Matteo Casserino tunes

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Most members of this group will be aware of Bruce Zweig's wonderful tribute site to the late Matteo Casserino (1911-2001), who was Bruce's duo partner at the Caffe Trieste sessions in San Francisco for much of the 1990s. At Bruce's site, there is a free download of Matteo's 1970s solo album "Silent Fountain", as well as a multipage TIF file with handwritten charts (lead melody and chords) for 14 of his songs:

    Link to Bruce Zweig's Matteo page
    Direct link to charts (.TIF)

    All of these songs also appear in Sheri Mignano's book "Mandolin Melodies", based on Matteo's charts with Sheri adding double stops and occasional harmonies.

    I've just recorded a couple of Matteo's tunes, using these charts (and in the case of Mezza Notte also Sheri's harmony part). These have been recorded on an 1890s Umberto Ceccherini bowlback, with double-tracked tenor guitar backing. The Ceccherini is very enjoyable on this sort of material!

    1. Napoli Tutta Luce (C.A. Baxio): This is a 1930s Neapolitan song, by the same composer as "Mamma" and "Parlami d'Amore Mariu", which was recorded by many Neapolitan singers, including Vittorio de Sica and Carlo Buti both of whose versions are on Youtube.

    2. Mezza Notte (unknown composer): I know nothing else about this ballo liscio waltz, but I like it and Sheri's nice second mandolin harmonies.

  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Updated to add another Matteo piece: this one is "La Romanina", a fast waltz originally from a song recorded by many Italian singers, and even Connie Francis:

  3. themelodist79
    Thanks for posting, Martin. Sheri Mignano's book is indeed an invaluable gold mine. I recorded "Mio Dolce Sogno" using her chart, and putting together the background track with Band-in-a-box.
    It's available on my YouTube channel:

    I'm also planning to record "La Romanina". I learned the tune from my grandfather (I grew up in Italy), and I find it very charming.

    Incidentally, it's interesting to note that many tunes in Sheri's book are not known in Italy, if not from American recordings (having being composed in the United States), but would nonetheless sound vaguely familiar. "Mio dolce sogno" is a good example. Of course, other tunes in the collection (like "La Romanina" or "Signora Fortuna") were very popular in Italy in the old days.

  4. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Here is another of the Matteo tunes from Sheri's book -- "Un viaggio a Messina (Una gita)". It's not in the charts on Bruce Zweig's site, but he has a recording by Matteo for download. Sheri wrote a lovely new second mandolin part for the revised edition of her book in 2006, and it has been part of the repertoire of our mandolin ensemble ever since with our mandola player taking the second mandolin part one octave down. The tune is also on the "Mando Liscio" album by "Mattinata di Matteo", which is an occasional band with Sheri and our fellow group member Matt Vuksinich (also of the Hot Frittatas). Sheri's liner notes are:

    “Viaggio a Messina” (aka “Una Gita”). The Voyage Crossing to Messina. The mile span between Reggio Calabria and Sicily’s Messina is a ‘short trip.’ Made famous as Odysseus’ treacherous crossing between Scylla and Caribides. Matteo brought this tune to the Trieste from Sicily. Unknown composer. c. 1920.

    For my own recording I have played the first mandolin part on my Ceccherini bowlback, Sheri's second mandolin part on my Embergher and have added a rudimentary waltz rhythm on tenor guitar.

  5. Mandophile
    Did you know that the late Butch Baldassare was used in the soundtrack and played "Mio dolce Sogno" in Woody Allen's "To Rome, With Love". It's probably the only authentic song in the entire movie. There's a motif Allen uses for the 'enchantment' of Rome but nothing does it like a good ol' mandolin waltz!
  6. Mandophile

    Here's my Caffe Trieste mandolin ensemble "Mattinata di Matteo"
    c. 2008-2009 performing "Mio Dolce Sogno" for the local accordion club. Enjoy!
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