Folk Music from the Heart of Italy (Folk Music of Italy programs, episode 6)
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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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T572: The flowering of the stornello, example from Veneto, but the stornello is found all over central Italy. The Italian journey will take us from the fishermen of Chioggia (Veneto) (example of fishermen chantey) southward to the Po valley to Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, and Abruzzo. Ballad of Rosina, sung by schoolgirls. Ballad of the Three Sisters sung by fisherman's wives as they mend their nets. Polyphony from a tavern in the Po valley. Romagna and the influence of composed choral folk song. Alan explains the background and circumstances of collecting these songs and discusses such issues as the effect of replacement of living traditions in the nineteenth century by sheet music and choral folk revivals.
Po Valley wheelbarrow mens' song ("A Mezzanotte in punto) (Noi siamo i scarriolanti) sung with great verve by a trained male and female chorus from Romagna. Solo harvest song, "Canta la cigale.' Classic ballad: "Cecilia."
T573: Country dance with accordion. Choral songs in valley and solo singing in the hills, Trescone (figure dance with skipping step) from Riolunato, near Modena. Song: "La bella veneziana." Maggio (sung play) from Reggio Emilia based on Tasso, long passages of sung poetry. Alan reads passage from the ironic Renaissance chivalric poetry of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (in English translation). Orlando still inspires the traditions of Pistoia region. A May song, "Maidens arise." Vittorio, a charcoal burner, who is the town poet, sings a poem about the lives of the charcoal burners and talks about a 4-way improvised poetry contest (debate) he once participated in, in which he took the part of the earth, and others the sky, etc.
T574A Alan proposes (in Italian) donkeys, animal and human, as a subject for an extemporized ottava rima. Vittorio happily complies on the spot, to bystander applause.
Strambotto (from a Provencal improvised couplet) is the root of the stornello, always formerly in the form of a debate. A stornello is heard (a dispetto, or song of spite) from Arezzo, the town where musical notation (do-re-mi- scale) was invented.
T575: Peasant tarentella with rubbed tambourines.
Strange seven-part harmonies of group, the The Red Birds, of the Fontanini of Casteldelpiano, recorded separately and together.
Stornelli performance-syles by 1) peasant woman with accordion, contrasted with 2) professional night-club entertainer, and 3) mountain bagpipe player playing stornello with bagpipe accompaniment outside his own door to ask his wife's forgiveness for coming home late drunk (followed by saltarello with tambourine with wife and children).
Choir of virgins singing religious pageant in Lazio, at source of Tiber above Tivoli.
Folk polyphony of Frosinone.
The female and male polyphony of Abruzzo.
Choral music inspired by the efforts of nineteenth century folk collectors that resulted in an organized choral revival movement made famous by contributions of D'Annunzio has resulted in renewed folk tradition.
T577: Choralized music continued. Instrumental music for called-figure dancing and "Scura m'hai" the widow's lament sung by Giuseppillo from Scano (this is a Greek-influenced song).
The polyphony of the Adriatic plains and its similarties to that of Yugoslavia.