Beth and I (of the Mappamundi world music ensemble are assembling music for our upcoming cd. She pointed me to this marvelous song sung by Ordonka, Stara Piosenka. The lyrics are by Julian Tuwim, but where did the tune come from?
According to discographer Michael Aylward, the Syrena 1929 recording credits Austrian composer Ralph Benatzy - mainly famous nowadays for his operetta 'The White Horse Inn'. But he added:
However, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. The same melody appears on a Marek Weber recording on the Electrola label under the title 'Fiedel das alte Liedel' with the composer being noted as A. M. Werau. Interestingly 'Stara Piosenka' is the Polish translation of 'das alte Liedel' [The Old Song]. Perhaps we are dealing here with a traditional melody that has been adapted by these 'composers.'
I believe Aylward is right, and that all these versions were stolen. But from where? To be continued...