Friday, July 15, 2011

LET', KONICKU LET - Fly, Horse Fly

Let', Konicku Let is a polka written by Karel Hasler. Recorded by the tenor Vaclav Albrecht accompanied by the Brouskova Vojenska kapela (Brouskova Military Band) and released on the Odean label by General Phonograph Corporation of New York. This has been digitalized and enhanced from Odean's Od 17222 matrix 8525-A.

Karel Hasler, "The Immortal Balladeer of Prague," born October 31, 1879 in Zlíchov, a suburb of Prague, was a prolific song writer as well as popular cabaret actor and singer. For a little while  in 1902 he was a member of the Slovenian theatre in Ljubljana. He moved back to Prague where he joined the National Theatre Ensemble. By 1908 he was writing his own songs.   Some three hundred songs are credited to him. He was a pioneer in the motion picture industry as well. As early as 1914 he made a comedy film České hrady a zámky (Czech Castles), based on his own script.  The advent of sound with motion pictures allowed his musical talent to come to the forefront.

One of his songs is almost unanimously considered to be one of the ten greatest hits of twentieth century Czech music.  His song earned him a death sentence in September 1941 at 62 years of age. He was arrested during the production of the film film Městečko na dlani, based on the script by Jan Drda and taken to the Mauthausen Gestapo camp where they tortured him to death. It seems the Nazis did not much appreciate Hasler's music. Here is some rare footage from a 1932 film with Hasler him self singing his immortal  "Ta nase pisnicka ceska" "That Czech Song of ours".

If by now the question has surfaced in your mind "What does a Czech have to do with Croatian music," please note, that at the beginning of the story, Prague, Ljubljana, and Zagreb were all under the Austro Hungarian Empire.  During the course of most of the history of Texas and therefore the development of Teksikanski slavic culture this was a fact of life, and much  of Hasler's music was heard and enjoyed all over eastern Europe, Texas and beyond.  In fact his songs about Svoboda, liberty, absolutely frightened the Nazis.

Karel Hasler's son Thomas lives in the United States.  Here is what Thomas has to say about his father.

and now we have that versitile tenor Vaclav Albrecht singing Hasler's Let', Konicku Let for us:

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

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