Vincenzo Bellini

Sogno d'infanzia ("Soave sogno de'..."), for voice & piano

    Description by Anne Feeney

    This song, also known by its opening lines "Soave sogno de miei primi anni," varies from Bellini's usual style of song writing, though it still displays some of his trademarks: legato vocal lines, rising in small steps, unobtrusive accompaniment, and generally strophic structure.

    The song is introduced by a relatively lengthy piano prelude, whose relative restlessness are a far cry from the usual hushed pensiveness or neo-Classical light elegance, though the swift introduction of the primary melodic line and that melody's immediate and easy appeal are typical. Only the sudden pauses before the vocal line begins hint at the theme of death which arises in the last verse. The ornamentation, while still relatively sparse, is somewhat arbitrarily placed dramatically, though well-placed musically, and at times the vocal line becomes showy, with unexpected intervals and the above-mentioned ornamentation. Despite the wide variances in the text's tone throughout, from idyllic reminiscence to desperate longing for death, the setting does not change noticeably from verse to verse, following the structure of the text rather than its meaning.

    Another atypical aspect is in the length; in performance, it usually lasts between five-and-a-half and six-and-a-half minutes, in contrast to the more usual two-and-a-half to four minutes. While the tempo remains brisk throughout, there are occasional pauses or decrescendi which provide variety, if no additional insight into the text's mood.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2018
    ArcoDiva
    UP 0172
    2006
    Naxos
    8557779
    2006
    Golden Melodram
    40077
    2000
    Dynamic
    271
    2000
    Myto Records
    4226
    1997
    Collins Classics
    15072
    Hungaroton
    12423
    Capriccio Records
    10198