Alas, I couldn’t find the one I wanted by the Japanese soprano and Bach/Schubert expert Tomoko Yamamoto, but these are all good. The next to last one, by Flagstad was recorded when she was 63. Ip is a Hong Kong Chinese and notice how much faster the tempo here is. She knocks more than a minute off the length of the piece. Asians tend to play classical music faster than Westerners. I’m not sure why, but her diction is superb.
Using the English text it wasn’t difficult to come up with a “Diplomacy friendly” version which follows, along with a German and French translation of the English text…
How these revised words will meld with Bach’s tune remains to be heard; which brings me to the next point. How to get this performed at WACcon? Originally I was going to attempt to persuade some of the attendees at the Roast to try singing it, but I gave up on that idea. Instead I’m proposing moving this world premier (and probably last time ever) performance to that deadly dull period that happens at cons during the interval between when the playing stops and the winners are announced. That will give the “volunteer” singers a chance to practice, I hope, for a few minutes.
Ah, what volunteer singers you are wondering? And I can see the beads of sweat forming on some of your brows already. Well, you’re getting this because I either know or suspect you can sing or you know one of the languages (English, German, or French) I’d like to use. Hopefully during the event we can recruit a few other volunteers, especially among our foreign guests. I remember the French Diplomacy players at WDC II when, after winning the championship, they spontaneously climbed up on the stage and sang a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise as the English players looked on in horror! It was a truly memorable moment, and I’m sure WACcon can come up with something just as good.
So: Bernard, Yann, Goff, and Nathan: it’s up to you guys to help me recruit some singers!
And unless you’re into a cappella vocals it might be nice to have CD of Bach’s music and a CD player to use. Nathan, can you find those, or find somebody on site who can? If nothing else that will help disguise our less than heavenly voices. I just went through my collection and I don’t have a LP or CD recording of this.
Any questions, other than the obvious one, “Has he gone mad?”
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