Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tutti morimmo a stento:
   Leggenda di Natale - Christmas Tale

Parlavi alla luna giocavi coi fiori
avevi l'età che non porta dolori
e il vento era un mago, la rugiada una dea,
nel bosco incantato di ogni tua idea
nel bosco incantato di ogni tua idea

E venne l'inverno che uccide il colore
e un Babbo Natale che parlava d'amore
e d'oro e d'argento splendevano i doni
ma gli occhi eran freddi e non erano buoni
ma gli occhi eran freddi e non erano buoni

Coprì le tue spalle d'argento e di lana
di pelle e smeraldi intrecciò una collana
e mentre incantata lo stavi a guardare
dai piedi ai capelli ti volle baciare
dai piedi ai capelli ti volle baciare

E adesso che gli altri ti chiamano dea
l'incanto è svanito da ogni tua idea
ma ancora alla luna vorresti narrare
la storia d'un fiore appassito a Natale
la storia d'un fiore appassito a Natale

Leggenda di Natale © 1968 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

"Leggenda di Natale" takes inspiration from "Le Père Noël et la petite fille" (1960) by Georges Brassens. While Brassens's song is more like a recitation of the pleasures and gifts a child receives at Christmas, De André's rendition is about loss of innocence.

You used to talk to the moon and play with the flowers,
you were of an age that didn’t wear sorrows.
And the wind was a sorcerer, the rust a goddess
in the enchanted forest of every one of your ideas,
in the enchanted forest of every one of your ideas.

And winter came to kill the color,
and a St. Nick who spoke of love,
and of gold and silver sparkled the gifts.
But his eyes were cold and they weren't nice,
but his eyes were cold and they weren't nice.

He covered your shoulders with silver and wool,
he wove a necklace of leather and emeralds,
and while enchanted you stayed to watch him,
from head to toe he wanted to kiss you,
from head to toe he wanted to kiss you.

And now that others call you a goddess
the enchantment has vanished from every one of your ideas.
But you’d still like to tell the moon
the story of a faded flower at Christmastime,
the story of a faded flower at Christmastime.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Tutti morimmo a stento, released in 1968, was one of the first concept albums in Italy. In De André's own words, the album "speaks of death, not of bubble gum death with little bones, but of psychological death, moral death, mental death, that a normal person can encounter during his lifetime." After the success of Volume I, De André was provided for this next album a cutting edge recording studio complete with an 80-member orchestra, directed by Gian Piero Reverberi, and a children's chorus. The whole project was under the direction of Gian Piero's brother Gian Franco Reverberi. This album also met with commercial success, becoming the highest selling album in Italy in 1968. In 1969 a version of the album was made with De André re-recording the vocals in English. The album was not officially released.
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