About This Work
Leoncavallo's charming Mattinata, whose title translates as "Morning Song," is a greeting from a lover to his beloved. He calls to her to awaken and to come down to him. The dawn is dressed in white, giving joy to the earth. The narrator
asks the object of his affections to likewise dress and give joy to him: "Ove non sei, la luca manca, ove tu sei, nasce l'amor!" ("Where you are not, the light cannot shine, where you are, love is born!").
The music is appropriately cheerful; the keyboard provides an accompaniment of swift major-key arpeggios and scales, calling for a light touch on the part of the pianist. The vocal line follows the same pattern for most of the song; the last lines of the setting receive a more operatic treatment, including higher and longer-held notes.
The song, written to Leoncavallo's own text, quickly became a recital and concert favorite among tenors; it is, however, occasionally sung by baritones, mezzo-sopranos, and sopranos. Its popularity is such that it has attained the status of a folk song in the composer's native Italy.
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