Tunes That Run In Your Head (II)

On a perfect work day I get in my workout without rushing, finish the first batch of clients before my stomach thinks my throat is cut, and get to fix real food (versus strange protein shakes) and eat it before sitting down with the classical station and a book. Today WETA served up this Liszt-Schubert confection.

It took me right back to the days of school orchestra, but also to the epigraph of John le Carre’s “Small Town in Germany,” which was, according to the author, sung to this tune in British messes, sometimes with obscene variants.

Way over there in a small town in Germany
There was a shoemaker, Schumann was his name.
Ich bin ein Musikant, ich bin fur das Vaterland,
I play the big bass drum, and this is how I play!

Six hours and two more clients later, I’m still singing it, and wondering, not just what the obscene variants were, but how fecking long it’s been since anyone in any military mess hall sung anything to a tune by Schubert. Sic transit gloria mundi.

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7 thoughts on “Tunes That Run In Your Head (II)

    • As the daughter of an Army Bandsman I can attest to the excellence of military musicians. But the words actually fit very well; the first line especially, like a glove.

  1. At various times I have considered a military career. Really.

    I thought I might try to transform it from within. But that’s a bit of grandiosity, isn’t it? And then, I am not always fully (and conventionally) fur das Vaterland.

    Infiltrate still seems like a good plan though.

    • “Pervert to convert” has always been my motto. A slow but rewarding process. I turned a guy who had once written a term paper lauding Joseph McCarthy into an Obama Republican. I’m not sure the military would budge as easily though..

  2. The best military bands I experienced were in Vienna – not Vienna, Illinois, Jenny, or Vienna, Ontario (if Paul ever reads this) but Vienna, Austria lol. I though didn’t listen to any US military band. I trust you Sled that they must be very good.

    • There are no recordings that I can handily upload from the era I remember but here is the kind of thing I was likely to hear being rehearsed on “take your daughter to work day” 🙂 Not the whole band here, but this gives you a feel for how good these guys are.

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