Prešeren IT…

preseren.jpg The guy who went on to become Slovenia’s greatest poet has in his time written some rather stirring poems.

The romantical drunkard that he was, he had obviously suffered from a bad case of Weltschmertz, which I always somewhat resented him. Add to the fact that we basically had to idolise him in high school, and you can easlily understand why (mostly) young Slovenes have a sort of love-hate relatioship with France Prešeren

Now – every year for the past 20-or-so years Slovene Association of Teathre Performers organises a Recital of Prešeren’s poetry as their hommage to France and his work. The Firm™ covered the event for the last four years and we do so today as well. So, if you feel like enjoying some excellent performances and not your average dull reading of poetry, tune in today from noon (12.00 CET) as we will be broadcasting live – audio and video.

Audio stream link here (WMP required)

Video stream link here (RealPlayer required)

And if you have a 3G mobile phone (UMTS or EDGE enabled) you can tune in to, as we will be broadcasting to mobile phones as well.

But just to wet your appetite, here are two performances from previous years.

Nebeška Procesija (Heavenly Procession) performed by Marko Simčič, 8 February 2005
This one is a must. When I heard it for the first time, I was stunned by the fact that one can easily apply it to the situation in present day Ljubljana.

And, of course…

Zdravljica (The Toast) performed by Polde Bibič, 8 February 2004

BTW: My all time favourite verse in all of Prešren’s poetry is from the second stanza of Zdravljica:
“Bog živi vas Slovenke, prelepe žlahtne rožice.
Ni take je mladenke, kot naše je krvi dekle.
Naj sinov zarod nov,
iz vas bo strah sovražnikov”

What’s yours?

UPDATE: There were some problems with the video connection in the last 15 minutes of the broadcast, but othetwise it went without a glich. Me very happy 😀 All in all, some 1800 people attended the performance on Prešeren square. It was quite a show – despite the occasional downpour

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

60 thoughts on “Prešeren IT…”

  1. I’ll be checking all this out when I get home from work. Ever since I knew about Preseren, I’m very interested in his works. I’m not idolising him, but I do think the man has written some really fine poetry. And I’m all for Weltschmerz soaked in alcohol, mhehehe. And tragic stories, which, unfortunately his life was full of.
    Unfortunately, I don’t know ‘Zdravljica’ by heart, so I can’t really post a favorite stanza right now.

  2. Oh and: if Weltschmerz is done with so much style (zeal?) and so skillfully, it becomes a worthy thing. Not necessarily something one should succumb to, but something one could admire…

  3. Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? For Weltschmerz to work in an artistic way, you’d have to feel it. So we might admire those artists for it, but they live(d) it, with all the crap that comes along with it. In that light, check out a band called Sophia. Their singer, Robin Proper- Sheppard is the king of modern day Weltschmerz…

  4. Arf, I agree. But everyone has at least moments of Weltschmerz and thus the door to its artistic portrayal does open a bit. This may be the moment you realise how great people like Preseren are.

    On the other hand: in my personal experience you cannot escape Weltschmerz if living in Slovenia… I mean, you can, but it requires conscious effort and some luck and nice people. No?

  5. All valid points, Alcessa. I’m an artist myself, so I know all about Weltschmerz; it’s given me enough subject matter to appreciate it. And I really like Preseren. But hindsight is usually 20/20. If I recall his life’s story correctly, he was pretty much regarded as a loser. Even his poems didn’t do well. Recurring theme, really. The great ones always get recognized after they’re dead. Look at Byron, Van Gogh etc. There’s a pretty strong link between Weltschmerz and living outside of the conventional boundaries in society. It’s like the chicken and the egg : which one instigated the birth of the other? But it makes for interesting art in all forms. Too bad it’s usually at the expense of the artist.
    And in my experience, one can’t escape Weltschmerz anywhere in the world, not just in Slovenija. 😉 Also in my experience, you’re largely responsible for your own happiness. Adversity is all around us, so it’s up to us to stare it in the face and overcome it or handle it in a positive manner. The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve learned that luck has virtually nothing to do with it, really. Nice people in Slovenija taught me that… 🙂

  6. Arf, I was indeed wondering whether you will state that good artistic Weltschmerz comes from artist’s suffering… And yes, I was curious about your experience and did actually want to know whether Slovenija is exceptional as far as the presence of “visible suffering” is concerned, so thank you… For example, I know that the Germans themselves claim they are the most pessimistic people in the world, but I’ve seen much more Weltschmerz in Slovenija, possibly also for “understandable reasons” (with some adversities, you simply have to be able to deal with them, you need certain life experience, a clear vision to recognise their core and also their potential). But then again, I haven’t seen it all. And I may not be able to ever, because I’m a happy (yes, even snug 🙂 ) person.

