Friday, November 15, 2013

La Musique Militaire de la Belle France


I've always been a student of history, more precisely military history.

One thing which always seems to be left out of historical study is the music of the period. Having the music to hand helps me to get a better feel for the times.

I learned that lesson from listening to my parents' Glenn Miller records, while reading about World War II. I loved that music and everyone who lived through those times remembered it well.



So without further ado, here are three songs from the days of the French Revolution and the First Empire. The first is the theme song of the blog, Le Chant du Départ, yes, The Song of Departure.

Le Chant du Départ


La victoire en chantant
Nous ouvre la barrière.
La Liberté guide nos pas.
Et du Nord au Midi
La trompette guerrière
A sonné l'heure des combats.
Tremblez ennemis de la France
Rois ivres de sang et d'orgueil.
Le Peuple souverain s'avance,
Tyrans descendez au cercueil.

La République nous appelle
Sachons vaincre ou sachons périr
Un Français doit vivre pour elle
Pour elle un Français doit mourir.
Un Français doit vivre pour elle
Pour elle un Français doit mourir.

Que le fer paternel arme la main des braves ;
Songez à nous au champ de Mars ;
Consacrez dans le sang des rois et des esclaves
Le fer béni par vos vieillards ;
Et, rapportant sous la chaumière
Des blessures et des vertus,
Venez fermer notre paupière
Quand les tyrans ne seront plus.

La République nous appelle
Sachons vaincre ou sachons périr
Un Français doit vivre pour elle
Pour elle un Français doit mourir.
Un Français doit vivre pour elle
Pour elle un Français doit mourir.

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Victory singing
Opens for us the gates
Liberty guides our steps
And from the North to the South
The war trumpet
Signals the hour of the fight
Tremble, enemies of France
Kings drunk on blood and pride
The sovereign People comes forth
Tyrants go down to your graves

The Republic is calling us
Let's know how to vanquish or let's know how to perish
A Frenchman must live for her
For her a Frenchman must die
A Frenchman must live for her
For her a Frenchman must die

May the fatherly iron arm, the hand of the braves
Think of us on the Field of Mars (battlefield)
Bless with the blood of the kings and of the slaves
the arms blessed by your elder
And bringing back home
wounds and virtues
come and close our lids
when tyrants are no more

The Republic is calling us
Let's know how to vanquish or let's know how to perish
A Frenchman must live for her
For her a Frenchman must die
A Frenchman must live for her
For her a Frenchman must die

Now this next tune is what I originally thought of naming the blog, Le Chant de l'Oignon, that is, The Onion Song. I just couldn't remember the title. You have no idea the number of recipes I had to wade through, before I remembered (far too late for the blog) what the title of the tune was in French. I think it's a rather catchy little song...
And I do so love onions fried in oil.


Le Chant de l'Oignon


J'aime l'oignon frit à l'huile, J'aime l'oignon quand il est bon. J'aime l'oignon frit à l'huile, J'aime l'oignon, j'aime l'oignon.
Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas, Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Un seul oignon frit à l'huile, Un seul oignon nous change en Lion, Un seul oignon frit à l'huile, Un seul oignon nous change en Lion.
Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas, Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, Non pas d'oignons à tous ces chiens, Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, Non pas d'oignons, non pas d'oignons
Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas, Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Aimons l'oignon frit à l'huile, Aimons l'oignon car il est bon, Aimons l'oignon frit à l'huile, Aimons l'oignon, aimons l'oignon
Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas, Au pas camarades, au pas camarades, Au pas, au pas, au pas.


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I like onions fried with oil, I like onions when they're good. I like onions fried with oil, I like onions, I like onions.
Let's charge comrades, let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge.

Only one onion fried with oil, one onion changes us into a lion. Only one onion fried with oil, one onion changes us into a lion.
Let's charge comrades, let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge.

But no onions for the Austrians, no onions for those dogs, but no onions for the Austrians, no onions, no onions.
Let's charge comrades, let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge.

We like onions fried with oil, we like onions because they're good, we like onions fried with oil, we like onions, we like onions.
Let's charge comrades, let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge comrades, Let's charge, Let's charge, Let's charge.

