Serafina

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The network in which the Greek-speaking urban folk-popular song participates, constantly conversing with its co-tenants, is magnificent. Discography has already provided important tools in understanding the relationships developed with the Canzone Napoletana, the French chansons, the music of the Jewish ecumene and countless other sub-networks, which have interacted with Greek music since the era of the Ottoman Empire, forming a borderless and syncretic cultural framework. One of these fascinating networks concerns the Spanish world, which, through a variety of paths, met the Greek one. A key chapter in this influence was the unrepeatable international success achieved by a Spanish estudiantina in 1878 in Paris. Following its success, the band toured countless locations around the world. According to the sources, on February 28, 1886, the Spanish estudiantina gave a concert in Constantinople (Istanbul) and on April 26 and 29, 1886, in Athens (for the first Greek estudiantina, see Ordoulidis, 2021a: 88–100 and Ordoulidis, 2021b). The Spanish students mainstreamed the concept of semi-professional music groups, the bandurria, the mandolin, the guitar, the "tuna", i.e. the street serenade and the habanera, that came to be appropriated by the Greek musicians and to find its place even in the form of the manes (see for example the Smyrneiko minore, Gramophone 12574b). The network of the theater is a key environment for the circulation of music and the relationship between the two (music–theater) is more than dynamic. The appropriation by Greek musicians was twofold: on the one hand were the lyrics, which were now in Greek (from what the data show us so far, they had nothing to do with the original ones), and, on the other hand, the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms and in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapted what they heard to their own condition, based on their own capabilities. In 1894, when the play of the then most popular zarzuela "La Gran Vía" was played for the first time, a new path that led to the appearance of the Athenian revue opened. Spanish songs started being adapted into Greek since then. One such case is the song "Serafina".

This is a Greek adaptation of the Spanish song "Serafina" ("Canción de la Serafina") by composer Joaquín Valverde (Joaquín "Quinito" Valverde Sanjuán, Madrid 2/1/1875 – Mexico 4/11/1918). The song is found in two plays which both premiered in 1911: the first is an operetta entitled "La Rosa de Granada", which was first presented on March 12 at the Théâtre des Varietées in Brussels. The second is the musical comedy "
Gente menuda", written by Enrique García vlvarez and Carlos Arniches, which premiered at the Teatro Cómico in Madrid, on May 7.

Based on the sources (see for example 
here and here), the song "Serafina" gained an unprecedented popularity, something that was reflected from the very beginning in historical discography in various places (Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Poland). For example:

- "Serafina", Zonophone ah 1433 – 63785, Madrid, October 23, 1911
- "Serafina", Odeon 
xS 1533 – X 68616, Madrid, around 1912
- "Серафина", Zonophone 3602ae – X-2-63235, Vilnius, August 11, 1912
- "Serafina", Columbia 
41911 – E 1863, Milan, 1913
- "Серафина", Zonophone R 17563b – X 260993, Saint Petersburg, May 13, 1913
- "Одесситка", 
Extraphone 23580, Kiev

The three Russian recordings come with interesting information. As one can read on the label of the first recording by Zonophone,
the song comes from the operetta "Король веселится" by Rudolf Nelson. Nelson, born Lewysohn, was a German composer from a Jewish family in Prussia. He lived and worked in Berlin. According to the sources, the original title of this operetta is “Hoheit amüsiert sich", which could be translated as "The king is having fun". The libretto was written by Julius Freund. The title of the work that is given on the website of the National Russian Library (Российская государственная библиотека) is as follows: "Король веселится: (Ромео и Джульетта)", that is, "The king is having fun (Romeo and Juliet)". This recording by Zonophone, however, was made in Vilnius, the current capital of Lithuania.

On the second recording, again by Zonophone, the following is written: "испанская шансонетка", that is, "spanish chanson [song]". This time, the recording was made in Saint Petersburg.

The third Russian recording, which has not yet been fully validated, was made in Kiev. It is entitled "Одесситка", which could be translated as "Girl from Odessa". One can realize that very shortly after the premiere of the operetta, recordings appeared in the territories of the Russian Empire, quite far from the main production sites of the work (Madrid, Brussels).

During the First World War, probably in 1915, the song "
Guglielmone, Cecco Beppe e Maometto" was based on the melody of "Serafina", to which Italian lyrics of patriotic content were adapted.

A music score of the song with lyrics in Greek and French was published in Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Internationale publishing house.
 

