Waves of the Danube

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"Waves of the Danube" (Romanian: Valurile Dunării; Serbian: Дунавски валови/Dunavski valovi; German: Donauwellen; French: Flots du Danube; Russian: Дунайские волны)[1] is a waltz composed by Ion Ivanovici in 1880, and is one of the most famous Romanian tunes in the world. The song has many variations throughout the piece, reminiscent of the music of Johann Strauss. Through the Viennese style variations, there is still a distinct Slavic style. In the United States, it is frequently referred to as "The Anniversary Song",[2] a title given by Al Jolson when he and Saul Chaplin released an adaptation of the song in 1946.[1]

Rise to prominence[edit]

"Waves of the Danube" was first published in Bucharest in 1880. It was dedicated to Emma Gebauer, the wife of music publisher Constantin Gebauer. Composer Émile Waldteufel made an orchestration of the piece in 1886, which was performed for the first time at the 1889 Paris Exposition, and took the audience by storm.[1] It won the march prize to mark the exhibition out of 116 entries.[2]

Ivanovici's "Danube Waves" was published in the United States in 1896 and republished in 1903 by the Theodore Lohr Company in an arrangement for piano by Simon Adler. The published version was called "Waves of the Danube." The composition is also known as "Danube Waves Waltz."

"In Praise of Death"[edit]

The melody of "Waves of the Danube" was used in what is regarded as Korea's first popular song, "In Praise of Death" by Yun Sim-deok recorded in 1926. The song was recorded in Osaka, where she met and fell in love with a Korean married man. The two boarded a steamship returning to Korea, but ended their lives by jumping into the sea.

"The Anniversary Song"[edit]

"Waves of the Danube" became known in the United States only half a century later. Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin published it in 1946 under the name of "The Anniversary Song" ("Oh, how we danced on the night we were wed") and as their own composition. The 1946 sheet music of the song credits the composers as Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin with music by Iosif Ivanovici. Jolson and Chaplin wrote the lyrics while Chaplin adapted Ivanovici's music.

Al Jolson released "The Anniversary Song" on Decca as catalog number 23714. It first reached the Billboard charts on February 7, 1947 and lasted 14 weeks on the chart, peaking at #2.[3]

Other recordings of The Anniversary Song[edit]

"Der Chasene Waltz"[edit]

An arrangement by Henry Lefkowitch with Yiddish lyrics by Chaim Tauber [uk] was published in 1947 as "Der Chasene Waltz" ("The Wedding Waltz"). However, the online catalog of the Florida Atlantic University Libraries contains a record that has 1941 as publication date for this song.[15]

In film[edit]

In 1931, film director Josef von Sternberg used the melody in his film Dishonored, in which Marlene Dietrich mimed several piano performances of it. The tune was next used, without being credited, in the 1934 American comedy film The Circus Clown.

Under the name of "The Anniversary Song" it was featured in Al Jolson's biographical Columbia film The Jolson Story in 1946 and the sequel Jolson Sings Again (1949), as well as in Blondie's Anniversary in 1947. Under the name "Waves of the Danube" the tune was used in Akira Kurosawa's 1949 film Stray Dog.

After World War II the tune was used in 1959 in a Romanian film by Liviu Ciulei dealing with the war, titled, after the song, Valurile Dunării. A cover by The New Vaudeville Band was used in 1968 as the title song for cult British Hammer horror The Anniversary starring Bette Davis. It has also appeared in the movies Mayerling in 1968, Falling in Love Again in 1980, When Father Was Away on Business in 1985, Avalon in 1990, Payback in 1999, Father and Daughter in 2000, and A Guy Thing in 2003.

This tune was also used by the famous Indian film maker Raj Kapoor in many of his movies, all the way from Barsaat to Dharm Karm.[16]

This song is also sang in the Japanese movie "Tree Without Leaves" (Rakuyoju, 1986).

On television[edit]

The song was sung with American lyrics by Donny Most (as character Ralph Malph) on the ABC sitcom Happy Days, in the 1976 episode titled "They Shoot Fonzies Don't They?"

In books[edit]

The song is sung by Alexander-Shura, the main character of the bestseller novel The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons (2001), the night of his wedding with Tatiana, in Lazarevo.

Fame in other countries[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Biography of Iosif Ivanovici at naxos.com
  2. ^ a b Iosef Ivanovici at johann-strauss.org.uk
  3. ^ a b c d e Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  4. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "45worlds.com". 45worlds.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "djangopedia.com". djangopedia.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  8. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  10. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  13. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "Timeless by Vov Dylan on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  15. ^ Music scores, accession nr. 2005.JPM.1127, Florida Atlantic University Libraries. Accessed on August 13, 2009.
  16. ^ "Raj Kapoor Tune". Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  17. ^ Lee, Young Mee (2006) The Beginnings of Korean Pop, in Korean Pop Music: Riding the Wave, edited by Keith Howard, England: Global Oriental, 2006, p.3.