    I do have a problem, though, right now: I can’t get an internet connection to radio Kaos and also not to RSi…

  7. One of my favourite stanzas is “Meni nebó odprto se zdi, kadar se v tvóje ozrem oči, kadar prijázno nasméjaš se, kár sem prestála, pozábljeno je.” Poem Nezakonska mati.

  8. Hvala lepa, Alcessa. I do think, however, my aptitude in Slovene needs to go way beyond the tiny affair that it is right now in order to read all the non- translated poems. Then again, this might be just the right kind of stimulation (although I could think of other forms of stimulation, but let’s not open that can of, erm, worms. It’s not Friday yet, is it P? :D) So me likes, very much. Will brush up on the Slovene lingo, stat!

  9. I know what you thought, and I thank you :). One day in the near future I’ll do a Michael and put up my tent permanently over there. It’s starting to look like half of my ‘Freundeskreis’ is situated in the greater LJ area anyway. 😛
    I’m familiar with the website; that’s where I read all the translated poems. Well, this way I won’t have to wait to copy my favorite stanza… 😉

  10. Here it is, my favorite stanza of Zdravljica. No surprise it’s all about togetherness and good times. ‘Tis dedicated to our good Pengovsky, with whom I’ll have exactly what this stanza professes in about a seven weeks time : (Kasteel)beer ‘n good fun! 😉

    “At last to our reunion –
    To us the toast! Let it resound,
    Since in this gay communion
    By thoughts of brotherhood we’re bound.
    May joyful cheer
    Ne’er disappear
    From all good hearts now gathered here.”

  11. Seems to me you guys and gals not need me to have a good time on this blog. Which makes me happy 😀

    Just back from the afterparty, slightly inebriated. Just like Prešren 😀

  12. psst, Pengovsky, you did check P’s h’scope sign, didn’t you? 🙂

    As I said before: I cannot listen to radio Kaos any more (don’t start thinking about it today, it is a holiday) and it p’s me off. 🙂

    Yes, it comes quite naturally to have fun here… 🙂

  13. none of them works… NADA: not the WinAmp, not WMP (I have version 11 now), neither externally (in a new window) nor directly. I’m seriously cut off. Also from RSi: it (Real Player) works shortly and then it stops. Maybe someone is trying to isolate me audially 🙂 ?

  14. WMP 11 is a piece of shit – I’m still figuring out a way to make out server compatible, although it’s suppose to be downward compatible… WinAmp should work now, though…

  15. Kill me: I updated WinAmp today, after it was begging me to do so, and NOW it doesn’t work anymore… 🙁 Also: I thought I was downloading a noname update and found out only later it was actuall the version 11…

  16. Hmm, how much Weltschmerz do you need to make a drinking song your national anthem? 😀 😉

    However, the coolest version of a national anthem I’ve ever heard is Zoran Predin’s version of Zdravljica.

    I’m going to check the video when I’m home from work (and evening school). However I’d prefer if The Firm™ would broadcast their audio-stream via Real-Player (like the party people from RSI) or – what seems much more reliable to me – winamp like goveja-musica-radio veseljak. I do hate WMP, so that’s why I don’t even try to listen to The Firm™

  17. I just noticed in the video at that my father was at the recital as well. 🙁 It’s just great to have a father who takes such great care to keep in touch. 🙁 🙁

  18. Well… I’m getting used to it. 🙁 Maybe I could write a poem now. 😉

    I hope at least he did his part well. Because I know he can, although he’s keen on overdoing things. 🙂

    I was thinking of going there myself, but changed my mind because of the weather. And now I’m sorry I was such a coward. 😀

  19. Well, in your poem you could use things like “Dear Father, who are far away […] may your kingdom come to me from time to time, amen” 🙂

  20. I’ve been translating something definitely stupid today and I’m trying to remain serious while having to claim that figs are an aphrodisiac, their seeds impersonating our innermost feelings… So that is why Mr. Preseren always carried some with him, no?


