Waves Of The Danube

Several years ago I happened across a tune, one of those melodies which crossed the Atlantic Ocean sometime during the 20th century. I can’t remember where I first heard it — probably the internet was involved.

I first knew the tune as “The Anniversary Song”. This tune was played as a fiddle duet by Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson, and I learned that the tune came from a song by Al Jolson.

Later I learned that the tune was written by the Romanian composer Iosif Ivanovici, and the original title is “The Waves Of The Danube”.

Here’s a sappy movie scene with that song:

I learned the tune on the fiddle and guitar, but then I was faced with the task of introducing the tune to the session musicians in Hannibal. The chord sequence is a bit more complex than the simple sequences in the fiddle tunes we normally played.

The tune became a favorite tune in the local sessions. I still enjoy playing it!




Filed under Essays and Articles, Music

7 responses to “Waves Of The Danube

  1. Joan

    Here is a less schmaltzy version, Larry, with some more major chord additions. I remember that this song became very popular after the movie even if it was not sung by the original Al. If anyone still waltzes anymore is is a nice one for an anniversary party.probably for geezers. It’s a haunting ballad. I’m partial to music in minor key which covers a lot of old European folk songs.

  2. bev

    I kind of like this Gypsy MacIsaac version – just kidding – by the Paganini

  3. Joan

    Me too, Bev, I missed that one. The fiddler is fantastic.

  4. Marian

    Hi Larry – This is Bev’s mom – This was one of our favourite dance numbers – Bev’s dad was a really good dancer – I enjoy all your columns.

    • bev

      Mom – What I remember about this song is that both of you used to sing it as well as dancing to it. You both had such great voices and were always singing — tunes like Scarlet Ribbons. No wonder all of us grew up to be so musical!

  5. Thanks, Marian! I can imagine you and Bev’s father swirling around the dance floor, back in the day!

  6. Leslie

    These were nice. Ballroom dancing has had a resurgence with reality shows like “dancing with stars” and “so you think you can dance”. So Larry, what was the name of the movie? Curious if i’ve seen it…

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