8: Wie Lange Noch (1944)
a WWII Propaganda Piece

text by Walter Mehring

  • English
  • German


I will confess, there was a night,
When I willingly gave myself to you,
You took me and drove me out of my mind.
I believed that I could not live without you.

You promised me blue skies,
And I cared for you like my own father.
You tormented me, you tore me apart.
I would have put the world at your feet.


Look at me, will you!
When comes the day
When I will be able to tell you: It's over!
When that day comes, I dread it.
How much longer? How much longer? How long?

I believed you.
I was in a daze from all of your talk and your promises.
I did whatever you wanted.
Wherever you wanted to go, I would follow.

You promised me blue skies,
and I didn't even dare to cry.
But you have broken your word and your vows.
I have been silent and tortured myself.


Translation by James Benjamin Rodgers

Original Text

Ich will's dir gestehn, es war eine Nacht,
Da hab ich mich willig dir hingegeben,
Du hast mich gehabt mich von Sonnen gebracht,
Ich glaubte, ich könnte nicht ohne dich leben.

Du hast mir das Blaue vom Himmel versprochen
und ich habe dich, wie 'nen Vater gepflegt.
Du hast mich gemartert, hast mich zerbrochen.
Ich hätt fir die Erde zu Füssen gelegt.


Sieh mich doch an!
Wann kommt der Tag
an dem ich dir sage: Es ist vorbei!
Wann kommt der Tag, ach ich bange.
Wie lange noch? Wie lange noch? Wie lange?

Ich hab dir geglaubt, ich war wie im Wahn,
Von all deinen Reden, von deinen Schwüren.
Was immer du wolltest, das hab ich getan.
Wohin du auch wolltest, da ließ ich mich führen.

Du hast mir das Blaue vom Himmel versprochen und ich!
Ach ich hab' nicht zu weinen gewagt.
Doch du hast dein Wort, deine Schwüre gebrochen.
Ich habe geschwiegen und hab mich geplagt.


Text by Walter Mehring

When Will it End?

Kurt Weill had “arrived” in America. He had proven, under difficult circumstances, that he could write for the Broadway Theatre, a genre in which he saw tremendous possibilities. It was another phase for him geographically and linguistically and he was determined to make the most of it. Weill immersed himself in the world of American music and went on to write hugely successful and record breaking hits such as Lady in the Dark and One Touch of Venus. These shows are so steeped in the American musical theatre tradition that it is extraordinary to contemplate the origins of their composer. Having at one time been tagged as the heir to Germany’s great Operatic tradition, Weill was mastering, and powerfully contributing to the evolution of this new American genre. His adaptability appeared limitless.

Coupled with his litheness, Weill vehemently retained both a connection to his past and a progressive individuality as a composer. In 1944 he reworked a composition from the Paris years, “Je ne t’aime pas”, for use by the US Military as a propaganda piece. This new setting masterfully morphs an old work for a new purpose, subtly altering the undercurrent of the musical language just enough to produce a work that is a closely related world away from its predecessor. The song was recorded by Lotte Lenya to be played on the radio behind German lines. Though Hitler’s name is never said, there is little doubt that he is the subject of this moving text.

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