Monday, 13 December 2010

The vampire at the spring, and beneath the Apple Tree - წინწყარო

Nosferatu: The Vampyre/Phantom Der Nacht (2 Disc Set)Apropos nothing, except the burning need to share this. Here is cinema and music combined in the most haunting of ways.

The film is Werner Herzog's 1979 Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht, itself a remake of FW Murnau's silent classic Nosferatu, Ein Symphonie des Grauens.

The music is a Georgian Folksong, spelled variously Tsintskaro/Tsintsqaro/Zinzkaro/Winwyaro, which means "at the spring", and it is performed by the Georgian vocal ensemble Gordela.

The lyrics translate as:

I was passing by the spring.
There I met a beautiful woman with a jug on her shoulder.
I spoke a word to her and she left, offended.
I was passing by the spring.

The juxtaposition of this scene, in which Isabelle Adjani walks in disbelief through a town square where plague-infected locals engage in final, silent, danse macabre to the accompaniment of this extraordinary music is one of the most haunting scenes in all of motion picture history.

Hamlet GonashviliThe music is hard to track down, but with the internet it's possible: Hamlet Gonashvili, until his death one of the most influential teacher and performer of traditional Georgian music, has a recording which is now available on Amazon.

Wikipedia records that Gonashvili died in 1985, at the height of his fame, as the result of a fall from an apple tree, which somehow fits with the song, and indeed Herzog's scene, with its implications of the fall of man and a loss of innocence!

Here is a link to a poorly copied rendition of the scene on YouTube.
The original Nosferatu is public domain, and you can watch the whole thing on Youtube if you like (but do yourself a favour, and get a DVD).

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