Songs My Mother Taught Me – Track 14

Songs My Mother Taught Me It is the fourth of seven songs from Dvorak’s cycle Gypsy Songs (Czech:Cigánské melodie), The Gypsy Songs are set to poems by Adolf Heyduk in both Czech and German. This song, in particular, has achieved widespread fame and has been recorded by many famous female singers.

This is my interpretation of the song which I sang at this year’s Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Competition in Blackburn. George Todica accompanied me during the competition and I hope that you like the performance.
I loved preparing this song and tried my best to get the correct feeling and colour into the Czech lyrics and to my Czech friends that listen please let me know how I could improve my pronunciation 🙂

The original Czech lyrics

Když mne stará matka zpívat, zpívat učívala,
podivno, že často, často slzívala.
A teď také pláčem snědé líce mučím,
když cigánské děti hrát a zpívat, hrát a zpívat učím!
The English transalation of the lyrics

Songs my mother taught me, In the days long vanished;
Seldom from her eyelids were the teardrops banished.
Now I teach my children, each melodious measure.
Oft the tears are flowing, oft they flow from my memory’s treasure.


58 thoughts on “Songs My Mother Taught Me – Track 14

    1. Ha ha ha, it’s quite hard to sing in Czech because there are lots of different sounds to what we have in English, but I love singing in the language lots of colour to explore 😉
      Best wishes

      1. I am most familiar with classical singing, but I really like Musicals so I sing a lot of those songs. I just really miss having structured learning and having someone to help me improve.

  1. This brought back lovely memories of me and my parents at a wedding when I was a kid, back in the ‘fifties, when mum got up and played the piano, nothing classical, but I just remember people singing “You made me love you”. My mother was musical and loved dancing, but my father was very jealous and wouldn’t let her go and do the things she loved. Such a pity, different times then.

  2. Hello,
    thanks for Your email:). You ve chosen extraordinary piece and one of the most intepreted song from Dvořák. Song itself has old czech folk characteristic, so lets focus on clear czech. It has pretty unusual rhytmical structure, which is making difficult to find accent in words….

    So, some people are singing “zpívat” rather like “spí:vaat” Z is changed to S and there is no pressure on the beggining of word.
    In “podivno” i dont hear N which is making word difficult to understand, its like you r singing “podivo” (N is basically one of hard consonants- CH; K; R; D; T; N; and there must be stress on that)
    “A teď také” – you put words correctly together, but there is should a stress on both T, same as above.
    Pláčem I believe i hear you sing E as english [i] “pláči:m” which is incorrect. Its more like “plá:čeem”
    “Děti” maybe little more stress on T, even in high note

    I am not so certain about the rest, but I believe it has mainly correct pronunciation. You’ ve got my sincerest admiration on ď, č, ě – these difficult letters sound very natural from You.

    I believe people may disagree or add something to my feedback so You can get more opinions. And by the way, You ve got gorgeous and very cultivated voice.

    With regard and respect,

    1. That was very informative Lukas and very helpful, I really appreciate the time you took to do this and I’ll work on your suggestions.
      Thanks very much, have a nice weekend,

    1. Hi Krishnan, I’m pleased I introduced the song to you 😉 in English it is called ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’ it was from a folk/art song genre. Lovely to sing.
      Best wishes

    1. Hi Mary Ann, I love the term ‘golden feeling’, my friend Katie is all about auras and she says I have a ‘golden’ aura this week so that’s a coincidence 😉
      Best wishes

    1. Ha ha thanks Mimi, I don’t know about ‘famous’ but what a lovely compliment – I’ve got lots of work ahead but I’d love to be in such elusive company.
      Best wishes

  3. Hi Charlotte
    It has been a pleasure watching you grow up and being able to follow your progress into what is becoming a wonderful talent. Both Gill and I are very proud to know you. Love always, Terry

    1. Ahhh that’s really lovely, thanks Terry I’ve always enjoyed your support and people like you and Gill that truly believe in me, it’s like fairy dust it’ll help me to fly.
      Charlotte x

    1. Thanks Alex, going to go help a friend to move flat shortly and I’ve just asked my Dad to send me some old video for a post tomorrow, hope you get chance to pop back to see 😉
      Best wishes

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