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…