23 May 2018

“Voce ‘e notte”, a love song written on the tables of a cafe

Article by Michele Sergio published in Il Roma of 20 May 2018

The historic Caffè Gambrinus, especially between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was the favorite location for artists and musicians to spend idle hours and, often, compose and write melodies between an ice cream and a glass of wine, a coffee and a pastry. . It is precisely at the tables of the famous meeting that many songs were written that today are part of the great heritage of classical Neapolitan music. One of these masterpieces is the marvelous Voice and the passionate night of a suffering lover. It is said that Eduardo Nicolardi, at the age of 25, editor of the daily “Don Marzio” and poet for pleasure, one day in 1903 was a thunderbolt and fell madly in love with the eighteen year old Anna Rossi. The young woman from the balcony of his house returned with passionate glances the nascent passion. When Nicolardi found the courage to ask her father for the hand of the girl, the latter, Commendatore Gennaro Rossi, a horse race dealer, told him that he would marry his daughter only to a rich man. As Nicolardi, it was not, great was his disappointment at the position taken by his beloved’s father and even greater was when he learned that his Anna went to marry a rich landowner of 75 years! The girl had to accept, in spite of herself, the paternal decision and together with her husband she went to live in Via Santa Teresa.

But Nicolardi did not give up: every night he went under the bride and groom in the hope of once again meeting, at least, her gaze. One night Eduardo had the sudden sensation that Anna was desiring him, even though he could not meet him. Inspired in this way at the Caffè Gambrinus, also open late at night and wrote the verses of the famous song.

Music by Ernesto De Curtis, Voce ‘e notte was made famous by the great Neapolitan song and particularly, in the atmosphere version, by Peppino di Capri.

The fate rewarded the tenacity of Eduardo in fact, just a year after the marriage, Anna’s elderly husband passed to better life and Nicolardi finally managed to get married to the young widow. Their marriage was long (almost 50 years) and happy (the two had eight children!).

Si ‘sta voce te scéta ‘int”a nuttata,
mentre t’astrigne ‘o sposo tujo vicino”¦
Statte scetata, si vuà³’ stà¡ scetata,
ma fa’ vedé ca duorme a suonno chino”¦

Nun ghà­ vicino ઠllastre pe’ fà¡ ‘a spia,
pecché nun puà³ sbaglià¡ ‘sta voce è ‘a mia”¦
E’ ‘a stessa voce ‘e quanno tutt’e duje,
scurnuse, nce parlà¡vamo cu ‘o “vvuje”.

Si ‘sta voce te canta dint”o core
chello ca nun te cerco e nun te dico;
tutt”o turmiento ‘e nu luntano ammore,
tutto ll’ammore ‘e nu turmiento antico”¦

Si te vène na smania ‘e vulé bene,
na smania ‘e vase cà³rrere p”e vvéne,
nu fuoco che t’abbrucia comm’a che,
và¡sate a chillo”¦che te ‘mporta ‘e me?

Si ‘sta voce, che chiagne ‘int”a nuttata,
te sceta ‘o sposo, nun avé paura”¦
Vide ch’è senza nomme ‘a serenata,
dille ca dorme e che se rassicura”¦

Dille accussà­: “Chi canta ‘int’a ‘sta via
o sarrà¡ pazzo o more ‘e gelusia!
Starrà¡ chiagnenno quacche ‘nfamità¡”¦
Canta isso sulo”¦Ma che canta a fà¡?!”¦”