excerpt from 'A View of Society and Manners in Italy. Volume 2' pp. 76-78 (329 words)

excerpt from 'A View of Society and Manners in Italy. Volume 2' pp. 76-78 (329 words)

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A View of Society and Manners in Italy. Volume 2

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On the first night of the opera, after one of these favourite airs, an universal shout of applause took place, intermingled with demands, that the composer of the music should appear. II Maestro! il Maestro ! resounded from every corner of the house. He was present, and led the band of music; he was obliged to stand upon the bench, where he continued, bowing to the spectators, till they were tired of applauding him. One person, in the middle of the pit, whom I had remarked displaying great signs of satisfaction from the beginning of the performance, cried out, " He deserves to be made chief musician to the Virgin, and to lead a choir of angels!" This expression would be thought strong, in any country; but it has peculiar energy here, where it is a popular opinion, that the Virgin Mary is very fond, and an excellent judge of music. I received this information on Christmas morning, when I was looking at two poor Calabrian pipers doing their utmost to please her, and the infant in her arms. They played for a full hour to one of her images which stands at the corner of a street. All the other statues of the Virgin, which are placed in the streets, are serenaded in the same manner every Christmas morning. On my enquiring into the meaning of that ceremony, I was told the above-mentioned circumstance of her character, which, though you may have always thought highly probable, perhaps you never before knew for certain. My informer was a pilgrim, who stood listening with great devotion to the pipers. He told me, at the same time, that the Virgin's taste was too refined to have much satisfaction in the performance of those poor Calabrians, which was chiefly intended for the Infant ; and he desired me to remark, that the tunes were plain, simple, and such as might naturally be supposed agreeable to the ear of a child of his time of life.

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excerpt from 'A View of Society and Manners in Italy. Volume 2' pp. 76-78 (329 words)


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