Vaclav Neckar: Nautilus (Supraphon, 1970)

6 May

This is a song that appears in several formats, given different credits. The version used here comes from a 7″ single issued in 1969/1970 under Vaclav Neckar’s name, with backing from Golden Kids and orchestration by Josef Vobruba: the same rendition also appears – credited to the group rather than Neckar solo – on the Golden Kids 1 LP (Supraphon, 1969). There are later recordings by Neckar with other bands: a version with a synthesisizer arrangement replacing Vobruba’s strings and more progressive instrumentation overall is represented here, and probably hails from the mid-to-late 1970s. The most beautiful arrangement remains the original version’s, though, and while this German version offers a later arrangement, the song as issued on the Golden Kids LP, and under Neckar’s own name on the 1969 single pictured here, is the best of the various incarnations available . The Czech lyric can be read here.

Nautilus

(after Otakar Petrina/Zdeněk Rytíř, 1970)

Who knows where Nautilus is stranded ?
Who knows where its journey ended?
Who knows where Nemo’s treasures are gone?
Who knows where Nautilus went down?

Perhaps twenty-thousand leagues deep in the ocean,
where no human eye can look at its hiding place,
the realm of the Nautilus is to be found
now Nemo has abandoned its course to the sea.

Nautilus lies resting among dark blue weed
with bright fish swimming in and out of its hull.
I imagine it – a fairytale cottage in a coral wood
that only hunters might ever stumble upon.

Who knows where Nautilus is stranded ?
Who knows where its journey ended?
Who knows where Nemo’s treasures are gone?
Who knows where Nautilus went down?

Nautilus could bring gold and pearls to light,
chains draped in the jaws of treasure chests.
Beams of white sunlight might break clouds of kelp,
sparkle on diamonds and silver chalices.

Yet if these treasures came within my grasp
I know I’d leave them undisturbed.
As a child’s eyes always open on wonder
I’d forsake wealth to see all that shining drowned.

Who knows where Nautilus is stranded ?
Who knows where its journey ended?
Who knows where Nemo’s treasures are gone?
Who knows where Nautilus went down?

I would find riches, but yearn to take nothing.
certain that Nemo, in Jules Verne’s tale,
might live on in my mind as it sleeps each night –
may he forgive any avarice this song invites.

For it is good that no-one knows the island
where Nemo lived and the Nautilus drowned.
Let us preserve the memory of the Nautilus,
keep its treasures unknown, for everyone.

Who knows where Nautilus is stranded ?
Who knows where its journey ended?
Who knows where Nemo’s treasures are gone?
Who knows where Nautilus went down?

2 Responses to “Vaclav Neckar: Nautilus (Supraphon, 1970)”

  1. Radim October 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Where have you found that Vaclav Zahradnik did the string orchestration on Nautilus? I do not think that it is true….

  2. wayneburrows October 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    It’s an error in transcription I hadn’t noticed from the 7″ label – it should obviously have read Josef Vobruba not Vaclav Zahradnik but I think my notes must have transposed the credit with that of another 45. It’s now corrected in the intro, so thanks for pointing it out.

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