Mixtape VI, Music As Reading Goes To Italy
Mai quest’onda mai mi affonderà, gli squali non mi avranno mai. Mai quest’onda mai mi affonderà …Sha la la la la Sha la la la la la, un’altra volta un’altra onda. Sha la la la la Sha la la la la la, quanto resisterai?
As you may have noticed on Wednesday, Music As Reading has gone to Italy!
Hence, this week’s mixtape comes to you from Italy! What follows is five Italian manifestations of something with a fair bit in common with the Music As Reading project. Part one, Opera, speaks for itself: opera is a musical reading of a historical or fictional narrative, a scattering of empty, useless words made sense of only by music, arguably the very concept of music as reading’s most sublime form. These two arias performed best of all the Italian arias in Radio 3’s slightly jingoistic Nation’s Favourite Arias. Part two contains two tracks by that rare thing, music- and culture-literate Italian bands. It is this kind of artist that has filled up a majority of the preceding mixtapes’ content, that’s why they’re here. Part three is two themes from Fellini movie soundtracks – these significant to the project because of the general question of soundtracking and the way they attempt, opera-like, to read a narrative with music. That they are evidence of a fruitful relationship between a filmmaking genius and a compositional genius is also important. Part four is a cheat, two songs written into a couple of Shakespeare’s Italian plays – ignore the fact that the Willow Song is a traditional English folk piece, not important, what is, is that Shakespeare used it, music, to define Desdemona’s final moments. Oh, and finally, two Italian fragments of that most explicit (in every sense of the word) and unavoidable form of lyricism in action, the hippity-hop. One good, one very, very bad.
Part one, Opera
E Lucevan Le Stelle (from Tosca) – Giacomo Puccini
Casta Diva (from Norma) – Vincenzo Bellini
Part two, Literate bands
A New Start for Shoegazing Kids – Giardini di Mirò
It Was Bliss! – Settlefish
Part three, Film music
Toby Dammit Theme (from Fellini’s third of Tre Passi Nel Delirio) – Nino Rota
Aria Di Roma (from Fellini’s Roma) – Nina Rota
Part four, Shakespeare in Italy
Willow Song (from Othello) – arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Light o’ Love (from Two Gentlemen of Verona) – arranged by Tom Kines
Part five, Italian hip-hop
La Grande Onda – Piotta
Tranqi Funky – Articolo 31