How many people actually listen to the words of their favorite songs? I didn’t, until..the Lascia Ch’io Pianga incident.
It was several years ago, I was preparing to play for a Catholic Wedding. My wife was singing (she’s a classically trained Soprano) and was also helping me pick the appropriate music. The musical selections were chosen mostly by the bride, but with our input. Everything was going swell, I was on the phone playing examples and the bride seemed very pleased. Then we got to the music for the groom and groomsmen to enter. I drew a blank. “How about a Renaissance piece?” I played a few bars. Hmmm, no luck. Then it hit me. Lascia Ch’io Pianga! It is one of my all time favorites. I played it for her, she loved it! Success. I started telling her all about it, how it was a famous Handel aria, and it was called Lascia Ch’io Pianga, which means…Well that I didn’t know. I turned to my wife who was listening in. She started gesturing wildly at me, making that cut off motion with her hand back and forth across her neck. “What?” I said. Still not getting it I asked again, “Honey, what does Lascia Ch’io Pianga mean?” More wild gesturing, did she not like the song? This went on a few minutes. My wife at this point realizes that I’m not going to give up until I get an answer.
“It means ‘Let me weep over my cruel fate’.”
I relayed it to the bride. No response. I tried to cover, I mean I’m doing an instrumental version, who really knows the words? It hit me like a ton of bricks, you should know the words to the pieces you are playing! I mean what if this was an Italian family, all lovers of Opera! (In fact this happened to me years later while playing the piece. When will I learn!)
Would you believe that she actually went with the song?
Despite the title, it’s an amazing piece. Please feel free to share it. Enjoy!
Translation of Lyrics:
Let me weep over my cruel fate, And that I long for freedom! And that I long, and that I long for freedom! Let me weep over my cruel fate, And that I long for freedom!