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Thread: Bocca Profumata (F. Francia, 1897), Italian waltz

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Bocca Profumata (F. Francia, 1897), Italian waltz

    Ferdinando Francia (d. 1904): "Bocca profumata" - Valzer, Op. 192
    Published in "Il Mandolino", 30 August 1897


    This is a lovely Italian waltz for two mandolins and guitar, written by Ferdinando Francia, who was an Italian mandolinist and guitarist, who died in Genoa on June 13 1904. I don't know if he was any relation to Leopoldo Francia, then the world's most famous mandolin soloist.

    "Bocca profumata" means "perfumed mouth" and was also used at the time as an advertising slogan for Odol mouthwash. Odol first came on the market a few years earlier in 1892, so I am making the connection and suspect that Francia may have taken some advertising money from Odol -- he would hardly have been the only one: Giacomo Puccini even went as far as writing a song with the unsubtle title "L’ode all’ Odol" for them.

    I have used the original 1897 public domain sheet music from "Il Mandolino" for my recording, which is at:

    http://www.vpmusicmedia.altervista.o..._profumata.pdf

    I'm not the first modern player to have revived this tune: the Montreal-based mandolin trio Str3tto have a live video here and have published a commercial modern edition (which I have not used) at:

    https://productionsdoz.com/product/4...ofumata-op-195

    For my recording, I have played the tune on a vintage Italian bowlback mandolin from the same period (double-tracked) with tenor guitar backing.

    1890s Umberto Ceccherini mandolin (x2)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar



    Martin

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  3. #2
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bocca Profumata (F. Francia, 1897) , Italian waltz

    I handed out copies of this waltz at our weekly group rehearsal yesterday for a sightread playthrough -- for those who run practice groups or informal classical gatherings, I can confirm that it's perfectly suitable for sightreading at intermediate level and pretty accessible for advanced beginners as well. Popular tune with everybody, I thought, except that the road map through the piece is a bit convoluted (IAABBACCDCIA if anybody is interested...).

    We were giving the second mandolin part to the OM, because that better matches our lineup and also gives a bit more bottom to the arrangement for larger groups of players.

    Martin

  4. #3

    Default Re: Bocca Profumata (F. Francia, 1897) , Italian waltz

    I've just begun noodling with this one. Thanks, Martin. Sparks writes that Ferdinando was Leopoldo's father, and the dates I've found do line up.

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