Yiddish Version of the Nightmare Song ©
by Al Grand

Ven ikh leyg zikh in bet in der nakht zeyer shpet un es krikht mir a tsore in kop arayn,
Un ikh lig shtilerheyt vayl der kop iz fardreyt un der oyskuk far mir iz nit azoy fayn.
                                          
Az ikh heyb oyf dem kop falt der kishn arop un s'iz kalt vayl di fentster shteyt ofn,
Un dos betgevant rayst vayl a groyse vants bayst shray ikh, "Ziser Got lomikh shoyn shlofn!”

Oy s'iz yetst zeyer shpet un ikh drey zikh in bet un ikh ken nit gefinen kayn sholem,
Un es brenen di oygn, ikh lig oysgetsoygn un s'kumt on a shreklekher kholem:

Dan kholemt zikh mir az men efnt di tir un s’kumen arayn makhetonim,
Varfn zey tsu mir gikh, zeyere farblotikte shikh zol dos trefn tsu undzere sonim.

Bald antloyf ikh fun zey (oy der kop tut mir vey!) un azoy loyf ikh shneler un shneler,
Zits ikh shoyn bay dem tish, es ikh hiner mit fish un dos hindl shpringt oyf fun der teler.

Loyf ikh vider avek, azoy groys iz mayn shrek ven dos hindl yogt mir af a groysn ferd,
Un dos ferd loyft mit mir zeyer shnel durkh der tir kh'fal arop oysgetsoygn bald af der erd.

Vart ikh dortn un blayb, un ikh ze shoyn mayn vayb vi zi ligt bay a top un zi kholemt,
Bald shlept zi mir bay'm kop, varft mir arayn in der top, un ikh ver shoyn dertrunken in tsholent.

Fun der top kh'fal aroys, s'do a galakh in hoyz un bald fangt er on makhn a  brokhe,
Plutzling efnt zikh di tir, s'kumen loyfn tsu mir mayne fraynt un mayn gantse mishpokhe.

Shrayen zey, "Mazl tov!" vert der galakh a rov un er zogt tsu mir, "Hob nit kayn  moyre,
Du bist draytsn yor alt, nem dem khumesh un halt es un leyen di gantse haftoyre."

Un ven ikh heyb on leynen di mentshn zey veynen, "Far vos redstu Poylish?" baklogn zey,
Mit a mol vakh ikh of fun mayn umruikn shlof rayb zikh di oygn un shray oys,"Vos zogn zey?”

Oy der kop tut mir vey, un ikh gib a geshrey, di hent zaynen mir kalt, un der kop mayner shpalt! s'iz mir trukn dos moyl, un ikh shray "Shma Yisroyl!" ikh bin nas mit a shveys, un mayn kerper iz heys, in di oygn, oy! brent, un es tsitern di hent, bald a flig flit arum, un di kishn iz krum, un ikh zog "Oy a klog!"  vayl s'iz klor vi di tog az ikh hob nit gants ruig geshlofn. - Shoyn di nakht iz farbay, fun mayn shlof bin ikh fray, oy di nakht iz tsu lang -- shoyn genug mayn gezang -- danken Got az di oygn zaynen ofn!


Al Grand has been translating the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan into Yiddish.  He has adhered faithfully to Gilbert’s dazzling rhymes while striving to preserve unblemished Yiddish and achieved a perfect match of verbal to musical cadence so that the lyric conforms to the accentuation and rhythm of each musical phrase. 

The Yiddish version DI YAM GAZLONIM means “The Robbers of the Sea.”  In writing Yiddish versions of the G&S oeuvre he adheres faithfully to Gilbert’s total rhyming scheme i.e., wherever there are double, triple or internal rhymes and also cleaves to Sullivan’s musical score wherein there is a Yiddish syllable for each musical note that is sung.
 
In his four decades long pursuit of the Yiddish Gilbert & Sullivan project has helped to keep Yiddish alive, and Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre’s production

received a 2007 Drama Desk nomination as a result of the favorable reviews in the New York Times and other newspapers, magazines and internet blogs. 

Al Grand occasionally borrows an aria or chorus number from another one of Gilbert & Sullivan work and is using it in the one on which he is currently working.  In DI YAM GAZLONIM he interpolated the high-velocity “Nightmare Song” from the opera IOLANTHE with a fast-paced Yiddish number at the point where the Major General (Der Groyser General) can’t sleep owing to his guilt feelings for lying to the pirates about his being an orphan. 

Another aspect of Grand’s work is creating Yiddish versions of popular songs of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.  An example is the Yiddish version of “Over the Rainbow” which is often performed by soprano Shelley Shields in her cabaret performances.