More thoughts about Primary music in Finnish
Today was the children's musical presentation at church. Best Sunday of the year, in my opinion! I'm the pianist, so I've had a lot of time to think about these songs. Here are some thoughts, including about how they are different in Finnish vs. English.
Perfectly serviceable as a song. There are other "yearly special" songs that I have enjoyed more. Many times, I get the feeling that Primary songs in Finnish somehow say less than their English counterparts, and this is one of those times. There's just not room for all those syllables, even using shortened forms like mä instead of minä and oon instead of olen!
Ah, the wise man and the foolish man! This song has a super funky rhythm in Finnish, even though the accompaniment is identical to the English version. I foolishly played it as written the first time and quickly learned that they don't actually sing it that way. For the verses, "rakensi" in the first line gets a longer, uneven beat and in the chorus, they add in a "ja" and an extra note.
My thoughts on this song can be summed up as: I have never sung this song in English and it is adorable and I wish everyone sang it more.
The phrasing of this one ("our prophet has some words for you") is so perfect in English, especially toward the end with a strong "and stand for the right!" finish. In Finnish, it doesn't work as well, in my opinion. If I emphasize the last measure in Finnish like I would in English, I end up emphasizing "always defend [the things mentioned in previous measures]!"
Another classic! Another phrasing difference. In English, there is a big rumbling pause before the chorus (not shown here): "Nephi was courageous; this was his reply!!!!:" In Finnish, for whatever reason, they rush right through to the "I will go, I will do" part, without the big run-up pause. Also, there are a ton of syllables packed into the chorus. I find that I can't in good conscience sustain the quick tempo throughout because those poor kids' tongues are tripping over themselves by the time we get to the chorus.
Also: I inadvertently started an in-depth, puzzling discussion among three Finns when I asked why the first verse has Nefi in partitive and the second verse (with the same words) has Nefi in genitive. (And complicated by the fact that many of the kids sang Nefi in partitive the second verse anyway.) The final answer: "we're not sure, but it might be x or y or z." Might need to take this one in to work to ask some linguists.
This song is literally "Jesus Loves Me" in Finnish. Which happens to rhyme perfectly with "Jesus Freezes Me" and let's just say some of the kids figured this out and exploited it with gusto.