|Work Title||Il bacio|
|First Publication||1860 - London: Cramer, Beale and Chappell, plate 7351, 10 pages|
|Librettist||Gottardo Aldighieri (1824–1906)|
What is Luigi Arditi's song IL bacio all about?
A young girl who wants her sweetheart to kiss her. Il Bacio is Italian for "the kiss."
A rough translation of the song is,
Kiss me, darling kiss me, let me hold you in sweet love's embrace, let me press your lips to mine. Love, I'm burning to tell you secrets of love. Forever and ever, close beside you, I would whisper that I love you, pleading for one more caress. Then, I would tenderly hear your heartbeats confess. I have no desire for diamonds or jewels because love is all that I need to capture my heart. Oh, my sweetheart, one little kiss, my treasure. Come here and kiss me.
- by Gottardo Aldighieri (1824 - 1906) , title unknown
- by Luigi Arditi (1822 - 1903) , "Il bacio" [
Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
If I could only give you a kiss on your lips, It would tell you all the delights of love, Abiding to speak a thousand joys to you! Ah, thus it would speak to you along with my heart's palpitations. I do not desire gems or pearls, nor do I seek others' affections. Your look is my delight, your kiss is my treasure. Ah! Come! Do not delay! Ah! Come! Let us enjoy love's life-giving intoxication. Ah!
Published on Dec 28, 2013
Il Bacio, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
Description by "Blue" Gene Tyranny
This spectacularly uplifting waltz was to become the most popular of this composer-conductor's many songs and ballads. The constant invention apparent in his orchestral pieces, and in his three early operas I briganti (1841), Il corsaro, and La spia (1856), is at work here, generating surprising and elegantly flowing melodic turns throughout.
The memorable main theme has a syncopated lilt that seems to have been influenced by the offbeat accents of the German Ländler combined with the general flow of the continental waltz. This theme is introduced by two chromatic lines in contrary motion playing a standard, and by now somewhat corny, march band lead-in.
The staccato rhythm of the melody perfectly describes the nearly breathless anticipation of a lover looking forward to pressing "one sweet kiss" on his beloved's lips. The line gradually sneaks upward ("Sulle, sulle labre, sulle labra, se potessi, dolce un bacio..." / on, on your lips, on your lips, I would place one sweet kiss), the singer's desire finally declared in a short outburst on the highest pitches, projected in a full legato resonance.
The bridge extends the offbeats in a "brilliante e staccato" style and modulates to a higher key, the melody no longer tiptoeing around but released in a dynamic, fortissimo abandon. The line suddenly returns to the stealthy staccato pianissimo, dipping and scooping, as the singer implies that he "would tell thee all the sweets of love divine."
The syncopated rhythm on the word "sulle" at the beginning is now applied to "sempre" (always, or, still) for the second verse, as the poet assures his beloved that all he wishes to do is sit by her side always and murmur a thousand tender words.
A quick modulation to the subdominant key introduces a new motif, a kind of melismatic vocalise with sighs, triplet turns, and stunning scale runs ("Gemme e perle non desio" / I do not desire gems and pearls). An instrumental interlude expands on the previous melodic idea and amplifies the tension with cavalier, thrilling dissonances.
Modulating once more to a new key, another melodic idea, a legato version of the "dipping and scooping" combined with the syncopated staccato, begins in a gentle pianissimo. A wonderful afterbeat pattern, tambourine-like, is added to the accompaniment, as the vocalist begs his love to "draw nigh to me."
After another brief instrumental interlude, the instruments play the main theme while the voice executes an expansive, virtuosic melisma that touches the heart with its pleading to be enfolded in an embrace. The impression is that the initial melody is simultaneously creating that "enfolding."
The first verse is recapitulated, the voice weaves new wide-ranging arpeggios among the tune. The coda expands the theme first developed in the subdominant key. The harmony gradually modulates upward as the voice obsesses on one high note (i.e., as an inverted pedal point). The voice suddenly rushes upward to its highest peak as the poet once more entreats the lover to "draw nigh to me."