Warszawo, moja Warszawo Program Notes, Text & Translation

Feb 12, 2021

Notes on the music by Jonathan Miller

Zygmunt Karasiński and Szymon Kataszek (music), Andrjez Włast (lyrics)
arr. J. Miller: Warszawo, moja Warszawo (tango)

The two Jewish musical forms to survive the Holocaust are klezmer (instrumental music for weddings and
dances, usually with clarinet and other lively instruments) and kabaret (popular songs from the 1930s,
torch songs and tangos and the like). Mikołaj Gliński gives us some more background as he writes for the
website Culture.PL:

The story of Polish pre-war [pre-WWII] entertainment music is a soundtrack made up of songs
written and composed by authors of Jewish descent. Poets like Julian Tuwim, Marian Hemar,
Andrzej Włast, Jerzy Jurandot, Ludwik Starski, … along with composers like Henryk Wars, Artur
Gold, Jerzy Petersburski and Zygmunt Białostocki, stand behind the vast majority of the pre-war
music hit chart titles.

Sounds just like Tin Pan Alley and the American Songbook, doesn’t it? The 1930s were a superbly creative
time for Jewish writers on both sides on the Atlantic. The writer continues:

They all belonged to a generation of acculturated Polish Jews, with virtually no ties to traditional
Jewish culture and little connection to modern Yiddish culture. To a large extent this group of artists
invented popular culture in Poland, and the songs they wrote became classics known today by every
Pole.

Many Polish music-lovers are unaware that the songs they love, and which they grew up singing, are by
Jewish songwriters; of course, Americans may not be aware that “God Bless America” and even “White
Christmas” were written by Jewish people!

Here we have a terrific example of a Polish-Jewish tango, made famous by the heartthrob singer Adam
Aston in 1932. Warszawo, moja Warszawo is a love song to the capital city. The lyrics are sweet and clear.
Jonathan Miller’s new edition for choir is based on that 1932 recording.

Text & Translation

Warszawo, cudna Warszawo
Ty jesteś miastem rodzinnem mem
Warszawo, moja Warszawo
Poprzez miejski bruk
Słyszę serca twego stuk


Warszawo, piękna Warszawo
Jestem przy tobie nocą i dniem
Nie znajdę lepszej, chociaż szukałbym nie wiem, gdzie
Ach, bo Warszawo, ja kocham cię


Warszawo, piękna Warszawo
Jestem przy tobie nocą i dniem
Nie znajdę lepszej, chociaż szukałbym nie wiem, gdzie
Ach, bo Warszawo, ja kocham cię
Warsaw, marvellous Warsaw
You are my hometown
Warsaw, my Warsaw
Through the pavement of the city
I can hear your heartbeat


Warsaw, beautiful Warsaw
I am by your side night and day
I will not find a better city, even if I search everywhere
Ah, 'cause I love you, Warsaw


Warsaw, my beautiful Warsaw
I am by your side night and day
I will not find a better city, even if I search everywhere
Ah, 'cause I love you, Warsaw

-Translation from lyricstranslate.com

1 Comment

On February 16, 2021,
MARCIA HAMILTON said:

This is such a cool song and such a wonderful “design” for the recording.  I love the arrangement.  As usual, it is charmingly and beautifully rendered by Chicago a cappella.

Post a Comment