The Victory is Ours! One of my favorite pieces of French music from those days.


La Victoire est a Nous!


Now how could I not play the song of the Legion for you. That's right, the French Foreign Legion and their anthem, Le Boudin. I had no idea about those Belgians. Peut-être que je suis de Belgique? - or if you prefer - Misschien ben ik uit België? - or (for a very small piece of the country) - Vielleicht bin ich aus Belgien? For there are days I am a slacker, just ask Buck. Heh.


La Légion Etrangère - Le Boudin


Tiens, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin
Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.

Nous sommes des dégourdis,
Nous sommes des lascars
Des types pas ordinaires.
Nous avons souvent notre cafard,
Nous sommes des légionnaires.
Au Tonkin, la Légion immortelle
À Tuyen-Quang illustra notre drapeau,
Héros de Camerone et frères modèles
Dormez en paix dans vos tombeaux.

Nos anciens ont su mourir
Pour la gloire de la Légion.
Nous saurons bien tous périr
Suivant la tradition.
Au cours de nos campagnes lointaines,
Affrontant la fièvre et le feu,
Oublions avec nos peines,
La mort qui nous oublie si peu.
Nous la Légion.

Tiens, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin
Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.

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Here you are, some blood sausage, some blood sausage, some blood sausage
For the Alsatians, the Swiss, and the Lorrains,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
They're lazy shirkers.
For the Belgians, there's none left,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
They're lazy shirkers.

We are crafty.
We are rogues.
We are no ordinary guys.
We've often got our black moods,
For we are Legionnaires.
In Tonkin, the Immortal Legion
Honoured our flag at Tuyen Quang.
Heroes of Camarón and model brothers -
Sleep in peace in your tombs.

Our ancestors knew to die
For the glory of the Legion.
We will know to perish
According to tradition.
During our far-off campaigns,
Facing fever and fire,
Let us forget, along with our hardships,
Death, which forgets us so little.
(For) We (are), the Legion.

Here you are, some blood sausage, some blood sausage, some blood sausage
For the Alsatians, the Swiss, and the Lorrains,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
They're lazy shirkers.
For the Belgians, there's none left,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
They're lazy shirkers.

It's quite possible that I'll be inflicting more military music upon you in the future. There's a lot of it out there. For now, enjoy.

10 comments:

  1. Ain't YouTube GRAND? Who'd a thunk these obscure tunes (forgive me) would be there, just for the picking. I certainly would have never heard them were it not for you.

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    Replies
    1. Oh they're certainly obscure to most folks.

      I do really appreciate YouTube. Music, historical videos, you can even watch whole movies which are hard to find elsewhere (Waterloo springs to mind).

      I've always wanted to watch Barry Lyndon for the battle scenes particularly. Of course, YouTube has it (found it last night). Of course, that will have to wait, it's three hours long!

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  2. Bring it on! The earliest music I remember was from Victory at Sea and my folks had a version of the 1812 Overture featuring actual cannons. Finally managed to find a CD of the latter and use if for encouragement. My office mate knows that somebody's in for it, when that starts up.

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    Replies
    1. The soundtrack from Victory at Sea is magnificent.

      I don't think I'd listen to the 1812 Overture without real cannon fire. Not sure if I've ever heard it with smoothbore cannon though. I mean to be historically accurate and all. ;-)

      And one of the earliest uses of military music was to pump up the troops for the coming fight. Looks like you're continuing that tradition in fine fashion!

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    2. Supposedly this version was made using smooth bore cannons from West Point. Here's the link on Amazon. Also heard it played on the National Mall one Fourth of July. USMC Band with Long Tom's, somewhat coordinated with the fireworks. Got my heart going.

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    3. Hey Sarge, spent a bit of time repairing fences today to keep feral hogs off the property and remembered the tool that maintenance troops used to secure safety wire. Pair of pliers with a pull that spun the wire in a nice tight squeeze. Thought that would be a useful tool but dont remember what it was called. Do you?

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    4. Safety wire pliers. They have 'em on Amazon:
      here

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)