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The Underdog (musical joke)

Dear ladies & gentlemen,

When looking through the list with Tchaikovsky's works on the Tchaikovsky-research-homepage,

I noticed his musical joke "The Underdog" (or: Собака ннзкая, бессовестная Бишка...»)" "Base Dog/Shameless Biska").

Also, I have noticed that this work has indeed been aired once by BBC, so, there should be at least one record of it.

Therefore, I'd like to ask you whether you know if there is an available record of this song. (So far, I didn't find it on youtube).

With many thanks in advance.

Guido Mühlemann
26/03/2013 16:26

The Underdog was one of several works that were specially recorded and played for the first time on BBC Radio 3 as part of their Tchaikovsky Experience in 2007, including the original version of the Symphony No.1, the chorus Spring, and the 1870 version of Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately none of these recordings have been released by the BBC.

Brett Langston
26/03/2013 16:26

If we refer to the original text of this musical joke, it becomes clear that the English title "Underdog" does not represent a correct interpretation of the original Russian adjective [ neezkahya ] that was taken as the title of this musical joke.

I would like to acknowledge a kind assistance by Galina Belonovich - the Director of the House-Museum in Klin, who supplied me a copy of the Russian text. I present below for your perusal both the original text and my suggested translation.

P. I. Tchaikovsky
Dastard (Unfaithful) Dog
A musical joke 1871

Original Russian Text

Собака низкая бессовстная Бишка,
Ты изменила мне оставила меня !
Ты видишь болен я, чахотка и одышка
Томят младую грудь, томят младую грудь
Умру я жизнь кляня!

A suggested English translation

A dastard dog, dishonest Bishka,
You have betrayed, abandoned me.
You see that I am sick,
Consumption and breathlessness
Torment the young body, torment the young body.
I shall die, cursing [MY] life.

A. Geidelberg
01/04/2013 10:52

Dear Mr Langston, Dear A. Geidelberg,

Thank you very much for all your precious and very interesting information.

Now, I'm wondering, whether it would be fruitful to petition the BBC so that they release CD's (or allow record firms, as e.g. the Oriel Music Trust, which has recently released the BBC-broadcast of the very rarely performed original version of Tchaikovsky's "Vakula the Smith", to produce CD's) with all these records of works by Tchaikovsky, that have until now not yet been released on LP's, CD's or DVD's.

As far as I can see by reading the postings throughout this forum, there is certainly a lot of interest by many persons to get a CD with the original version of Tchaikovsky's First ("Winter Daydreams") Symphony. As this symphony lasts about 45 minutes, there still would be more than enough space to include other very rarely performed works by Tchaikovsky as e.g. the musical joke "The Underdog"  (respectively "Dastard Dog") etc.

What do you think about it?

I myself would, of course, be ready to sign such a petition letter.

With best regards,

Guido Mühlemann
06/04/2013 14:07

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