Friday, 27 September 2013

'Ich Gehör nur Mir' Song Comparison

Below I've embedded four different versions of a song from Elisabeth called Ich Gehör nur Mir ("I Belong to Me"). The song is basically about Elisabeth's fierce yearning for a life of independence and freedom. It's a gorgeous song and one of my favourites from Elisabeth. Mind you, I say that about practically all of the songs from Elisabeth : ) These four versions are performed by Maya Hakvoort, Pia Douwes and Annemieke Van Dam. They've all starred in Elisabeth and all of them are from Holland. A lot of German musical theatre stars seem to be Dutch actually! I'm also thinking of Willemijn Verkaik.

Three of these versions of Ich Gehör nur Mir are in German and one of them is an English translation of the song. I have two questions for my readers. Firstly, do you think the song sounds better in German or English? I think German! Secondly, which of these three women do you think sings the song better? I'll put my own opinions into this post but what do you think?

1. Maya Hakvoort. Maya is the actress who plays Elisabeth on the Vienna 2005 DVD so she was the first one I heard. I love her version! Of all of these three women I think she grasps the melancholy and yearning side of the song the best. Even if you can't speak a word of German you'll feel the passion and emotion that she's putting into this performance. 

2. Pia Douwes. Pia is the one who originated the role of Elisabeth back in 1992. This version is from a performance that she gave on German TV in 2005. I love both Pia Douwes and Maya Hakvoort's Elisabeths. In general I do prefer the tone of Pia's voice to Maya's but Maya puts more emotion into this particular song I think so I like her version more. I still really love Pia's version though. It is beautiful and her finish to the song is pretty amazing as she belts out that E5 and then hits the C6! Pia is a mezzo but she has a huge range. Here's her version of Tu Cosa Fai Stasera if anyone's interested.

3. Annemieke Van Dam. Annemieke is playing Elisabeth in the production that's currently in Vienna. I don't like Annemieke's Elisabeth as much as Pia and Maya's. Does she go off-key at times in this? I think so but I can't tell. I don't have a very good ear for music! Also, although she does go for the C6 at the end (and hits it) her note isn't as powerful as Pia's. Still she does have a lovely voice and I do enjoy this version.

4. Pia Douwes - I Belong to Me. This is the English translation of the song and this video has images from the 1950s Sissi films. Of course the Elisabeth musical is very different to those films but I do enjoy looking at the very impressive colour cinematography that's on display here. The English translation is pretty decent I think, it's easily the best that I've found and it helps that Pia Douwes is singing it. Having said that this version does leave out one of my favourite lines from the German version: "I want to go out on the ice and see for myself how long it will hold me".


Mizzie-Me said...

I like PIa Douwes' style of singing the most, but she smiles a bit too much considering what kind of a song she's singing... I think Annemieke Van Dam delivers very nicely the fact that Sissi was really very young – but of course she IS considerably younger than the other two women. As for the English or German question, I can't really say because I understood just one word from the German lyrics – the word "bird" sounds identical in Swedish :D But I know there are extremely few song translation in the world that can absolutely do justice to the original language.

Indigo Montoya said...

I LOVE Pia's voice and she has such an amazing range. There are some YouTube videos of her singing the title song from POTO where she hits the E6 at the end - and she's a mezzo!

That is true about Annemieke. As much as I love Maya's version of that song her voice is so rich and mature-sounding that it's very hard to buy her as a teenager.

I know barely any German apart from a few odd words that I still remember from school. I've been very unimpressed by most of the English translations of the Elisabeth songs though. They're too awkward and the lyrics don't flow as well. You'd think they would since the German and English languages are basically cousins! I do like this English translation of 'Ich Gehor Nur Mir' though. The German lyrics sound more natural to me but the flow of the English version is still pretty good and the lyrics aren't too different in terms of meaning.