I’m excited to be singing a Christmas concert in a few weeks, and in searching for repertoire, I suddenly remembered the great track Dormi O Bambino from the Three Tenor’s Christmas album in 2000. The song is so sweet, so beautiful, and so simple. I’m convinced almost any crowd would love it.
Searching for sheet music, I discovered a few things. For one, it’s not a published piece! Dormi O Bambino is actually a translation of a Polish folksong, a cradle lullaby, by the name of ‘Lulajze Jezuniu.’ What the Three Tenors sang was translated and arranged just for them, and never made commercially available.
I wanted to sing the song in Italian, which didn’t make things any easier. The Three Tenors album version is a mixture of Polish and Italian.
After searching fruitlessly for some time, I contacted Classical Vocal Reprints who, for those not in the know, are hands down the authority on finding rare or hard-to-find versions of sheet music. They’re amazing! (And better at what they do than most universities libraries…truly amazing!) But for the first time ever in my experience, they were unable to locate sheet music for me.
So here we are: unpublished music, in multiple translations, with no commercial version available anywhere.
Well, I did what any frustrated singer would do: I parked my butt in a chair, and listened to Carreras’ concert version fifteen times, and transcribed the Italian through a combination of lip reading and careful listening. (And Carreras’ muddy diction made this take quite a few listens!) I checked my transcription with a former Italian teacher of mine, who is a native Italian and currently teaches in Bologna. She helped me improve the quality of the transcription, and we worked out a finished product that we both feel is pretty darn accurate.
Here below is the transcription of Dormi O Bambino, all Italian. If you have a half decent pianist, they can arrange an accompaniment with interludes easily from any recording. I hope that by sharing this, I can save someone else some time!
Please feel free to share this with friends or colleagues (especially tenors looking for Christmas rep!). Enjoy!
Dormi, o bambino perlina mia; dormi amata dolcezza mia
Gesu or dormi, dormi o bambino e tu mammina culla il piccino.
Chiudi ti occhietti, colmi di pianto.
Calma il tuo viso così affranto
Gesu or ormi, dormi o bambino, e tu mammina culla il piccino.
Gesu or dormi, dormi o piccino, e tu mammina culla il bambino
E tu mammina culla il piccino.
November 25, 2017