Leck mich im Arsch

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — posthumous painting by Barbara Krafft in 1819

Leck mich im Arsch is a canon in B-flat major composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, K. 231 (K382c), with lyrics in German. It was one of a set of at least six canons probably written in Vienna in 1782.[1] Sung by six voices as a three-part round, it is thought to be a party piece for his friends.


[edit] English translation

A literal translation of the song's title and lyrics into English would be "Lick me in the arse". A more idiomatic translation would be "Kiss my arse", or even "Get stuffed".[2] The scatological title and lyrics have been used as evidence to support the contention that Mozart had Tourette syndrome, although this contention is not widely supported by medical professionals.[3][4]

[edit] Publication and modern discovery

Mozart died in 1791 and his widow, Constanze Mozart, sent the manuscripts of the canons to publishers Breitkopf & Härtel in 1799, saying that they would need to be adapted for publication. The publisher changed the title and lyrics of this canon to the more acceptable "Laßt froh uns sein" ("Let us be glad!"), similar to the traditional German Christmas carol, "Lasst uns froh und munter sein". Of Mozart's original text, only the first words were documented in a catalogue of his works.[5]

A new text version, which may have been the authentic one, came to light in 1991. Handwritten texts to this and several other similar canons were found added to a printed score of the work in an historical printed edition acquired by Harvard University's Music Library. They had evidently been added to the book by a later hand. However, since in six of the pieces these entries matched texts that had, in the meantime, independently come to light in original manuscripts, it was hypothesised that the remaining three may, too, have been original, including texts for K231 ("Leck mich im Arsch" itself), and another Mozart work, "Leck mir den Arsch fein recht schön sauber" ("Lick my arse nice and clean", K233; K382d in the revised numbering).[6] Later research has indicated that the latter composition is probably the work of Wenzel Trnka (1739–91).[7][8][9][10]

[edit] Lyrics

The original incipit attested in the earliest Breitkopf catalog consisted only of the words Leck mich im Arsch.[11] The text rediscovered in 1991 consists only of the repeated phrases:[12]

Leck mich im A… g'schwindi, g'schwindi!
Leck im A… mich g'schwindi.
Leck mich, leck mich,
etc. etc. etc.

(where A… obviously stands for Arsch; g'schwindi means 'quickly').

The bowdlerized text of the early printed editions reads:

Laßt uns froh sein!
Murren ist vergebens!
Knurren, Brummen ist vergebens,
ist das wahre Kreuz des Lebens,
das Brummen ist vergebens,
Knurren, Brummen ist vergebens, vergebens!
Drum laßt uns froh und fröhlich, froh sein!

Let us be glad!
Grumbling is in vain!
Growling, droning is in vain,
is the true bane of life,
Droning is in vain,
Growling, droning is in vain, in vain!
Thus let us be cheerful and merry, be glad!

Another semi-bowdlerized adaptation is found in the recordings of The Complete Mozart edition by Brilliant:[13][14]

Leck mich im Arsch!
Goethe, Goethe!
Götz von Berlichingen! Zweiter Akt;
Die Szene kennt ihr ja!
Rufen wir nur ganz summarisch:
Hier wird Mozart literarisch!

Kiss my arse!
Goethe, Goethe!
Götz von Berlichingen! Second act;
You know the scene too well!
Let's sing out now summarily:
Here is Mozart literary!

This is a clear allusion to the line … er kann mich im Arsche lecken! attributed to the late medieval German knight Götz von Berlichingen, known best as the title hero of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's drama.

This version contains a slight error about the Goethe source: the line occurs in the third act.[15][16]

[edit] Media

Leck mich im Arsch.mid Leck mich im Arsch (MIDI file, 9KB, 2:16)

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Eisen, Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians online, Subscription
  2. ^ Schemann, Hans (1997). English-German Dictionary of Idioms. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415172543. 
  3. ^ Kammer T (2007). "Mozart in the neurological department — who has the tic?" (PDF). Frontiers of neurology and neuroscience 22: 184–92. doi:10.1159/0000102880. PMID 17495512. http://www.uni-ulm.de/~tkammer/pdf/Kammer_2007_Mozart_preprint.pdf. Retrieved on 10 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Ashoori A, Jankovic J (2007). "Mozart's movements and behaviour: a case of Tourette's syndrome?". J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatr. 78 (11): 1171–5. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2007.114520. PMID 17940168. 
  5. ^ Preface to the Neue Mozart Ausgabe, [1]
  6. ^ Kozinn, Allan (2 March 1991). "Three Naughty Mozart Texts Are Found". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE6DD1F31F931A35750C0A967958260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fM%2fMozart%2c%20Wolfgang%20Amadeus. Retrieved on 19 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Plath, Wolfgang; Bennwitz, Hanspeter; Buschmeier, Gabriele; Feder, Georg; Hofmann, Klaus (1988). Opera incerta. Echtheitsfragen als Problem musikwissenschaftlicher Gesamtausgaben. Kolloquium Mainz 1988. ISBN 3-515-05996-2. 
  8. ^ Silke Leopold (ed.); Jutta Schmoll-Barthel, Sara Jeffe (October 2005). Mozart-Handbuch. Stuttgart: Metzler. pp. pp. 640, 653, 689. ISBN 3-476-02077-0. 
  9. ^ Dietrich Berke, Wolfgang Rehm, Miriam Pfadt (2007). "Endbericht" (in German) (PDF). Neue Mozart Ausgabe. Bärenreiter. http://www.baerenreiter.com/html/download/pdfs/Endbericht-NMA.pdf. Retrieved on 10 September 2007. 
  10. ^ Catherine Carl, Dan Manley, Dennis Pajot, Steve Ralsten, Gary Smith. "Koechel List". Mozart Forum. http://www.mozartforum.com/Koechel%20part%203.htm. Retrieved on 10 September 2007. 
  11. ^ Preface to the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe Vol. III/10, p. X. [2]
  12. ^ Denis Pajot: K233 and K234 Mozart's "Kiss my Ass" Canons. Mozart Forum
  13. ^ Brilliant Classics (2006). "Mozart Edition, Complete Works". Foreignmediagroup.com. http://music.brilliantclassics.com/epages/joan.storefront/46e7959800359f06271dd5d385f406d2/Product/View/92540. Retrieved on 12 September 2007 2007. 
  14. ^ integralemozart.info (2007). "Mozart Complete Edition (Brilliant), Volume 8: CD 1, Canons" (in German, Italian) (PDF). Integrale Mozart. http://www.integralemozart.info/telechargements/V8_Mozart.pdf. Retrieved on 12 September 2007. 
  15. ^ Wikisource. "Götz von Berlichingen/3. Akt (unexpurgated))" (in German). Wikisource. http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/G%C3%B6tz_von_Berlichingen/3._Akt. Retrieved on 12 September 2007. 
  16. ^ Project Gutenberg. "Götz von Berlichingen/3. Akt (expurgated)" (in German). Project Gutenberg. http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/?id=12&xid=859&kapitel=10&cHash=48a97f66532. Retrieved on 12 September 2007. 

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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