Torna a Surriento

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I was sure we already had a thread for this one, but I can't find one.

    Ernesto de Curtis (1875-1937): Torna a Surriento (Come Back To Sorrento)
    Arranged by Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni

    This is one of the classic Neapolitan songs, recorded by everybody. There's an English version as "Come Back To Sorrento" and the Elvis adaptation as "Surrender".

    Somewhat surprisingly, I have not so far managed to record a version of my own, so here is one, using my Ceccherini bowlback, built when this song was composed. Arrangement by our much-missed musical friend Evelyn, in the key of D major/minor rather than the more common E.

    1890s Umberto Ceccherini mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin (x2)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  2. Gelsenbury
    Very nice Italian vibe! Perfect with my morning coffee.
  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Suits the bowlback, Martin. It is one of those tunes which everyone seems to know but, as you say, we do not get round to laying down a recording of it.

    I have a problem with this song as I know the version penned by the late Matt McGinn, one of the great singer/songwriters of the folk revival in Scotland. Matt's version has as its first verse:

    "On the beach at Portobello,
    Maggie fell in wi' a fellow,
    His hair was black, his teeth were yellow,
    Doon by the Portobello pier."

    As you can imagine, it is a rather scurrilous wee ditty about unglamorous courtship in a seaside romance in Edinburgh's nearest beach, the Italian-sounding Portobello. This romance happens in November, rather than in the summer. Who says we Scots are not a romantic lot!
  4. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Ahh the Italians! I’ve just finished my aubergine and goat cheese pizza (thanks to my mother for the bread making machine -great dough in 45 minutes).

    Fine performance Martin, good choice, you decided to go with Pavarotti rather than his orchestra?

    Here’s Mister Pavarotti doing his stuff:
    Notice at 1:40 the orchestra is left to go it alone for fifteen seconds, maybe more. BUT leaderless, they are clearly playing a flat waltz time.
    Pavarotti wades in and it’s swing time for him, triplets if you like, for a while. Then he changes back to a waltz. Then swing. Then a slow air?

    Ha, ha, not the easiest tune to play.

    About the lyrics John, yes I agree, not easy choice. In the past I’ve refused to sing a song for political reasons, sexist, racist, etc, and some of them are great songs! Now I realise it’s because I was afraid of how the audience would take it but also how my personal values would be affected. Effected.
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Dennis/John/Simon.

    John: Yes, I can see how that would be off-putting. Similar to how "O Sole Mio" is now difficult to play without thinking of Cornetto ice cream. Or, for the Germans here, listening to "Wild Rover" without thinking of Klaus & Klaus. Yesterday, I was checking out Elvis's "Surrender" which I have no conscious recollection of ever hearing before, and that is pretty disconcerting too.

    Simon: I keep getting told off when we play with our group and I start swinging my quavers on the waltzes. As you have found from Pavarotti, Surriento works either way. Pavarotti's rubato is a bit extreme. I was using a bit less, conscious of the fact that I would have to overdub the other parts to the lead afterwards.

  6. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Great recording Martin and thanks for introducing this song to SAW. I miss the Italian stuff.
    I had recorded a version of Surriento as one of my first uploads to YT.
    At 1:09 there appears a well known guy(at least in Germany) who posed with a mandolin.
    Whether he was really able to play it, I don't know. Do you remember him?
  7. Christian DP
    Christian DP
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Christian. Nice playing. Very relaxed.

    Yes, I do indeed recognise him! There's an article about that photo here, and you can still buy the poster from the SPD party online shop here.

  9. Brian560

    Excellent versions Martin and Christian. I was working on this tune a couple months back and thought I might as well post it. The percussion track was something I did on garage band.
  10. Gelsenbury
    The Willy Brandt photo reminds me of a radio interview with Hannes Wader, in which he said "Social democrats used to play mandolin. It was just like that." Presumably the working men's mandolin orchestras had much to do with that association.
  11. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Freshly baked garlic bread and veggie soup for supper.
    Mi piace mangiare il pane all'aglio!!!
  12. Bren
    Here's 35 seconds of me trying (and failing) to correctly remember Torna a Surriento at a trade show in Ravenna, Italy last year.

  13. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    CC remarkable fine performance, love the rhythm.
    Brian 560 that is the strangest tune I’ve heard for a long time, with two tempos, I really like it! It’s refreshing, could be the sound track for a film.
    More Bren! that’s a great tremolo you have too.
  14. Bren
    Thanks Simon.
    If I understand my colleague's Italian correctly, he identified the tune, (which is compliment enough for me!)
    Then he started "Do you know the ..." and if I remember correctly, he asked for Flower of Scotland. (being a rugby player from NE Italy, he has heard it many times)
  15. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Christian, Martin, Brian and Bren, four very diverse versions delivered, all with a definite individual touch! As Simon says, Brian, your combined rhythms are so out of the ordinary; I found myself listening to the melody then the backing, then trying to isolate each from the other. You made a fine job of playing that melody over the rhythmic pattern you set.
    Bren, the power of music to unite! You play an Italian tune to an Italian and he then asks for a Scottish one in return. Music is indeed the universal language.
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