Letters and Comments
to The Hot Frittatas
Re: The Hot Frittatas recording of “Speranze Perdute” (on the Caffe Liscio CD)
Dear Hot Frittatas:
Here is the story about “Speranze Perdute” as told to me by my Grandmother and my Mother, and its connection to our family.
On a coldFebruary night in 1931 in Philadelphia on Keystone St. my Grandfather Giacomo Marino was in his bedroom laying in his bed dying of pneumonia. He had been taken ill for many days and two doctors both had pronounced that there was nothing more they could do for him, he had been racked with fevers off and on but he had kept rebounding, but now he was weak and tired.
Giacomo had emigrated to America in 1923, he was a highly skilled carpenter and cabinet maker and within seven years he had developed a very successful contracting firm. He brought his wife and daughter of 7 to America in 1930. My Grandmother would always tell the story of how he walked her through the door of a palace that was completely furnished, furniture that he made was everywhere, that even when she walked to her kitchen in the “Gabino” there was a big piece of “prociutto” hanging waiting for her. ( My Grandmother was the worlds greatest Frittata maker, there were nights when a Frittata was our main course.) But the thing that endeared Giacomo to everyone that knew him was that he was an ardent musician, He could play five instruments. He played the Piano, Clarinet, Guitar, Mandolin and his favorite the violin.
So on that night, as he lay dying, his closest friends came to visit him, and of course they brought their instruments to play for him, thinking to cheer him up. As the story goes there was an accordion, a guitar and another Violin/mandolin player by the name of Giavanni Calarone. (who when I was a small boy I heard play at gatherings, and told the same story and always commented that my Grandfather was the best player he ever played along with. This would have been in the early 60’s and he was in his ninety’s).
So they played a few songs and the night was getting on, but before they left they asked if he would play one song before they left, after a bit of coaxing he brightened up and asked my Grandmother to get his violin. He had played with these men since they were boys in Italy, he picked his violin up checked the tuning and with a tap of his bow, he began playing “Speranze Perdute” the rest of them having played for years with him joined in.
At the end they said their good-bye’s and left. That night he asked my Grandmother to leave the instrument and he fell asleep with his hand on it. During the night the fever came back and the rest of the day his conditioned worsened, before the sunset that day he died.
My Grandmother always said that he picked that song because it was his way of saying good-bye, that he knew that he was dying soon and would never see them again. My thoughts have been the same, but also I think that it was his way of saying that hope, even if lost, should never be forgotten.
On June 2, 2007, my Daughter Rachel will be married, on that night the Father/Daughter dance will be “Speranze Perdute” and when I dance with my Mother I will dance to “tra Veglia e Sonno” my second favorite song on your album. (Mom is 83 and has a bionic knee but still can cut a rug).
So thanks again for your music, someday you should try playing the lead in “Speranze” on the Violin instead of the Mandolin. And remember: Hope is never really lost.
Your Fan and Friend
Pompeo Alfonso Giacomo Marino
PS My name is another story.
You can reach the Hot Frittatas
in Santa Rosa at (707) 526-7763
or in Lake County at (707) 995-0658.
Or find us on the web at www.hotfrittatas.com.