Rolph David

"Szomorú Vasárnap" – Gloomy Sunday – A Sonnet!

Upon a Sunday mournful, tales arise,
Of GLOOMY SUNDAY's dark and haunted song,
A melody that whispers sad goodbyes,
In notes that linger, melancholy long.

In Budapest, where Seress penned his tune,
From heartache's depths, its sorrow did unfold,
With Jávor's words, a lover's lament strewn,
Each chord a tale of lovesick souls untold.

From gramophones to radios, it spread,
A haunting echo in the silent night,
With every verse, more hearts were softly led,
To thoughts of ending under moon's pale light.

Yet 'midst the gloom, a haunting beauty gleams,
In Sad Sunday's refrain, love's tragic dreams.

Background informationIt is rare to come across songs that are surrounded by such dark myths as GLOOMY SUNDAY, the "Song of Sad Sunday". Numerous suicides are associated with this melancholy song composition from the first half of the 20th century. In 1932, the Hungarian pianist Rezső Seress composed the piano song "Vège a villágnak" ("The end of the world") in Paris, which was renamed "Szomorú Vasárnap" ("Sad Sunday") in conjunction with lyrics that were rewritten several times. The lyrics were provided by publicist László Jávor, who is said to have written the lyrics out of lovesickness on a Sunday after his fiancée had left him the day before. The song received public attention both through the first printed edition in 1933 and - a little later - through the first audio recording with the Hungarian singer Pál Kalmár (1935), and in 1936 various suicides were associated with the song for the first time. The first known case is said to have been the suicide of a young man who requested the song in a Budapest café from the band playing there and then went home and shot himself. In another case, neighbours are said to have found a woman who had died of a drug overdose in her flat while the gramophone was playing the "Song of Sad Sunday" on a continuous loop. The ex-fiancée of lyricist László Jávor also died of natural causes. It is said that she committed suicide after listening to the song and left a note with the words "Szomorú Vasárnap" as her only farewell greeting. There were more and more reports of alleged suicides triggered by this song. References such as a sheet of music from "Sad Sunday" in the hand or the words "Sad Sunday", mentioned in a farewell letter, are said to have established links to the "suicide anthem". From then on, the international public also became aware of the "suicide song", resulting in numerous reinterpretations and translations."Szomorú Vasárnap" became famous as a Hungarian suicide anthem, however sad the circumstances were. The best-known English translation was provided by the American songwriter Sam M. Lewis, also in 1936, but the best-known interpretation was not published until a few years later, in 1941, sung by the American jazz singer Billie Holiday. This version made the song famous in many English-speaking countries - now under the name GLOOMY SUNDAY. However, there was also fierce criticism of Holiday's version, as it was also associated with suicides - this prompted the BBC radio station to ban the song from its programme (officially until 2002).In 1968, the composer Rezső Seress threw himself to his death from his Budapest flat shortly after his 69th birthday because he allegedly couldn't mentally cope with not being able to repeat a hit like "Szomorú Vasárnap". This happened on a Sunday.

All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Rolph David.
Published on on 04/14/2024.


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