"Dark Eyes" ((ロシア語:«Очи чёрные», ''Ochi chyornye''); English translation: "''Black Eyes''"; Spanish translation: «''Ojos negros''»; French translation: « ''Les yeux noirs'' »; German translation: „''Schwarze Augen''“) is probably the most famous Russian romance song.
The lyrics were written by the Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka. The first publication of the poem was in Hrebinka's own Russian translation in ''Literaturnaya gazeta'' on 17 January 1843.
In "The Book of World-famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk", published in 2000, the author, J.Fuld, mention that a Soviet musicologist had reported to him that the song is not "a Russian Traditional song but a cabaret song", published in a songs book by A. Gutheil in 1897 and mentioned, at n 131, as a "Gypsy romance based on te melody of Florian Hermann's ''Valse Hommage''.〔(James J. Fuld. The book of world-famous music: classical, popular, and folk ) - Courier Dover Publications, 2000. - P. 417 (see also notes at p. 684).〕 Of the original melody author, Florian Hermann, not a single music score is known.〔http://books.google.ru/books?id=EVninY59ul0C&pg=PA684#v=onepage&q&f=false〕
The most renowned and played version of this song was written by Adalgiso Ferraris, and published, when still in Russia in 1910, with German editor Otto Kuhl, as Schwarze Augen (Black Eyes). 〔(Schwarze Augen Black Eyes by Ferraris ) 〕 〔(OCLC World Cat Reference - Schwarze Augen, Adalgiso Ferraris )〕 Ferraris then published it again in 1931 by Paris Editions Salabert, as "Tes yeux noirs (impression russe) "〔http://www.unicat.be/uniCat?func=search&query=author:%22Ferraris,%20A.%22&formQuery=author:%22Ferraris,%20A.%22〕 and with Jacques Liber, on Oct 9th, 1931.〔 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5qknYkfxODxS2J2U0ROa1ZudzQ/view?usp=sharing 〕 〔http://books.google.com/books?id=YzBjAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1110&lpg=PA1110&dq=liber+music+%22black+eyes%22+ferraris&source=bl&ots=SSzmGwXmWt&sig=DBm8fPDt7F7C4WaIeAKfIdWcqaA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lwZMVLPiDsja8AGP_IHQBw&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=liber%20%22black%20eyes%22%20ferraris&f=false〕
Adalgiso Ferraris, an Italian-born British composer, had spent many years in Russia before 1915. The song became one if his major successes in the 1920s and 1930s, being also played by Albert Sandler, by Leslie Jeffries in 1939, and sung by Al Bowlly in 1939 with words of Albert Mellor 〔http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/publication/50013425〕〔http://www.allmusic.com/song/dark-eyes-mt0048800677〕 Max Jaffa also recorded it.〔http://www.45worlds.com/vinyl/album/sall863〕 〔(Albert Sandler, shown here in a British Pathe film of 1932 )〕 〔(Leslie Jeffries here in a British Pathe film of 1939 ) 〕 〔 (Al Bowlly - Dark Eyes ) 〕
Feodor Chaliapin also popularised the song abroad.
Other versions include the 1941 recording of Ferraris' Dark Eyes played by Harry Parry and his radio sextet, and a very original interpretation, for electric guitar, played for years Chet Atkins. Ferraris' version is still played today by many artists worldwide.
The song has also been played, briefly, by the Three Tenors in their 1990 concert in Rome.
==Poem (original version by Hrebinka)==
The following is a metrical translation (i.e. one that can be sung to the melody).
Oh, these gorgeous eyes, dark and glorious eyes,
Burn-with-passion eyes, how you hypnotise!
How I_ adore you so, how I fear you though,
Since I saw you glow! Now my spirit’s low!
Darkness yours conceal mighty fires real;
They my fate will seal: burn my soul with zeal!
But my love for you, when the time is due,
Will refresh anew like the morning dew!
No, not sad am I, nor so mad am I;
All my comforts lie in my destiny.
Just to realise my life’s worthiest prize
Did I sacrifice for those ardent eyes!.
Translation by () Peter Farnbank]
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