Napoli

Some more classic Neapolitan songs

Hi my lovely dears!

This post will be about some more of my favourite classic Neapolitan songs.

In a previous article I talked about my (personal) top four as far as classic Neapolitan songs are concerned. Here I talk about some more songs that are part of the traditional Neapolitan repertoire and I particularly like.

I should, though, tell you that many of the songs I put in this post are really classic style, so lyrical songs, and I put the version that was originally recorded a century ago (when they had just been written).

1. Je te voglio bene assaje

This song, meaning literally I love you so much, seems to have been around already in 1839. The authors are not ascertained, but the words have been attributed to the Neapolitan poet Raffaele Sacco and the music to Gaetano Donizetti.

It talks about a man that can’t live or sleep because the woman he loves, about whom he’s constantly thinking, is just hurting him, playing with him and lying to him, despite having promised him love in the past. He will keep loving her until he dies, so much that despite everything he’s sure she will miss him after he’s dead.

2. Torna a Surriento

The song, whose title means ‘Come back to Sorrento’, was supposedly written in 1902 by Ernesto de Curtis (music) and his brother Giambattista De Curtis (lyrics), though it was probably out already in 1894. According to the stories, the song was requested to Giambattista De Curtis by the mayor of Sorrento, Guglielmo Tramontano, to celebrate the stay of the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Zanardelli in the city and ask him to come back there and not forget about the city, which was quite poor, and to give the help he promised.

This song actually celebrates the beauties of Sorrento, its sea that inspires love, the gardens with the orange trees, the smells, the women. Then, the author asks to somebody that is leaving how he/she could do this, how he/she would find courage, and beg him/her to come back so that he can find peace.

3. Core’ngrato

‘Core ‘ngrato’ literally means ‘Ungrateful heart’. It is about a man that suffers because the woman he’s in love with (Caterina) doesn’t love him anymore and just seems to be getting over him already as she speaks to him. He also tells her the pain she’s causing to him, and that she stole his life and his heart without any regrets or compassion, while he can’t forget her.

This song was written in 1911 by Salvatore Cardillo (music) and Riccardo Cordiferro (music), a pseudonym of Alessandro Sica. Both were born in Naples, but emigrated to America, and actually this song was written in America probably for Enrico Caruso. The version I put here is a digitally remastered version of the original recording by Caruso done a century ago.

4. Marechiare

This song is named after a characteristic neighbourhood right on the seaside of Naples, called Marechiaro (literally bright/light sea), known for its marvellous view and the traditional restaurant. The lyrics were written by Salvatore Di Giacomo, one of the most known Neapolitan poets of the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, when he went there and saw a nice window overlooking the sea with a carnation on the windowsill.

The songs actually celebrates the beauty of the sea seen from Marechiaro in the moonlight, with its colours and sounds, while a carnation adds even more colours and perfumes from a window. In this view there is also a sky full of stars, which remind the poet of the eyes of his beloved woman.

5. Munasterio ‘e Santa Chiara

This song, whose title means literally Monastery of Saint Chiara, was written in 1945, so right after WWII, by Michele Galdieri (music) and Alberto Barberis (lyrics).

It tells about a Neapolitan emigrant, gone away to search a better life, that have much nostalgia of Naples. He really misses this city and thinks about it and its beautiful monuments full of history, like the Monastery of Saint Chiara (actually right in the very centre of Naples and one of the most worldwide known sites of Naples). Despite all the feelings, he is afraid to go back to Naples because of all the bad things he hears about it, and because he’s afraid of the conditions in which he will find the city after the bombardments happened during WWII.

6. ‘Nu quarto ‘e luna

The song’s title literally means ‘A quarter moon’. It was written in 1951 by Nino Oliviero (music) and Tito Manlio (lyrics). This songs is about a man that that sees a very cloudy sky with only a little of the moon visible, and he thinks about the woman he love and he becomes so very sad that he wants to cry. Despite doubting, or even knowing, that she doesn’t love him back and just deceives him, he can’t let her go.

What do you think of these songs? Do you have a favourite classical Neapolitan song? I hope to hear from you, and to see you soon on this blog. Ciao ciao!

 

 

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