Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Sing Something Simple

In Hirschaid, a dead and alive little town near Forchheim in Franconia is Brauerei Kraus. It has a good reputation and a decent sized beer garden. We located it easily enough and walked in past the pub itself and into the pleasant, tree shaded beer garden which doubled as the brewery yard. The brewery, a traditional tower affair, looked a good size.

Ordering from the hatch, I had an excellent kellerbier, while E started off on the pils which she liked. The place was busy at two in the afternoon with a good mixture of types. Suddenly singing started. From one corner, a group of old men, conducted by another old man, burst into song. These were traditional folk songs and were sung with obvious enjoyment, while being warmly appreciated by the audience. We all clapped at the break, while the old guys refreshed themselves with bier and schnapps. The final piece was recognisable as our National Anthem though obviously with different words. This confused some US Army civilians who clearly thought it was an American tune. It confused us for a moment too.

We supped our beers and enjoyed the simple pleasures of beer and bonhomie and joined in the well deserved round of applause when it all finished. Germany is full of surprises.


Chap said...

Kraus is a nice place all-round - beers, ambience, fellow drinkers and the Kraus family, and close to the railway station, which is not always the case between Bamberg and Forchheim.

I thought I remembered that the tune of God Save the Queen was used for another song in Germany, and according to Wikipedia, it was the melody for the first German (or Prussian?) national anthem, Heil dir im Siegerkranz. Apparently, other countries that have used the tune for their national or royal anthems at various times include Russia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Sweden. The Americans were confused because it is also the melody of the United States patriotic hymn America.

Tune-sharing goes on more than one might think. On the Dutch equivalent of Songs of Praise, a lot of the hymns are familiar, even though the words are in Dutch. And at the annual commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem, the participants sing Abide with Me, the English in English and the Dutch in Dutch - it's very moving. Perhaps you should have accompanied the German gentlemen by singing God Save the Queen while the Americans sang My Country, 'Tis of Thee!

Tandleman said...

It was better to watch and listen, especially the Yanks who were clearly perplexed. Well they were US Army civilians.