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The music of Carlo Alberto Rossi, A chi darai i tuoi baci

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[Monday Notes No 38] Carlo Alberto Rossi wrote over six hundred songs during his long and successful career. His name is associated with that of Mina, who made some of his songs famous, such as E se domani, Amore baciami, Le mille bolle blu.

In such a vast work it is inevitable that some songs have gone more or less unnoticed, as is the case with A chi darai i tuoi baci. The song was performed at Cantagiro 1962 by the delightful Jenny Luna, a nursery school teacher who was a singer and actress for a decade, before returning to teaching.

Born in Rimini, Carlo Alberto Rossi was strongly inspired by American music. Sergio Zavoli has defined him as the Italian Cole Porter, and the definition is apt because there are many similarities between the two composers: the wide-ranging production, the often broad and unusual form of the pieces, a certain way of conducting the melody on the tensions of the chord.

For example, at measure 1 the melody rests on the major 7th of the chord (a similar beginning to E se domani, the most famous of his pieces); at measure 7 the theme lingers on the augmented 5th of the chord (C♭).

A chi darai i tuoi baci-prima strofa

The song is also very unusual in terms of its form: the structure is the classic AABA but the A part in its second and third repetition (A2 and A3) is two measures shorter.

A1Beginning of the piece16 bars
A20'30''14 bars
B0'51''8 bars
A31'03''14 bars

With this device, Carlo Alberto Rossi anticipates the listener's expectations, surprising and disorienting them.

Rossi combined the Italian melodic tradition with the most sophisticated jazz harmonic solutions. His pieces have made their way to the forefront, being interpreted by artists such as Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan. Certainly a great and well-deserved satisfaction for the "Cole Porter" of Rimini.

Until next Monday!

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