Monday, 29 May 2017

Joan of Arc, they are calling yiu !

Today marks the 586th anniversary of the death of Joanne of Arc, burned at the stake. This year also marks the centenary of the song Joan of Arc, They are Calling You, used in a Broadway musical. Presumably the show was patriotic, since the United States entered the First World War, on the side of the French, in April 1917.

The composer was Jack Wells, also known as John Barnes Wells (1880-1935), a tenor who appeared in music hall and on early recordings.  He was involved with the famous 1903 production of The Wizard of Oz, though in what capacity, I don't know. A composite recording is available on the market.  This Wizard of Oz is apparently a lot closer to the original L Frank Baum novel than the Hollywood movie with Judy Garland (one of my favourite films of all time).  As music, the song has references to the Marsellaise but sugared up. Too naive to be the fearless Marianne.  Listen to that refrain "Joan of Arc ! Joan of Arc! ". As if she were a boulevardier ! The words are by Alfred Bryan and Willie Weston. The text is such doggerel, it would be offensive if the reality had not been so serious.  But then, that sort of sentimentality was popular taste 100 years ago, and the intentions were sincere.. Please see my numerous other posts on Joan of Arc  (Braunfels, Honneger etc) by clicking on the label Joan of Arc below.

While you are sleeping
Your France is weeping
Wake from your dreams, Maid of France !
Her heart is bleeding, are you unheeding,
Come with the flame in your glance !
Through the gates of heaven, with your sword in hand,
Come your legions to command.

Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc,
Do your eyes, from the skies, see the foe?
Don't you see the drooping fleur-de-lis
Don't you hear the tears of Normandy?
Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc,
Let your spirit guide us through.
Come lead your France to victory;
Joan of Arc, they are calling you !

Alsace is sighing, Lorraine is crying,
Dear Mother France looks to you
Pozières(?)and Verdun, bearing the burden
Pray for your coming anew
Through the gates of heaven, dare they bar your way,
Those who pass through yesterday.

Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc........


Original Content: Joan of Arc, they are calling yiu !

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