Quando nascette Ninno

Even with a dialup internet connection, I have found that the BBC Radio Player works, as long as I use Safari instead of Firefox. Yesterday morning I was listening to the October 29 Early Music Show and heard a familiar bit in the introductory medley. The last item on the play list was Villanelle napoletane del XVI secolo.
I found some information on folkinfo.org including what I was looking for, that is was probably the source for No. 20 Air for Alto “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd” from Händel’s Messiah. He had traveled to Rome as a young man, and probably heard it there.

Quando nascette Ninno a Betlemme
era notte e pareva miezjuorno
maie le stelle lustre e belle
se vedettero accussì
e ‘a cchiù lucente
jette a chiammà li Magge all’Uriente.

Nun v’erano nemmice pe’ la terra
la pecora pasceva c”o lione
c”o crapette se vedette
‘o liupardo pazzeà
l’urzo e ‘o vetiello
e co lu lupo ‘mpace ‘o pecoriello.

The version presented by the Florentine group Accademia San Felice was sung in peasant style with an accompaniment that sounded like a hurdy gurdy, completely charming.

In English speaking countries, it is known as The Bagpiper’s Carol. I have been trying to interest some people in doing that aria from the Messiah for quite a while with no results. Perhaps with the arrangement provided by Mary and Douglas Brooks-Davies on the Choral Public Domain Library Wiki which has a simpler accompaniment than Händel’s version will be more agreeable?

A while back a person (who I usually try to avoid because of their negative attitude) challenged me about how I came to know so much about music. I guess the reason is that even after years of study, I still find surprises like this and the fascination continues to grow…

About Kathy

Perl, MySQL, CGI scripting, web design, graphics following careers as an analytical chemist and educator, then in IT as a database administrator (DBA), programmer, and server administrator. Diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy in 1997.
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