Songs of the Italian Alps (Folk Music of Italy programs, episode 5)
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An 8-part series of Italian folk music produced and hosted by Alan Lomax for the BBC's Third Programme. The recordings were made by Lomax during his Italian field trip in 1954 and early 1955; the series was compiled before his return to England in the early spring of 1955.
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T568: From Friuli, moving eastward to Provence, is the region of polyphony and of various influences from the north. Polyphony from a café in Friuli. Villotte -- lyric love songs are often in quattrains like lullabies. Cividale shepherd quester singing voices are like a German chorus, they use the Arabic friction drum like an (oom-pah) kettle drum.
The isolated Slavic colony of Val de Resia, where Carnival is the time for weddings. Choral love songs sung by groups of girls. The Resiana is a figure dance with fiddles.
Carnian Alps -- Austrian influence, they speak Ladino. "Ai mangiato un gran di uva." Love songs and more lullabies.
T570: Tavern singing of love songs and the country roots of the villotte. "Vai a Londra, Rosina." Alan wonders if the Protestant hymn tunes were taken by Calvin from Alpine folksongs such as these. The (Austrian- sounding) Furlana, a waltz.
In many Alpine regions the folk traditions have eroded. The ascendancy of arranged Alpine choral versions of stornelli. Trentino. The Tyrol: "Oi, la, la, Susanna." Austrian-style sentimental (but lovely) zither music.
Lombardy. Val di Seriana. The country of the Lombards. Lullaby. Ballads, a Celtic substratum? Other scholars before Alan Lomax have noticed the cultural divide between northern and southern Italian singing styles: "La bella inglese" ("The Outlandish Knight," Child No. 4), sung in chorus. The pan pipe orchestra of Botanuco. Rice culture.
T569: Gurro. Story of the Scots mercenaries who settled there during the Renaissance. Strange marriage customs suggest a history of abductions: weddings took place in the middle of the night. Absence of husbands who go away to work and Alan's difficulty getting the women to sing. Girls sing "Mamma mia, dammi cento lire." Other ballads.
Val d'Aosta. French and Swiss influences.
Tonco and the grape harvest. Montferrina. "Donna, donna," a waltz. Soldiers' farewell songs. "Mazzolin di fiori" ("The bouquet of flowers") beloved of most Italians (Alan doesn't know why). Alan wonders where the ballads are.
T571: He found a great ballad and great polyphonic singing tradition in Ceriana in Liguria: "The Captain's Beautiful Daughter" (sung polyphonically). "Dona Lombarda ("Rosalinda" from the Chronicle of the Lombards, [originally Theodolinda?], is the most famous ballad. Example of a ballad with guitar accompaniment "Mia madre di buon mattina me fa alzar" ("The Knight and the Girl at the Fountain"). But ballad with choral refrain is the main tradition and was formerly danced, "Teresina."
7-part trallalero style of the dockworkers of Genoa.