Sunday, 31 July 2011

Koskaan et muuttua saa

A pleasant musical find: above, Koskaan et muuttua saa (You will never change) as performed by the excellent Finnish musician Maria Kalaniemi. It's an inspired and reflective adaptation (I assume, from the venue, intended to have religious interpretation) of a pop song generally given rather slight arrangement, as in this version by Lakeuden Kuu.  The first verse gives the flavour:

Vaihtuvat päivät
pois leikit nuo jäivät
mut koskaan et muuttua saa
vuodet niin kulkee
ne paljon pois sulkee
mut koskaan et muuttua saa

The days are changing
those childhood plays are gone already
but you may never ever change
the years may go pass
they take a lot away from us
but you may never ever change
- translation kindly done by Cantilena91 at Yahoo! Answers (see here for all five verses).

The attribution is a little complicated. The Finnpicks blog, which focuses on Finnish pop music covers, traces the vocal version to a 1969 hit by Pasi Kaunisto, but the tune comes from an earlier instrumental composition, Adagio Cardinal. A news item in Billboard for 30 Nov 1968 says this was originally a guitar piece by a Spanish composer, Michael Vacquez ...

Barclay, which released the first compatible EP classical recording in France, with 10-string guitarist Michel Dintrich playing the "Canon of Pachelbel," has followed up with a new Dintrich compatible EP and a cassette featuring featuring the "Adagio Cardinal" by the Spanish composer Michael Vacquez.

This first recorded performance of the work, made in the Eglise du Liban in Paris, will be distributed by Barclay throughout the world. The cassette version contains an introduction to the work by Ivan Pastor, director of Barclay's classic label, and Dintrich. The cassette has one blank track upon which guitar enthusiasts are invited to record their own version of the "Adagio Cardinal".

... but the Catalog of Copyright Entries 3D Series Vol 23 Pt 5 Secs 1-2 (1969) (page 4) gives multiple authorship for a piano version. I'm not quite clear if it's saying that Michael Vacquez is a pseudonym of Hubert Ballay, or vice versa:

ADAGIO CARDINAL; (Ah! Qu'il est doux)
paroles de Hubert Ballay, musique de
Guy Boyer & Michael Vacquez, pseud,
of Hubert Ballay. Piano & chant.
[France] 2 p. © Ste des Nouvelles
Editions Eddie Barclay & Productions
EFO-1I5958 Musicales Baboo; 31Dec68;

See Adagio Cardinal - Koskaan et muuttua saa for an appreciation and MP3s of several versions. There are also a number of instrumental versions on YouTube. They tend toward the cheesy and Mantovani-esque; the totally different Maria Kalaniemi accordion version is by far the best I've encountered.

Addendum: Something was naggingly familiar about Adagio Cardinal, and it just surfaced. It has a close similarity to the intro section of Feed the Birds (above), written by the Sherman brothers for the 1964 musical film Mary Poppins.

- Ray

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