  21. I wish you’d soon have enough work to be able to choose yourself what you’ll translate and what not. Because this really sounds silly, to put it mildly. 😀

    P.S. I never ever wrote a poem in my life. Except one in elementary school about my dog. But that was obligatory. I preferred writing stories. 🙂

  22. You’ll never guess: I can choose my texts any time. But I had some time so I thought why not. And now I’m working on a bundle of silliness and regretting my own for having taken it…

    I did write poems… They were “revolutionary” enough to take me to Ohrid with other primary school pupils, where we celebrated Yugoslavia and took home some lice for our mothers to have some work. It was fun, actually. But then I wrote and published a love poem in the local newspaper and my family grew somewhat “afraid of/for me” – they couldn’t know whether I was telling the truth or not…

    Prose is much better, really. No need to write poems, is there?

  23. If you’d ask me, the answer would be “definitely no need”. 😛

    My stories were never such a success as your poems, but at least my teachers seemed to adore them. 🙂 Could you share with us that love poem you wrote as a child? I would love to read it. 😉

  24. No. Nope. Nein. A-a. Ne. 😳

    Maybe one day privately, but only if I manage to stop blushing. 😳

    I mean, you do know that local newspapers used to print any kind of BAD poems? 😳

  25. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a harsh judge, being a lousy poet myself. 🙂 And “privately” serves me just fine. 😉 I won’t force you, although I might remind you again in a month or so, if nothing flies into my mailbox. 😉

  26. Should I let you get yourself together now? 😀 You seem to be blushing A LOT. 😀

  27. I will, when I’ll find them. I think my old notebooks are stored somewhere in our basement.

  28. Under a handkerchief or under a tent? 😀 I have no worries though… I know you’ll be fine soon. 😉

    P.S. You’re lucky you can turn your screen on and off. Mine gave up yesterday, so I only see black screen. I’m using my mother’s computer right now. 🙁

  29. *throws away the tent, still blushing ferociously*

    Was it, like, “too old”? Sometimes buying a new one is a nice adventure, but only if one hasn’t done so for a long time and they aren’t too expensive…

  30. Nope. I think screen itself is fine. I got it for my b-day last year. And there’s a window jumping around on it saying “check your signal”. And the cables are plugged in just fine. I think the video card in my pc is causing problems. 🙁

  31. Ah well, sometimes things just get fixed on their own 😀

    Sushine: If your monitor displays the “check your signal”, then perhaps you should do just that. It is possible that some settings (i.e.: resolution and refresh rate) got screwed up on your video card. On the other hand, if the problem persists from the moment you boot the computer, change the monitor. Thus you will be able to see whether the problem is the card, the cable (highly likely, BTW) or the monitor

  32. Oh, I don’t know: I went to your homepage and clicked on ON AIR – you know: after that it all went automatically. (I did that several times before, but it didn’t work).

    My guess ist: 32 Kbps WinAmp (but not as a new window).

    No more Waterloo…

  33. I turned off my computer normally and when I turned it on, the screen was black. I tried turning it off and on and then “check your signal” window appeared. I plugged in my old huge monitor and the result was the same – black screen. I plugged in my other LCD monitor and everything was black again except the same small warning window. And I checked the cables several times and they seem ok – in place and fixed. 🙁 That’s why I concluded that it’s not cables nor monitor(s). 🙁 Thank you for the advice anyway. If you think of anything else, I’ll gladly try that as well. 😉

  34. Yeah 🙂 But I’m sure it was followed by some horrible piece of music. Our on-air computer suffers from a manic-depresive disorder 😀

  35. The live link no longer works, obviously, as the event is finished. We will publish the complete recording during the weekend (I hope), just as recordings of previous events are available on our website.

    As for WinAmp… I was about to phase it out completely, when disaster named WMP 11 struck. Given the fact that Windows media format is compatible with many players and the fact that encoding tools are available free of charge and higly fleksible AND the fact that WMP is embedded in 90 percent of computers, I think that Windows Media was a sound choice. But if things don’t improve with version 11 soon, that might change 🙂

  36. from what I read here (in German), I doubt that it’ll be possible to obtain any new version of wmp without having to permit microsoft to control your computer and see what you’ve got installed. With vista *lol* it will even be possible for them to switch your Windows to non-operational, if they dislike something they find. There are quite some people who don’t want their PC to “phone home” all the time, in this case I hope that vista will make more people chose Linux or MacOS instead…

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