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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Greensleeves

Ever since I first heard it, I’ve loved the song Greensleeves. I love the simple and beautiful melody, and the lyrics of unanswered love. It’s widely believed that this English folksong was composed by Henry VIII for the one girl who simply wouldn’t be his mistress, Anne Boleyn. That is, before he became obsessed with divorcing his queen consort, marrying Anne and subsequently having her head chopped off, of course. However, it seems unlikely that he had the time to compose songs and write lyrics, what with all the wiving, seducing and beheading he was doing. In fact, it’s more likely that it was written after his death. Some say Lady Green Sleeves was a prostitute, others say she was immortal. Whoever she was, she clearly had a thing for green dresses, and inspired someone to write a beautiful piece of music.

In more recent times the song has been covered by many talented artists, and some of you might even know it as a Christmas carol. However, the most notable version is perhaps Leonard Cohen’s Leaving Green Sleeves. His lyrics are harsher, colder, and just as lovely. If you have the time, it’s worth a listen.

Now, you won’t hear me sing the song, but I will play it for you.


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29 comments:

  1. Ziva, that was absolutely beautiful!!!! Thank you for playing that for us.

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  2. You're very welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  3. It makes me want to kick my son off the stool during his next piano lesson and take his place!

    Kidding...I'd just push him (-:

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  4. Ha! I'm sure a firm shove would do the trick. And then you could show him how it's supposed to be done. ;)

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  5. You know, I've never actually heard the lyrics to Greensleeves. Now I'm going to have to go look those up.

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  6. I definitely recommend you do, they lyrics are not exactly what you'd expect.

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  7. Wow! Beautiful. I could listen to it all day.

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  8. What a beautiful rendition! I forgot there were lyrics to the song but I can now imagine a minstrel playing it which, in turn, reminded me of the minstrels in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
    ;-)

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  9. I can't listen at work, so I'll listen when I get home.

    Then I'm going to have Nicky make a video of me butchering it on my violin.

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  10. Wow! HOLY CRAP! That was utterly beautiful.

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  11. Ok, I listened! And Z, your interpretation is awesome. I don't think I'm going to post a video of myself trying to play Greensleeves anymore. Now I want to try a duet :)

    What key are you playing in?

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  12. I love the minstrels in Monty Python! "Brave Sir Robin ran away... bravely ran away away... Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out." Now I want my own minstrels following me around, narrating my life with a song.

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  13. Thank you, Meleah, I'm so happy you liked it. It took me a couple tries to get a version worth posting. ;)

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  14. Yes! A duet would be awesome! The only catch is about a million kilometers between here and there. Of course, you could use my file and add your playing to it, that could work. ;) Although, I'm totally rushing in this version, I simply didn't have the patience to keep it slow and steady. I could probably benefit from a metronome..

    I'm playing from sheet music by David Nevue, it's in G minor. (Some versions leave the E's natural as opposed to flat, but I don't really like the dorian scale, so I just stick to Nevue's notes.)

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  15. Lemmikki, you are one talented lady. I'm guessing the third arm offers you an advantage. Seriously, very lovely.

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  16. What a delightful treat to soothe my soul after a long day at work! Thanks for sharing that, Ziva!

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  17. That was SO beautiful, Ziva! I'm truly impressed! BRAVO!

    P.S. I want minstrels to follow me around narrating my life too...where do you get some of those?

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  18. Ziva, this is exquisite! I've never loved it more than listening to you playing! Alex loved it too! You are a wonderful pianist! Just wonderful, Darling!

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  19. Oh you wouldn't believe how much the third arm helps, especially since I have freakishly small hands and have problems hitting two notes an octave apart. Also, the third arm makes it easier to drink and play at the same time.

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  20. I'm very glad you found it soothing. It's actually very relaxing it to play it, too, it's just such a lovely song.

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  21. Thanks Jacqui, I'm so glad you like it! I'm sure you could find some perfectly good minstrels on eBay.

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  22. Thank you, Linda, you are too kind! When you come visit me in Finland, I'll play it for you. Alex is welcome too. And Harry and Honey.

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  23. I'm thinking Hank had plenty of time to write songs. He wived and beheaded, but I doubt he had to do any seducing. I'm thinking he was a man you didn't say "no" to. Nor, come to think of it, cast him off discourteously, or at least not more than once.

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  24. I'm sure you're right, and that's probably why he was so surprised when Anne Boleyn actually did say no. Who'd ever heard of demanding a king to marry them before they gave him any nookie. Absurd!

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  25. Lady Green Sleeves must have been one hell of a good lay, that's all I can say. It's a beautiful, enduring song, played beautifully by you here.

    I like Cohen's version, too. Colder, as you say, but honest and filled with desperate longing.  

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  26. mikewjattoomanymorningsFebruary 11, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    I suddenly felt compelled to listen to Greensleeves tonight, and then I was reminded that you made a recording of it some nine months ago. And so here I am, enjoying the piano stylings of Ziva, the talented musical blogger. Lovely.  

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  27. You have a very good memory, Michael. I'm impressed.

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