According to
Alan Kelly’s database, "Estudiantina Grecque – Melitzianos Choeur" is written in the performers field. The sound engineer Charles Scheuplein was in charge of the recording.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and 
Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[García álvarez Enrique (?) Greek lyrics: Unknown]
Singer(s):
Estudiantina Melitsianos
Orchestra-Performers:
Estudiantina Melitsianos
Recording date:
19/09/1912
Recording location:
Constantinople (Istanbul)
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Concert Record Gramophone
Catalogue number:
14-12480
Matrix number:
17327u
Duration:
3:26
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
GramoCR_14_12480_Serafina
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Serafina", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5014

The network in which the Greek-speaking urban folk-popular song participates, constantly conversing with its co-tenants, is magnificent. Discography has already provided important tools in understanding the relationships developed with the Canzone Napoletana, the French chansons, the music of the Jewish ecumene and countless other sub-networks, which have interacted with Greek music since the era of the Ottoman Empire, forming a borderless and syncretic cultural framework. One of these fascinating networks concerns the Spanish world, which, through a variety of paths, met the Greek one. A key chapter in this influence was the unrepeatable international success achieved by a Spanish estudiantina in 1878 in Paris. Following its success, the band toured countless locations around the world. According to the sources, on February 28, 1886, the Spanish estudiantina gave a concert in Constantinople (Istanbul) and on April 26 and 29, 1886, in Athens (for the first Greek estudiantina, see Ordoulidis, 2021a: 88–100 and Ordoulidis, 2021b). The Spanish students mainstreamed the concept of semi-professional music groups, the bandurria, the mandolin, the guitar, the "tuna", i.e. the street serenade and the habanera, that came to be appropriated by the Greek musicians and to find its place even in the form of the manes (see for example the Smyrneiko minore, Gramophone 12574b). The network of the theater is a key environment for the circulation of music and the relationship between the two (music–theater) is more than dynamic. The appropriation by Greek musicians was twofold: on the one hand were the lyrics, which were now in Greek (from what the data show us so far, they had nothing to do with the original ones), and, on the other hand, the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms and in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapted what they heard to their own condition, based on their own capabilities. In 1894, when the play of the then most popular zarzuela "La Gran Vía" was played for the first time, a new path that led to the appearance of the Athenian revue opened. Spanish songs started being adapted into Greek since then. One such case is the song "Serafina".

This is a Greek adaptation of the Spanish song "Serafina" ("Canción de la Serafina") by composer Joaquín Valverde (Joaquín "Quinito" Valverde Sanjuán, Madrid 2/1/1875 – Mexico 4/11/1918). The song is found in two plays which both premiered in 1911: the first is an operetta entitled "La Rosa de Granada", which was first presented on March 12 at the Théâtre des Varietées in Brussels. The second is the musical comedy "
Gente menuda", written by Enrique García vlvarez and Carlos Arniches, which premiered at the Teatro Cómico in Madrid, on May 7.

Based on the sources (see for example 
here and here), the song "Serafina" gained an unprecedented popularity, something that was reflected from the very beginning in historical discography in various places (Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Poland). For example:

- "Serafina", Zonophone ah 1433 – 63785, Madrid, October 23, 1911
- "Serafina", Odeon 
xS 1533 – X 68616, Madrid, around 1912
- "Серафина", Zonophone 3602ae – X-2-63235, Vilnius, August 11, 1912
- "Serafina", Columbia 
41911 – E 1863, Milan, 1913
- "Серафина", Zonophone R 17563b – X 260993, Saint Petersburg, May 13, 1913
- "Одесситка", 
Extraphone 23580, Kiev

The three Russian recordings come with interesting information. As one can read on the label of the first recording by Zonophone,
the song comes from the operetta "Король веселится" by Rudolf Nelson. Nelson, born Lewysohn, was a German composer from a Jewish family in Prussia. He lived and worked in Berlin. According to the sources, the original title of this operetta is “Hoheit amüsiert sich", which could be translated as "The king is having fun". The libretto was written by Julius Freund. The title of the work that is given on the website of the National Russian Library (Российская государственная библиотека) is as follows: "Король веселится: (Ромео и Джульетта)", that is, "The king is having fun (Romeo and Juliet)". This recording by Zonophone, however, was made in Vilnius, the current capital of Lithuania.

On the second recording, again by Zonophone, the following is written: "испанская шансонетка", that is, "spanish chanson [song]". This time, the recording was made in Saint Petersburg.

The third Russian recording, which has not yet been fully validated, was made in Kiev. It is entitled "Одесситка", which could be translated as "Girl from Odessa". One can realize that very shortly after the premiere of the operetta, recordings appeared in the territories of the Russian Empire, quite far from the main production sites of the work (Madrid, Brussels).

During the First World War, probably in 1915, the song "
Guglielmone, Cecco Beppe e Maometto" was based on the melody of "Serafina", to which Italian lyrics of patriotic content were adapted.

A music score of the song with lyrics in Greek and French was published in Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Internationale publishing house.
 

According to
Alan Kelly’s database, "Estudiantina Grecque – Melitzianos Choeur" is written in the performers field. The sound engineer Charles Scheuplein was in charge of the recording.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and 
Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[García álvarez Enrique (?) Greek lyrics: Unknown]
Singer(s):
Estudiantina Melitsianos
Orchestra-Performers:
Estudiantina Melitsianos
Recording date:
19/09/1912
Recording location:
Constantinople (Istanbul)
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Concert Record Gramophone
Catalogue number:
14-12480
Matrix number:
17327u
Duration:
3:26
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
GramoCR_14_12480_Serafina
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Serafina", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5014

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