Unlike the Anglo-Saxon world, there are almost no traditional Christmas songs in our country, with some sporadic exceptions; interest in this genre began to grow only in the 1950s, following the enormous international success of White Christmas, written by Irving Berlin and originally sung by Bing Crosby in 1942. In Italy, the Christmas carols instead were related to simple pastoral tunes where the instruments, the piva, the zampogna and the ciaramella reigned. These actually marked the agricultural and pastoral rituals of the whole year but, following the composition of Quanno nascette Ninno by Bishop Alfonso Maria de' Liguori (later translated by him from the Neapolitan into Italian with the title Tu scendi dalla stelle), they were deemed to be ideal for the traditionally inspired Christmas songs. There were innumerable variations on the theme of Tu scendi dalle stelle, and countless Pastorali recorded on disk in the 1930s and 1940s. Contrary to how it may seem, due to the original Latin verses, Adeste Fideles is a melody that actually has roots in Irish popular music. It was transcribed into the form we know in the mid-eighteenth century, for the repertoire of a Catholic choir from a town in northern France. Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht - Silent Night Holy Night - immediately became popular in our country. With the music composed by Franz Gruber and lyrics by Joseph Mohr in 1818, the classical composition then spread throughout Italy by way of the Tyrol, where it was translated and entitled Astro del ciel. This long playlist (32 tracks) deliberately mixes it up, going from light music to popular traditional, including a short comic scene recited by Gigi Pisano and Company, 'A tombola 'e Natale, which also turns out to be a precious document on the Neapolitan Smorfia - Book of Numbers in Dreams - connected to bingo, which gives each number a precise meaning, even if there is no lack of discrepancies between the various Smorfie documented over time.
The long playlist is a thematic soundtrack whose duration exceeds that of a normal playlist and offers the possibility to further explore a type of music or lyrics, a style, a historical period, an event etc. including discographic pearls and rarities of the past and present, alongside better-known pieces.
1 - Novena di Natale
Casa discografica: Fonit