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  1. A few years ago, I was preparing for a trip to northern Spain and southern/southwestern France, which was to include a visit to Bilbao, where I'd never been before. I've been an ardent lover for most of my life of the musical works produced by the collaboration of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, so naturally my thoughts turned to the "Bilbao-Song" from Happy-End. Googling it, or YouTubing it, I chanced upon a version of it translated into French and sung by the late French singer Catherine Sauvage. I don't know why I was unfamiliar with her work untl then, but I fell in love with her immediately, and have never woken from the dream. Here she is singing "Bilbao-Song". Here she is singing a French version of the Brecht-Weill song "Nannas Lied", their penultimate collaboration.* (I used a line from this in my signature here for a while: "Et en fin d'compte, mes réserves s'épuisent", although I might more poignantly have used "Et en fin d'compte, on n'a pas toujours dix-sept ans".) Catherine Sauvage is especially associated with the songs of Léo Ferré, as here with "Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent?". And here most wonderfully with "Paris-Canaille". And here. And stupendously here. *The refrain in the French lyric runs "Hier tu pleures, oí¹ sont tes larmes? Oí¹ est la neige qui tombait l'an dernier?" (Yesterday you weep, where are your tears? Where is the snow that fell last year?) Brecht's original is "Wo sind die Tränen von gestern Abend? Wo ist der Schnee vom vergangenen Jahr?" (Where are the tears from yesterday evening? Where is the snow from last year?) These harken back, of course, to the repeated question in Franí§ois Villon's famous ballade: "Mais oí¹ sont les neiges d'antan?" which Dante Gabriel Rossetti put into English as "where are the snows of yesteryear?", in which he coined the word "yesteryear", not much used since except in The Lone Ranger.
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